I have been studying various different tools for change for some time now. Among those, is NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP is not only a set of tools, it is a whole mind set, and as such I have incorporated a lot of it into my approach. Yet, one aspect that never really sat right with me was that in NLP you don’t really look at the “problems”, you only look for a way out. Surely, there must be some use in our problems, or? And indeed, there is: Motivation!
When any client approaches me, I do not ask: “What’s wrong”, not because I do not care, but because I used to think that the most important question was: “What is it you want?” or “How do you want to be different?” In doing so, I thought that it would move people closer to their outcome and away from the problem. Yet, every once in a while, you come across someone who sits in front of your for other people, not because they are motivated themselves. Hence, they have no real desire to change, they merely want some “magic trick” or a woooosh of the wand. So, how can you get someone to change if they don’t to? How can I even change anything in myself, if all I say is:”I want X”, or “I would like to be Y”.
Well, while pondering this question, I was listening to a Tony Robbins tape. Now, since I lived in the states for a while, and Tony Robbins is on TV literally every half hour, I always hated that guy. However, last week somebody told me to listen to one of his tapes, and I do have to say: This guy seems to know what he is talking about! See, the first step in any change is getting the motivation going to do it, getting momentum going. In order to get the mule of change going, the carrot is a good trick, but the strongest motivation really is the fear of a burning iron in the rear, or not?
For me that insight completely changed the way I thought about problems. Instead of seeing them as something that is in the way of change, they actually induce it. Once we get pissed of enough with what is happening, we tend to have enough motivation to change it. Once the sentence “NEVER AGAIN” crosses our lips, we have all the drive we need to make any change. Of course, there are a few more steps after that, but when we make that first step, we have momentum, and everything afterwards is easy.
Hence, instead of asking “What is it you want”, I ask “what brings you here” and then “why exactly does that bring you here”. I am looking for the motivation in others and in myself to change. And if there is none, guess what: create it. We get pissed off so easily for no reason at all, which means we might as well use that in our advantage, or not?
So, having a goal is great and one of the most important parts of doing anything. Equally important is the motivation to get us there, and nothing is as motivating as something we don’t want to do anymore, something we say “Never Again” to. It means, either we get what we want, or what we want to avoid will bite us in the ass…