From: L. Michael Hall
Meta Reflections – 2010 – #9
March 1, 2010
APG IN EGYPT
This past week I have had a pretty unique experience as I delivered APG in Cairo Egypt. Unique because it was my first training in an Arab country and unique because of the sponsors of the training— three men of vision who see the need for bringing some high-quality NLP to Egypt. Two of the men that I spent time with in Egypt are now in the process of becoming Neuro-Semantic Trainers and the third is planning to do the same. Mohammad Tarek of Lucid Trainings and Mustafa El-Masy of Applied NLP Academy along with Mohammed Addul-Kawy of Alexandria.
In January I met Mustafa and Mohammad (of Alexandria) in Hong Kong for the first part of the Trainers Training and got acquainted first-hand with their passion and commitment to Egypt, to NLP, and to Neuro-Semantics. What I didn’t know previously was the extent of the problems that NLP has suffered in Egypt at the hands of some inadequately trained trainers whose primary motive seems to be to use NLP for getting money and a sense of power over others.
This is really sad and is all around the world. This result in a lot of very low grade quality NLP so that already NLP does not have a good reputation in Egypt. Mohammad Tarek was telling me that as a computer programmer, when he taught at the University in Alexandria, he would teach the communication model of NLP but never, but never call it NLP. If they found out, they would have discredited his work; otherwise, they loved what he taught! I wish this was the exception, but sadly it occurs in every country I have visited.
Anyway, Mustafa was diligent and searched the field to find some high quality NLP. Eventually he found Neuro-Semantics and introduced it to the others. Then, delight of delight, he and Mohammad Tarek cooperated to put this training together. I love that.
We had a good group of people for the first training, 70-plus, eight or more trainers, many practitioners and a good group of new people interested mainly in self-development. Yet what I experienced was a real mixture—there was a big group of people totally passionate about NLP and Meta-States. They were so passionate in fact that I was literally inundated by questions and requests from the time we started each day to the ending so that I never got a break (which is fine, that’s what I’m there for!). And they asked questions upon questions— and most very personal and intimate questions about applying the patterns to themselves, their families, and their work. Now strangely, at the same time there was a small group of “practitioners” who acted like they knew it all and never even bothered to do the processes! Ah the ones who have never studied a model about self-reflexive consciousness who already knows it all! I’ve met them before.
A TV camera group came to the training on the first day to get clips that they later used when I did a live appearance on the channel. This was set up by Ayman Mahmoud, a young man that I have corresponded with for years and who has translated many of my articles in Arabic on some websites. There were also other media interviews with radio and journalists for newspapers that he set up. It’s always good to experience my “expertise” rising by leaps and bounds by the fantastic variable of distance— the farther from home, the more of an expert I become! I ought to write an article about it, who needs study and competence when all you need is geographical distance to become an “expert,” or so it seems.
I had never been to Cairo before and while I have seen some wild traffic— Mexico City comes to mind, so does Moscow, Cairo takes the prize for being the craziest and worst and most dangerous. I was okay with and used to the fact that 3 lanes means 5 lanes of cars and 5 lanes means 7, that’s the way it is many places. But I had not seen hundreds and hundreds of people stepping out into 5 and 6 lanes of traffic dodging cars as I saw in Cairo. I even saw women carrying babies across such lanes of cars dodging, turning, twisting, and aggressively fighting for every inch of space! And not only during the day when at least you could see human beings in the middle of the freeway, but at night!! Mohammad did all the driving and kept reassure me, “Don’t worry!” he kept saying! So I did— worry that is.
And horns, I did not now that a person could drive a car with a horn. Or that you could send multiple messages with your horn, “I see you,” “Get out of the way,” “What the hell are you doing?” I was even more surprised to observe thousands upon thousands of cars driven by various tunes, messages, and melodies.
And Arab time — I thought the Mexicans, Spaniards, and Italians had the award for being “in time” and thinking time was a totally optional concept for being effective. No longer. I give the award to the Egyptians! “We will start at 9 am., right?” I asked Mustafa. “Yes, yes, sure. Well, maybe 9:10 to make sure everybody arrives.” At 9:30 I asked again, “Yes, just ten minutes.” At 10 am I asked, “Yes, just ten minutes.” I think that I have learned that “ten minutes” to an Egyptian actually means 40 minutes or even 2 hours!
I had several interviews while there. And everywhere I find that reporters are a strange breed. I have been interviewed so often now that I can now tell precisely the very language that reporters will use, especially if they have not done their homework, but are just trying to get another quick “human interest” story. They always ask a very broad question and then was quantitative evidence.
“So you in Neuro-Semantics work to help people succeed in weight management, emotional intelligence, leadership, relationships, the creation of wealth, self-actualization of companies, and everything else that you do in Neuro-Semantics, can you give our listeners one technique that can do all of that, keeping it really simple, in a minute or two? What is your best testimonies for that?”
Don’t you love it?! Try to answer that one! I got that this past week. To narrow things a bit (!) I asked for a specific example that she would be interested in. “What results do you want?” She said weight management, “I want to have lots of energy and be fit and thin. So what one technique will help me?” Of course, she was going too fast so I slowed her down and asked if I could have a “transformational conversation” with her. She wondered what that was. I said “a conversation that will be life-changing. Now it will be fierce, I will probe to get to the heart of things with what you want to change, are you sure you’re ready for this?” She nodded.
So I began a conversation that she agreed was uncomfortable, thought-provoking, intense, personal, and very quickly at the heart of the variables of change. I found her pattern within 90 seconds, feed it back to her four times. She wanted to stop! It was too much. She wanted the results (slim body, fitness, energy), she wasn’t ready to pay the price “so no to tempting foods, exercise regularly.” And that’s fine. That’s great. Now she knows and has few excuses.
Then there were two participants who are in the process of making a movie. “We are making a movie that’s an Egyptian version of ‘The Secret,’ and we want to interview you.” Well, thanks but no thanks. I don’t care to add to the illusion and cause of dis-illusion of that kind of shallow non-sense. “Well, it’s not like that.” “What about all the pseudo-science in ‘The Secret?’” “No, no, we don’t have that; and besides, you can say whatever you want to say.” So I did. It will be interesting what they keep in it.
Sightseeing? Did I see any sights? Well, not many. One day Mohammad Addul and I enjoyed the traffic jam on the Sixth of October bridge for several hours! That allowed me to see the city; and we tried to get to the Pyramids, but they had been shut down for Diplomats from Italy. We did get to see the laser light show, which was great.
Here’s to the heart, the passion, and the commitment of the men who made this possible, to their staff of people who are seeking to bring high-quality NLP and Neuro-Semantics to Egypt! I found them to be people of faith, of integrity, fun, and vision.