April 29, 2013

Modeling Excellence Series #13

In the last article in this series, I contrasted two very different kinds of “subjective experiences,” short-term and long-term experiences.  In doing so I also contrasted the genius of NLP to the genius of Neuro-Semantics. My point was that what NLP began regarding modeling the structure of experience, Neuro-Semantics has continued and expanded with the Meta-States Model and the Matrix Model.  Here as I continue that discussion, I’ll use resilience as an example.  I’ll do that because it is easy to comprehend and because it was the modeling project from which I discovered the Meta-States Model.

Consider the state of resilience.  What does it feel like?  If you accessed this state, what are you feeling in your body?  And where?  What are you thinking and representing in your mind?  What is happening in the auditory channel?  Difficult questions, are they not?  And why?  Simple – resilience does not occur in a moment of time.

Instead, resilience is what happens over time. Resilience is what you call your experience or your state when you look back and notice how you kept coming back every time something knocked you down.  No wonder resilience is not a primary state!  No wonder it is next to impossible to point to some place in your body where you feel resilience.  Resilience is as much a meta-feeling, that is, a meta-evaluation and a way of orienting yourself to life or work or sport so that as you anticipate set-backs, illnesses, mediocre results, big challenges, losses, etc., you see those things through a certain lens- the resilience lens.

And when you see them through the resilience lens- what do you see?  You anticipate that you’ll get through, that you will not be stopped, that you’ll figure out a way, that you have lots of resources to tap into and fix whatever is wrong, that your vision and dream is too big to let go, etc. These “thoughts” also are typically not coded in see-hear images like an internal movie (although they can be).  More usually they are the belief statements that you say to yourself, the decision beliefs that you have made, the identity beliefs you have created, etc.

And they do not all apply at the same time.  Some apply for the first stage of resilience, the getting knocked down stage.  Some apply for the second stage, the emotional roller-coaster stage when one’s emotions are all over the place from shock, anger, begging, demanding, crying, etc.  Some are for the coping stage during which you develop the skills to cope with the challenges and solve the problems that they create.  Others are for the mastery stage when you finally get some things figured out and you’re able to master certain challenges so that they are no longer any challenge at all.  Finally, some are for the I’m Back! stage.  The experience of resilience is a multiple-stage experience so that we need multiple strategies, each of which contributes to the whole.

And what holds all of the stages and strategies together?  Usually, many higher level frames about those frames.  That is, meanings and intentions that create a self-organizing attractor in your semantic system and which endows the whole with the quality or texture of “resilience.”

  • I know I will get through it, it’s just a matter of time and learning.”
  • “I will bounce back with renewed energy and inspiration.”

Here then is a multiple-stage experience.  And this will hold true for the majority of the most highly desired states and experiences.  Health and fitness also is not an experience that occurs in a single moment of time, but like resilience over a period of time.  So also with wealth creation, leadership, and mastery in anything.  Given the studies of Anders Eriksson on expertise, every competence requires multiple-stages and therefore time- and in the case of expertise, 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (that is, 10 years).

None of these experiences will ever fit the pattern of accessing a primary state where you access, step in, and presto! you have the full experience of the primary state- joy, love, relaxation, focus, etc.  When you set out to model any of these primary state experiences, you will not have multiple stages, but a single stage.  That’s why the experience is as close as your skill for accessing and stepping in.  That’s why you can have “instant relaxation” hence the book by that title that I wrote with Debra Lederer. You can have “instant joy,” “instant love,” etc.

Multiple-stage experiences are very different.  Here you will find no such thing as “instant resilience,” “instant wealth creation,” or “instant health and fitness.”  So modeling these means identifying the stages, finding the strategy for each stage, identifying the triggers that indicate when to move into and out of a particular stage, and much more.  This does not mean that each of these stages operates independently, that each represents a separate experience.  It does mean that when put together under a larger over-arching frame, the steps and stages is the meta-detailing of the larger experience.

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.