Why this blog?

Because HAPPINESS is misused. My theory is that Happiness is NOT the POINT of Life; rather, it is a POINTER IN LIFE. And when it comes to making changes, that's what I specialise in at abetterlife-uk.com and http://hertscollegeofhypnosisandnlp.co.uk

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ten not-so-serious NLP Tips for the Festive Season

You know how the festive season can bring us into close quarters with some people we find “a bit trying?” Here’s ten tips from the major features of NLP to lighten your experience over the festive period….
1. Respect Others Model of the World
So when Mum seems to imply that you are ungrateful for all her efforts in bringing you up, and Dad goes on about how hard he worked to pay the bills, and how the youth of today don’t realise how they’ve got it made… And the Boss naturally assumes that you will do whatever it takes to help the company/Division/Group hit its targets … you will hang on to this idea for dear life. 

2.  Perception is Projection  Which will of course give you great comfort as your sister is giving you the “you were always the favourite,” and when your skiving staff want to leave at lunchtime on Xmas eve. You will find deep meaningful personal enlightenment in exploring how it is simply yourself that you are witnessing. Or can this principle equate to giving others a piece of your mind?

3. Reframing   The Finance director is not mean by not paying for a staff Xmas party, he is simply being careful. “Working between Xmas and New Year is not taking advantage of slack time, it is showing that I am a committed worker.” “Feasting is not over-eating, it appreciating our good fortune.” And of course, the perennial “You’re right Grandma, you can never have enough woolly socks/jumpers/scarves.”
4. Law of Requisite Variety – the most flexible element will control the system   Which is why that brown-nosing little so-and-so new kid is doing so well. And you who are better qualified are in charge of stationery. And as the kids max-out on the X-box thingy, oblivious to any criticism, distraction or threat, your recollection of this key principle will save the day, as you elect to vacuum in front of the telly, singing “So This Is Christmas” with a glass of bubbly in hand, clad in tinsel and best going-out outfit, whilst revving the hyper-Dyson. You show ’em babe/matey. Substitute grabbing work colleagues under the mistletoe etc. as you wish.

5. People are not their behavioursThe boss is not a horrid meanie, he just really doesn’t like it when you are late in. People are not uncaring and selfish in the Boxing Day sales, they are simply acutely focussing on what they want. Your kids are not nuisances, they are asking for things while you happen to be busy (which is always, ’cause we are parents!)  Your mother-in-law is not a nagging know-all, she is a person who is motivated to pass on her views. You are not an angry old man, you are simply ‘losing it’ - grrr!

6.  Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Don’t try this one at the Group Annual Progress Meeting. Trust me. It does apply to the old couple doing 29 mph down the High Street and you have FORGOTTEN TO BUY THE CRANBERY! And it’s why Dad forgot to collect the turkey on the way home. It’s also why Mum is calling him “your Father.”

7. There is no failure, only feedback   As in number (6) - don’t try this one at the Group Annual Progress Meeting. Don’t buy your female boss a pair of panties in the Secret Santa, nor Mum a car vacuum cleaner (or any tool of any kind) for Christmas. Ever again. (Yes there are exceptions and I am not stereotyping. But don’t risk it.) When asked about how you enjoyed Christmas dinner, detailed constructive feedback, even “sandwich-wise”, is not recommended.  Beware of feedback invitations in the form of “does my bum look big in this” / “have I put on weight” / “isn't it amazing how Granny knew just what you wanted for presents?” etc.

8. The meaning of communication is the response you get  Examples such as “The Xmas party is no excuse to be in late tomorrow, and telling the kids not to wake you up early on Christmas Day are both in fact reminders to do those very things.  Promising to get up early to put the turkey on is NOT the same as actually doing so. Your miscommunication will not be well-received, and you will also discover the actual meaning of your communication that you forgot. It won’t be pleasant.

9. The map is not the Territory. In fact it’s the Sat Nav, as well we know. And whilst you think it’s your alibi for not digging out directions to Uncle Bob’s, you will in fact discover that Bob’s your Uncle is far from applicable when you turn up an hour late. At work, beware actually believing the Group’s annual financial projection; nor the corporate mission statement, job objectives agreed in annual reviews etc etc.

10. You are in charge of your mind, and therefore your results  Which is why you are such a great boss / colleague / staff member / parent / partner / son / daughter over Christmas-time.  But this rule is suspended over New Year, naturally. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ten Books that Will Rock Your World – with Implications for Happiness

We each have our own views on what the world is like “out there,” don’t we? Surely it makes sense that you would base your life on those views too, as you seek out happiness in life? If you have children, most probably you try to teach your children your personal pearls of wisdom on life, since you want them to avoid life’s “pitfalls” and achieve happiness too. But how much of what you really believe about the world out there is really true? For everyone? In fact, how much of what you think is “out there” really is out there?
The information we are presented with through the everyday media, and conventional psychologists and scientists, is far wide of the mark of what we now know about the nature of reality. There is a whole lot going on in the leading edges of psychology, neurobiology, cosmology, physics and consciousness studies that will literally rock your world. As the witches in Macbeth chanted, “everything is not as it seems.” 
New discoveries are totally changing our understanding of health, healing, motivation, evolution, consciousness and even reality itself. How can such things not seriously impact on what you have based your life? On your very wellbeing and happiness? These are my ten favourite books that have the potential literally to blow your mind, and change the way you think about the world and achieving happiness. 
1. Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief. (2008). Hay House.   Bruce’s big discovery was that the environment around a cell controlled its behaviour and physiology, leading it to turn genes on and off. This totally turns upside down the conventional view, repeated almost daily in the media, that life is controlled by the genes.
Resulting in a new science of epigenetics, two major discoveries are the molecular pathways connecting the mind and body. Many subsequent papers by other researchers have since validated his concepts and ideas. So your mind turns genes on and off, and affects your cellular chemistry and your health. Fact. 
2. Mark Waldman & Andrew Newberg, How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist . (2010).   Ballantine Books.   Be very clear, this is not about God – not at all. It’s about how your ideas become an identity in the brain, and the brain creates a reality in your head to match. You then live out this reality. This is not a New Age book – this is a book on neuroscience; these guys talk brain scans that prove every point - that is how they have come to their startling conclusions, and what you can do to take advantage. 
3. Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe. (1992).  HarperPerennial.
If you have not caught up with the holographic theory of the nature of the universe, then you really should. This book explains it in fairly simple terms. What it amounts to is that there are levels of order in our universe, from highly ordered to highly disordered – or chaos. In other words, chaos theory concerns order within disorder. Out of this, patterns arise.The disorder reflects the structure of  a hologram, which also contains apparently chaotic patterns, with each small part containing information about the whole picture. And that is the beginning of a fascinating story, which has serious adherents, explaining the true nature of our world and how we can interact with it in otherwise inexplicable ways. Packed with amazing anecdotes, and lots of references for those who like to check up on the facts. 
4. Rupert Sheldrake, A New Science of Life (3rd ed). (2009). Icon Books.
This is the guy who was personally vilified in an editorial in Nature on one of his papers, for “introducing god to science through the back door.” Yet his work is inscrutable; it is good science, and it is open for anyone to experiment with themselves.
He shows how science and its laws are dubious at best, and nothing more than unfounded beliefs at worst. He shows how many basic “facts” are not facts at all. Most intriguiging, and for which he is most famous, is his work with rats showing how learned behaviours are passed on to the very the next generation – which cannot be genetic. He also shows how these new abilities become available in other, isolated and distinct groups.
He provides experiments, which anyone can repeat, to show how new learnings are passed on in humans – almost instantaneously. He expresses the explanation in terms of morphogenetic fields. 
5.  Richard Bandler, Get the Life You Want. (2008). Harper Element  The thing about Bandler – one of the two key originators of Neuro Linguistic Progamming (NLP) is that his focus is on being pragmatic – getting the job done. This book pulls together a lot of his favourite techniques for properly getting your head sorted out and installing that into your nervous system to make real positive improvement in how you see yourself, the world, and your capabilities within it. It is full of very practical step by step techniques, which actually work. 
6. Dr Deepak Chopra, MD. Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. (1990). New York: Bantam   If you are at all doubtful about modern medicine, and are interested in looking beneath the bonnet (hood) with new eyes, the this is a good place to start. Chopra really got all this going in the seventies when he picked up on important work which shoed how neuropeptides – previously thought to be the messengers in the brain, were discovered connecting with and being produced by all kinds of cells throughout the body. In other words, the mind-body system is no longer some New Age or mystical thing, it is medical fact. Chopra saw the consequences and ran from there. This book is still a great place to get your inspiration as to what’s possible in looking after your own health, aging and healing. 
7. Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything. (2007). Shambhala   Wilber is one of my personal heroes. This book does, I believe, exactly what it says on the label. It is immense in its implications. Core themes are how we have – and still are – evolving in the way we look at things and what is important to us. These ideas are explored though history, from ancient history, developing religions, through the break with religion at the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and the dawn of the modern age.
This is all pulled together around some key concepts. The first is the process by which all change and growth happens, how each new stage includes and adds to the one before (holons) but includes some new knowledge or awareness. Rather like Russian dolls, in a hierarchy of awareness. His next big theory was constructed out of trying to take account of internal experience of things, as well as their external description – rather like bringing scientific study together with feelings, including spirituality.
Written as a diologue, with Wilber holding a discussion, this immense work is inspirational, frequently witty, and a must read for anyone even remotely interested in how things came to be this way, and were they are headed. 
8. Don Beck & Chris Cowan, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change. (2005).  Wiley-Blackwell   This is perhaps the toughest read of the ten, and it is only for that reason it is not number one on my list. Beck and Cowan’s work is built on Prof Clare Grave’s groundbreaking work in the 60’s which explains how we change and grow at any level we look at, whether individually, in cultures, society, countries and as a species.It uses the concept of memes – ideas which appear, and spread over times and places. These ideas grow and fade as others appear – rather like waves on the shore. Yet each wave is more than what went before – rather as in Wilber’s Russian doll/holonic principle. Indeed, Wilber has since teamed up with the Spiral Dynamics guys. This book will tell you why you do what you do, and what’s important to you – which is what motivates you – and how and why this differs between you and others. It explains all the tensions we are facing in society. In other words, what’s going on out there, where it’s going, and where we fit in. 
9. Richard Gerber,Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves. (1988). Bear & Co   How many people do you know who say that there is no scientific evidence for homeopathy, healing, acupuncture, energy healing, chakras, auras etc etc? Not so. This book gives you the facts – paper after paper presenting well-designed experiments that demonstrate all these ideas and more. They just don’t get media coverage because – well why do you think? As always, the answer is to be found by following the money. Not that this book is into anything remotely related to conspiracy theories or any other explanations.
It lays out the facts about various unconventional treatments, explains the thinking that goes with explaining the facts – the theories – and shows the work which supports it. Read this to get a better appreciation of what so-called alternative or complementary treatments are really all about. And take back some responsibility for your health, instead of waiting till it goes wrong and using drugs to half-fix only the symptons of disease – rather than the causes. 
10. Robert Lanza, MD.  Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True nature of the Universe. (2010). Benbella.Lanza deals head-on with the key inconsistencies in current theories of the nature of time, matter and space. Don’t let that put you off either – it’s not a big technical work. He plots his arguments in understandable terms, but those who do happen to know more science, he keeps you on board too. Another book that will literally blow your model of reality apart, and really get you thinking about what’s going on out there.. or is it out there at all? Readable, plausible, enjoyable and inspiring.