Neuro Linguistic Programming

Key

see,  hear,  feel,  framing

Thom Hartmann program, 14 December 2004

... We're going to do our NLP lesson for the week. It's the second half hour of the second hour of the Tuesday program. First let me take a call...

... Right now it's time for our NLP class of the week. We've been getting a lot of very positive responses. I know we don't get a lot of phone calls about it because there's it's not controversial stuff but boy the emails, and the activity on our message board and it seems that people are appreciating this. If you're not or if you are, let us know. We'll continue it or not, but so far so good.

This week, today, what I want to share with you is, in the context of NLP, neurolinguistic programming, is goal-setting. How do you set goals. Napoleon Hill, back in the 1930's, in the late 1920's actually, was invited, he was a young reporter, and he was invited into the office of Andrew Carnegie who at that time was the richest man in the world. And Carnegie sat Napoleon Hill down in his office and he said, you know, "Young man, I've been following your writing, you're a very competent writer, and I have come across a secret. And I think that you are a good enough writer that you can share this secret with the world, because I think it's important, and it's an important secret. This certainly got Napoleon Hill's interest. And Carnegie said, "I'm going to tell you the secret right now and you can write it down.

But before you write a book about it, I first would like you to go out and interview, and I'll pay you to do this," Carnegie paid his salary for a year to do this, "Pay you to do this, I'd like you to go out and interview at least 40 or 50 of the most successful people you can find and ask them how they found their success. And let's see if my secret is something that I'm the only person who knows, or if this is a universal principle that everyone else has used and then put that in the book." So Napoleon Hill went out and he interviewed a bunch of folks.

And here's a list of a few of the names. Many of them you wouldn't recognize 'cause they are people who were famous in the 20's and no longer are. But here are a few of the people who, when Napoleon Hill interviewed them, they said that they became successful in their lives. And I would say successful, in some cases, politically, 'cause two of them were presidents of the United States, one of them was a senator, and a presidential candidate. They became successful because they had applied Andrew Carnegie's principles. And about a third of the people on this list actually told Napoleon Hill that in previous years Andrew Carnegie had shared his secret with them and they had used it to achieve their success. Now here's the list that Napoleon Hill shares: Henry Ford, William Wrigley, E.M. Statler (the Statler Building in New York), Cyrus Curtis, George Eastman (as in Eastman Kodak), Charles M. Schwab, Theodore Roosevelt (president of the United States), King Gillette (founder of the razor company), Elbert Hubbard, Wilbur Wright (inventor of the airplane, remember?), Thomas Edison, F.W. Woolworth, Edward Filene, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, J. Ogden Armour, John D. Rockefeller, Clarence Darrow, President Woodrow Wilson, President William Howard Taft, Luther Burbank, Senator Jennings Randolph and William Jennings Bryan.

Now what did these guys know in common that was this great secret? Napoleon Hill wrote a book called "Think and Grow Rich" about this secret, and nothing else. It was about how to apply the secret to making money. And I'm going to share the secret with you in the next ten minutes and you can use this to make money. You can use it to accomplish anything in your life. You can use it, and my hope is, that we will all collectively use it to transform America back into a nation of democracy and egalitarian ideals where we dismiss the bigots among us and we hold high the value of democracy and justice not just here in the United States but all around the world. Truthfulness from our, and honesty by our politicians and so on. You know the list.

Here's the, in Faust, Goethe made a comment in his book Dr. Faustus or about Dr. Faustus. He said, "Until one is committed there is hesitancy. "Always the chance to draw backwards, always ineffectiveness. When you are committed, whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!" My mentor, Gottfried MŁller, used to say, "The beginning is always half the work. So then comes the question, well how do you begin? This, by the way, I have not yet shared with you the secret, Napoleon Hill's secret.

How do you begin? Well, here's where it is. It has to do with setting a goal in a very specific and particular way. If you do this correctly the goal becomes your future, this positive future that you're imaging, that you're holding, that you have developed or invented for yourself, becomes like a magnet that draws you towards it even when you're not paying any attention to it, if you do this right. The goal, first of all, must be congruent with your sense of self and your belief in your purpose for being here on Earth. And if you never ask yourself those questions, I mean, there are some folks who have sort of a metaphysical notion that they actually incarnated for a particular purpose.

There are others who would frame it in a more secular way and say, or a more medical way and say, well, you know, my genetics or my neurobiology or the way that my body and mind are organized means that I'd make a good, you know, fill in the blank. A good firefighter, a good actor, a good writer, a good politician, a good activist, a good, you know, a good banker or whatever.

But, I would suggest, before really getting into using Hill's secret, which we haven't gotten to yet, that you give some thought to the question, what is the purpose of your life? Because people who don't have a sense of purpose, who have not found their sense of purpose, are people who are vulnerable to depression, to anxiety, and who are, and to failure. They're drifting.

And when you get your purpose, and I guarantee you, all of us have one, and you could say, well, you know, it's just a psychological trick, I'm just imagining a purpose, but that's fine! That's fine! When you have, when you hold a purpose, 'this is what I'm here for', maybe not for your whole entire life, maybe it's just for this year, maybe it's just for this month, but this is what I'm here for. Then it's possible to set goals. For some people it's being a good parent or being a good mate, a good spouse, or being a good friend to others. For some it's being a decent human being. But you can chunk it up. You can look at the larger picture and define this in the context of a purpose.

So here's how it works. After you've decided what your purpose is, the question is, in the context of that purpose, what's an appropriate long term goal? A five year goal, let's say. You can do this with one year goals, five year goals, life-time goals. And keep in mind, there are some people who are afraid to do this, 'cause they are afraid, "If I don't reach my goal, then I'm going to feel terrible about myself." Right. This is the story that they tell themselves. It doesn't matter whether you reach it. If you do this right, you probably will, but you may also get half way into it, and new information comes along that causes you to say, "You know, I thought it was A, but really my goal is B, or it's A shaded by B, and I need to recalibrate slightly." And that's just fine. Keep in mind, "There's no failure, there's only feedback, there's no mistakes, there are only outcomes."

So, the goal has to be something that can be conceptualized in all three representational systems; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You have to be able to imagine it. And when you imagine the goal, you have to see a picture of yourself in the future, accomplishing that goal. And notice how you're standing, notice how you're dressed, notice what it looks like, notice how you feel. You must see a picture of yourself in the future accomplishing that goal, number one.

Number two, you must have a phrase, there must be an auditory component, a story. It can be just a couple of words that identifies that future for you. I'll tell you, you know, a story when I was a kid I always wanted to be a writer. When I left home when I was 16, I papered the wall, wallpapered my bedroom with rejection slips. All of these articles that I, mostly it was for bad poetry that I was submitting to poetry magazines back then. And when I first learned this, when I first read Napoleon Hill's book when I was about 20, I wrote on the back of a business card, 'successful author'. And I stuck it in my wallet where I'd see it, I put one on the dashboard of my car where I'd see it, I put one on the mirror in the bathroom. In other words, I boiled it down to two words. And I've accomplished that goal to some extent. I mean, everybody would like to have John Grisham's sales, but I think I, you know. So that was a goal. One of many. But that was a goal.

So, number 1, you've got a picture of it, number 2, you have a sound of it, number 3, you have a feeling associated with it, and this was Napoleon Hill's secret. What he found was that people who didn't reach their goals were people who set intellectual goals. They said, "Well, you know, I have an education in botany so I ought to become a great botanist". But they never became Luther Burbank who, by the way, was one of the people that Napoleon Hill talked to.

And the reason why was because they hadn't attached a powerful, burning emotion, what Hill describes as desire, to that goal. and the way that you do this is by seeing that picture of yourself in the future doing that thing and having that story that you're telling yourself about it and then intentionally reaching down inside of yourself and back into your memory and finding those times where there was something you really, really wanted, whether it was that toy at Christmas when you were 7 years old or whether it was that girl in the 6th grade or whatever it might be, or boy, when there was a time that you really wanted something, and just capture the feeling of, "I really want this, this is worth working for".

And bind the feeling to the picture. Now, this is not something you can do instantly. I mean, you can, you take a first shot at it, you can do it to some extent, but it's something that needs to be reinforced over and over and over again. And that's why I suggest that you boil your goal down to a couple of words, write it on the back of a half a dozen business cards, stick one in your wallet where you'll see it every time you open your wallet, put one on your mirror. Sometimes you have to write it in ways that other people don't understand. You could just write the word 'book' for example, if you wanted to be an author, so that when people see it they don't, you know, successful author.

Because one of the other little secrets of this is don't share your goal with others until you've reached it. And here's why: most people don't set goals. They really don't, which is why most people don't achieve high levels of success. And so when you tell most people that you have set a goal, very often their response is to make fun of it, or to question it, or to try and figure out how it can't be done, because most people have 'can't be done' stories about pretty much everything. "Oh, here's why, you know, I'd like to be a famous author, but here's why it can't be done. Here's why I can't do it."

And you know, when an acorn starts to grow, and you've got this little two inch tall oak tree, and in the second year it becomes a foot tall oak tree, and in the third year it's, you know, a foot and a half tall oak, those first couple of years, that oak tree, you've got to put a fence around it, if you want to grow into an oak tree, or it's going to get crushed. It's the same way with this. You define that goal, and you don't share it with others because they may crush it. You keep it secret until you have accomplished it. So share it perhaps with your closest, I always shared my goals with my wife. But that's it. That's it.

And now, visualize yourself in that future. You may want to try actually imagining that you're stepping into that future. Make a line on the floor and set the future out in there front of you, walk out into it, stand in the future, look around, say "is this what I want?" Just to do a check. And if it feels like "Yeah, this is it", then walk back into the present and look back and see yourself in the future. Hold that picture of yourself in the future, and you can get to that.

I'll give you a couple of more tips on how to make this work effectively right after this break. Goal-setting. It's out NLP lesson for the week. Thom Hartmann here with you. ...

... song: "Good morning, America how are you? Saying, donít you know me Iím your native son?" And welcome back. "Iím the train they call the City of New Orleans" Ah, some music is just so good. "Iíll be gone 500 miles when the day is done." I, it's, no, it's not a classic piece of music but it's just, it must have been a particularly good year for me when that came on. I don't know, there's just something, if I could sing, I'd sing along with it.

Anyhow, just to wrap this thing up about goal-setting. Then we're going to get back into politics in the next hour of the programming, and the rest of the news, the news of the day, and things like this.

But whether you're, for example, I'll share some of my goals with you. I told you not to share them with people, right, but you know, these, and I have some that I don't share with people. But you know, one of my goals, literally, one of the things that I literally pray for, if you are a person who prays, you know, I encourage you to toss them into your prayers as well, is that I can be an agent of restoring democracy and peace to the world. That I can play some role in that. I have a goal that this radio program be successful. I have a goal that, you know, my books continue to prosper. I mean, this and actually, not, it's funny, 'cause my writing goal really doesn't have anything to do with how much money I might get from a publisher or how many books I've sold. It has to do with whether or not peoples' lives are positively changed as a result of the message that I share. And that's frankly my goal for this radio programme as well. It's not about, you know, what are our Arbitrons or how many listeners do we have or how many stations are we on. Those are a means to an end.

But the end is transforming this nation and the individuals in it in a positive way. Touching people's lives in a positive way. Because I feel that that's my purpose. Not to sound too, you know, if that sounds fat-headed, my apologies. You know, that's the problem of sharing your goals with people.

But you really should, and once you've set your life goal, this thing of creating a line on the floor and walking out on it. Walking into the future and then looking back and asking yourself, "what are the steps along the way that are going to get me here?" is a really, really useful one, because once you know what your five year goal is and then you look back towards the present, you can say, "OK, to get to this point, this five year point, in the first couple of years I've got to do this. In the first few months I have to do this. In the first few weeks I have to do this. And then you get to the question, and this is what Herr MŁller said, this is always half the work, this is that Goethe quote from the beginning. What are you going to do today and tomorrow to begin achieving that goal? Don't forget; until one is committed there is hesitancy, always a chance to draw backwards, always ineffectiveness. When you are committed, whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now! ...

From Chat Room

Q: "Thom, how do you decide what your purpose is, in the first place?"

A: Lots of walking in the woods and asking yourself the question. Visualize a lot of different futures and check how you feel about each.

Transcription Queries

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Thom Hartmann program, 15 December 2004

... Our quote for today comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, following up on from yesterday's NLP lesson. "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." Ralph Waldo Emerson. Our quote for the day. ...

© 2004. Copyright Thom Hartmann.