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Ask David Gordon: Tele–Seminar

Sept. 8th, 2004
interviewed by Dr. Harlan Kilstein

    Harlan: Hello Everyone, My name is Harlan Kilstein and I'd like to welcome you to a special tele-seminar. It's a tremendous honor to be here with David Gordon, who is one of the original developers of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Gosh, years and years ago and over the years, David has been one of the architects of NLP, specializing in, what was really the heart of NLP, and that's something called Modeling. And so, David, because we have people with all different backgrounds and abilities, could you give us the real brief summary of what's NLP and what's Modeling?

David: Alright, well, probably the best way to describe NLP is that it's an approach to understanding and affecting experience and behavior that's based on a very powerful idea and that idea is that experience and behavior have structure. That is that underlying everything that we do, both internally and externally, there is some kind of structure that gives rise to our experience, gives rise to our behavior. And I think that's the central, that's the core, that's the heart of NLP. Is that particular notion, that idea, and what that idea makes possible is to start looking at the experiences and behaviors that people have and asking the question; well, how are they organizing themselves, what structure are they operating out of that makes it possible for them to manifest those experiences and behaviors. So, that's what we did and then we didn't have those kind of words that to what we were doing in the early days. In the early days, we were just doing it and we didn't have, you know, the high fulootin explanations but what we were doing was, we were finding people who did things that we, for whatever reason, we found interesting or useful. And asked that question, you know, how were they organizing the structure, their experience, not intentionally of course, but how is their experience organized in order to manifest that particular ability or particular quality. And then once we have that structure, then the next question was, well is this the structure that if we take it on or somebody else uses it or takes it on, does it produce the same kind of experiential behavioral outcome. And when we would do that, when we would find a particular structure that was useful in that way, we'd turn it into a technique, we codified it and make step one, step two, and step three. And really what happened over the years is that those techniques because they are often very powerful and useful have become what the focus of NLP is today. That is that NLP is now known for being a discipline, which now only half of all techniques continues to produce techniques for change, for interacting with people, for having some kind of influence over your own experience and the experience of other people.

Harlan: Let's jump right into the questions that we have. There were hundreds of questions submitted and let's get started right away, David.

David: Ok, can I just say one thing?

Harlan: Sure

David: For that which is that there were a lot of questions were people asked for some kind of personal problem they wanted advice on a particular problem that they had and this isn't the situation or context to address those. My heart went out to those people immediately, those are the questions I really did want to answer but we really can't do that here so I won't be answering any of those kinds of questions here.

Harlan: Maybe some other forum.

David: Yes

Harlan: David, go way back to the origins of NLP and over the years in your experience what is the most effective way that you found to quickly and deeply develop rapport with a person you just met for the first time?

David: Yes, well, it kind of was in the canon of NLP. The way rapport is typically approached and taught is through Matching and Mirroring both, one's physiology and Matching and Mirroring people's predicates.

Harlan: What are Matching and Mirroring?

David: Well, that's when you make your breathing tempo match the breathing tempo of this other person; your body movements match the body movements of this other person. In terms of predicates, you match your words to match the kinds of words they use, you use the same kinds of words and I have found that not to be that useful in terms of creating rapport, in fact, what I found to be far more effective is to be genuinely curious and interested in who this other person is. You know, I think that, there's been this complaint over the years and I think it's a legitimate one that Matching and Mirroring is just a manipulation. Now, I'm not against manipulating but it is a manipulation and it's often perceived that way. If it is perceived that way by the other person, you can forget about rapport, rapport is over and I think rightly so. But, what I find that people where rapport truly comes from, is from this other person recognizing, not necessarily consciously, but getting the feeling, let's say, that you really are interested in who they are. And I don't think that, I'm not suggesting that we pretend to be interested in somebody but what I am suggesting that if you really want to have rapport with people that the thing to cultivate in yourself is a genuine curiosity for who other people are and a genuine caring for who other people are.

Harlan: Ok, I like that. Well, that's a unique approach for NLP.

David: Well, you know, it is and it isn't because, I want to state this because a minute ago we were talking about NLP being based on the notion that's there is a structure behind experience and behavior and structure, you know, I describe what being interested in this other person is, it might be possible for somebody listening to me say those things and say, "Oh, that's not structure" but that's not the case that is, in fact, structure. Structure is: whatever are the elements that go into creating a particular pattern of experience. And what I was just talking about in terms of rapport, part of the structure, the natural structure of rapport is that whenever people feel that they are meaningful to somebody else, there will naturally be rapport. And so that to me is an example of structure, I realize it's not a typical example in NLP but to me it is strictly NLP Structure.

Harlan: Fantastic! Now, many, many years ago, you were involved in Modeling a rather remarkable individual who's name was Dr. Milton H. Erickson who is known popularly as really the founder of modern Hypnosis and not the manipulative show, stage hypnosis but Clinical Hypnosis. And, one of the things that Erickson was known for when he worked with a client was getting them to do all kinds of unusual tasks. Classic stories of "Go climb Squall Peak" or "Go to the Botanical Gardens".

David: Or "Go eat a pot of beans and go home and practice farting"

Harlan: Or that one.

David:[laughter] Yeah, right.

Harlan: How did Erickson get his clients to do these tasks and what did you observe that made the difference when you worked with him?

David: Well, the way he got them to do these tasks was from the, I would say, from the inside out. By that I mean, is that Erickson would learn, discover: Who is this person who's sitting in front of me. Who really is this person? Who's this individual? What do they care about? What's important to them? What do they respond to? You know, he was, just as I was talking about before, in establishing rapport. He was curious and interested in who this person, this particular individual is? And the way he would get people to do the things that, often bizarre or strange things, he got them to do is that he would couch or form his either request or his suggestions or demands in ways that fit with who this person was. What their needs were as individuals and these needs weren't necessarily needs that they were aware of. They could be psychological needs. If somebody has the need to resist anything that they are told to do, then the way to satisfy that need and get them to do what you want, Erickson recognized would be to tell them, "Well, I don't want you to do this, don't do this" and that is, to me, a not an example of manipulation. That's an example of Utilization. It's an example; Erickson's work is replete with examples of him recognizing who this person is and then figuring out "How can I use who this person is in a way that's in service of the work that we're doing together, the change in experiences this person needs?"

Harlan: Quickly, your favorite Erickson story?

David: My favorite, my favorite, holy mackerel,

Harlan: Now, this is out of hundreds and hundreds.

David: Yes, ah yes, I know. Well, I have to say, well actually, wow. My favorite Erickson story actually chokes me up just to think about it. [laughter] My absolute favorite Erickson story in not one in which he was a therapist but occurred when he was a young man in the town he was growing up in and he sites it as an example of how change really works and I think he probably thought a lot from it. And very briefly, there was a young man in the town that was nothing but trouble. He went to reform school, he was headed on a fast track to jail and everybody was afraid of him and he was a criminal. And he had just gotten out of jail, I think, and he was in town and there was a young woman there who caught his eye and he stopped her in the street and said, "I going to take you to the dance" and she replied "You can if you're a Gentleman". I won't go into the details but that started a snowball of changes rolling in this guy and he started changing. He eventually became the most upright citizen of the town. He was head of the school board and a father. Of course, he married this woman and they had children. And I find that a very touching and important story.

Harlan: You know, a lot of people are on the call, who want to make some kind of change in themselves and we have a couple of questions here that are really similar. Number One is "How do you use NLP techniques on yourself?" and then the second question that goes with that is "Why does NLP seem so difficult to do on oneself?"

David: Well, first of all, "How you use NLP techniques on yourself?" Well, you end up having a conversation with yourself. [laughter] Many of the techniques are sequences of questions and explorations and then doing things in your experience which, of course, can be done either with someone taking you through the experience or doing it on yourself. And I, certainly, did that for years. I, certainly, did that for years.

Harlan: Give an example of a technique that?

David: Well, like, you know, one that springs to mind is, probably, the one I did the most on myself in the early days, which was Six-Step Reframing.

Harlan: Ok

David: In which you, you know, take some problem and find out, well, what are the various parts of me who are involved in this problem and what are they trying to do for me. What do they want and find other ways to satisfy their good intentions while supporting whatever change I want to make. What I found was that sometimes I could do that work with myself but more often than not, I had difficultly in using these techniques with myself. And, I think, what I scribe that to is that, you know, "I'm pretty clever at kidding myself just as I think I'm clever all along about various things." It's pretty easy for me, for instance, to think I have, or to think or feel I have, dove deeply enough into a particular situation when, in fact, I haven't. And, I think, it's very useful, I found it very useful to have somebody on the outside who is in a position to notice what's going on with me, ask me questions that I wouldn't ask myself, wouldn't think to ask myself, to challenge me about things I either don't want to challenge myself about or it hasn't occurred to me to challenge myself about. So, I think that's very useful, you can use all the techniques with oneself but as I say, I think it's difficult simple because a lot of problems, let's say, the places where we get stuck, are going to be places that we are blind to.

Harlan: Would you say that's by omission or commission?

David: I say it's sometimes by omission and sometimes by unconscious co-mission.

Harlan: We don't want to see our own faults.

David: Yeah, which is completely natural and understandable, you know, this is, well, it's understandable and natural. And so, I think, that's what is so useful about having somebody on the outside. There are, I would say, there are some NLP techniques that are particularly suited for oneself which is Anchoring.

Harlan: What's Anchoring?

David: I'm sorry. Anchoring is establishing a stimulus response connection between some state or experience that you want to have and some kind of cue. So, for instance, when I get into a social situation and I am shy normally and I want to be more outgoing, one of the techniques is to first find in myself that experience of being warm and outgoing and really establish that experience in myself and create some kind of connection between that and my cue. Such as, touching my fingers together, for instance, and the idea is then the next time I'm in my social situation, I can touch my fingers together and it will help access in me that state of being, you know, warm and gregarious. That is all that Anchoring is, that is all that Anchoring is. It has tremendous numbers of uses, wide range of uses, that's all it is.

Harlan: Great. One of the things that Erickson and other people who were change masters over the years, dating back to the Bible, dating back to wandering preachers, was storytelling. Actually, your first book was all about a very special kind of storytelling that you called a Therapeutic Metaphor. Is there one recipe or pattern that one can use to create this powerful metaphors and what would that pattern be?

David: Well, I think, there is not one pattern, [laughter] or recipe for creating these metaphors. It's, certainly, you know if you look at my book or you if come to the seminars, I certainly have a recipe that is I have a structure for creating these metaphors. And there are other folks out there who have other structures for creating metaphors. And, however, while those recipes create metaphors, they don't necessarily create a powerful metaphor. What gives a metaphor power are not the recipes, what gives a metaphor power is a couple things, one is that the person who is listening to the metaphor, who is receiving the metaphor resonates with it, that is when they hear the metaphor their experience is, whether conscious or unconscious, their experience is "Oh, that's me". They resonate with the story. That's one thing that makes the metaphor powerful and does not come from a recipe. I think that that comes from, you the metaphor creator understanding who this person is and when I say understand, what I really mean, is that you have a feeling for who this person is. One of the things that I encourage in my seminars and what I teach folks is to step into the experience of the client, step into the other person's experience to feel what it feels like to be in their world. In particular, the world of their problem situation and one of the things I want to do in a metaphor is to imbue it, to put into that metaphor that same emotional content, that same subjective experience as a way to help the metaphor be more powerful. That is a way to help a person resonate with it. And the other way in which a metaphor can become more powerful is if it offers this person a new way to perceive the world, if it takes them somewhere different in their experience. And that again, I don't think there's a recipe for it, that comes from you, the person who is creating the metaphor, from your life experiences and I think that's ok, I think it's important for the person creating the metaphor to tap their own life experience and put that into that story. And, hopefully, it will be powerful and useful for this person, there's no guarantee.

Harlan: Now, for those people who are on the call who have never had the pleasure of training with or studying with David Gordon, when David teaches he very often tells stories. These stories are fascinating, these stories are life changing. And if you do want to study any of the things that David has done, his two early works have really stood the test of time. His first book called "Therapeutic Metaphors", which all about how to construct these very special stories, was published 26 years ago. It's still available, it's still in print. It's available on, you might have to wait a little bit because it's a special order but you will get the book. His second book is called "Phoenix", that was all about the therapeutic patterns of Milton Erickson, and that was written with Maribeth Meyers-Anderson. Both books, tremendous books, if you go ahead and order these books, we're certainly not trying to sell them or push them, you will be very happy with, not only your understanding of yourself, but how you are able to assist others in change. And speaking of change, we are going in a new direction here.

David: Ok

Harlan: One of the questions was: "How does one enter Self-Hypnosis?" I'm going to ask you a more basic question of "What can you do with Self-Hypnosis and do you have any particular ways that are your favorites or exercises to help someone do that?"

David: Yes, and this is the way that I was given by Erickson and who, this is actually what Betty Erickson, Mrs. Erickson, for what she would do to put herself into trance and then Erickson passed it on to many others. In fact, I think, he may have even written about it somewhere and it's very simple and I personally found it very effective. And that is to situate yourself in a nice quiet place or a place you're alone, I should say, and decide if there is anything you want to work on unconsciously, first of all, decide what that is ahead of time so you don't have to work on it while you are in your trance and decide how long you want to be in your trance. And then, notice, just remark to yourself, and notice what three things you see, then what three things you hear and then what three things you feel. And then you notice what two things you see, what two things you hear, what two things you feel and then what one thing you see, what one thing you hear and what one thing you feel and then allow your eyes to close. And it's quite remarkable, how naturally that takes one into a trance and also, I should say, like most trance experiences and most trance work, trance is something, and Erickson was very explicit about this, trance is something that people learn to do and that the more they do it they get better and better at it. Sometimes, he would train clients for, literally, hundreds of hours in trance work before he actually got down to therapy with them. So, don't expect that the first time you do that Self-Hypnosis that you'd be put away into somnambulistic trance but I think you'll find that as you do it, each time you do it, you will get to nicer and nicer levels of trance work. Now, the other part of the question,

Harlan: I'm going to ask you a question on Self-Hypnosis and then I'll come back to that.

David: Ok

Harlan: What would be an example of an appropriate thing one could do with Self-Hypnosis and what would be an example of an inappropriate thing one could do with Self-Hypnosis?

David: Appropriate? Appropriate, for me anyway, has always been asking for insight, asking for insight into some difficulty I have, something I'm dealing with, something I want to understand. This insight, of course, could come as words, as an image, as a fully blown experience, it could come in many ways but I think asking for insight and understanding something I'm fervent with is excellent to do that with, is an excellent thing to use Self-Hypnosis for.

Harlan: Inappropriate?

David: Whew, inappropriate?

Harlan: I mean, what would someone do that Self-Hypnosis probably would not be of any benefit for? Could you do Self-Hypnosis to change someone else's behavior?

David: [laughter] That's a good one, Harlan.

Harlan: Could you do Self-Hypnosis if you are in sales to make people want to purchase from you?

David: Well, No.[laughter] As we would say in the world of NLP, that's ill-formed right to begin with. What you could use Self-Hypnosis for is to change or affect you own behavior and experience. Of course, that will affect other people around you. So, to that extent, yes, of course, you could use it to have an impact on others, to influence others but you would be making a terrible mistake if you were thinking that you had control or could control other people through hypnotizing yourself and changing your own behavior, that is not the case.

Harlan: Back to the last part of that question. Do you have any exercises for people?

David: Exercises?

Harlan: Self-Hypnosis or?

David: The one exercise, I mean actually doing what I suggested is, of course, an exercise in itself but the other thing I would suggest doing as an exercise, is as you go through your day, periodically, notice, just check in and notice, are you in a trance or not because people do go in and out of trances. And find, moments, times when you've gone into a trance and that's useful because what it does it starts training your body and training your experience to notice when you are moving in that direction or you are in that state. And, like getting use to anything, the more you are aware of your transiting into it, the easier it becomes to do it intentionally.

Harlan: Fantastic! I'd like to shift in a direction that has been a particular favorite of yours and something you've come back to over the years and that's Modeling.

David: Yeah

Harlan: First, let's say, that you wanted to model a successful businessman. Someone suggested Richard Branson, or Sir Richard Branson as you pointed out to me, who is Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records.

David: Yeah

Harlan: What would be the three most important things if you wanted to Model someone, let's say someone who was a successful businessman.

David: Well, the first thing, I would suggest doing is to recognize that when you talk about someone being a successful businessman, that is a huge context, presumably and in all certainly, there are a lot of different things, a lot of different abilities that this person has, that come together that make it possible for them to be successful.

Harlan: Such as communicating in a particular?

David: Being able to communicate, being able to lead, being able to negotiate, being able to control his state, I mean, it could be all kinds of things. There will be all kinds of things that come together that make it possible for this person to be successful. So, one of the fundamental mistakes that people make in Modeling land, I see this again and again, is they take way too big of chunk. They go to Richard Branson and say "I want to model you, how to be successful?", "So, tell me what do I need to do to be successful?" Well, you know, it's a lot; it ends up being a mish mash. So, the first thing to do is to break down, you know, what it is, what are the various things that he does that combine to make it possible for him to be successful? And then, model each of those things or each of those things that you need to model. That's kind of the first thing.

Harlan: So, if you were going to model someone like Richard Branson, or Bill Gates for that matter, you might end up modeling hundreds of different behaviors or patterns.

David: Well, that is, [laughter] that is part of the art of Modeling. Maybe, it's the first art of Modeling, which is identifying the level of complexity at which you want to be entering into this person's experience. So, what I was saying before is to go to Bill Gates and say "Ok, let's make a model of how you're successful". That's probably way too big a, what we call a chunk size, way too big a context to tackle in Modeling. But, we want to break it down into several abilities, into smaller abilities; now, we could keep breaking it down into smaller and smaller abilities. At the other extreme, you can go too small; you could go into abilities that are too small. You could model Bill Gates ability to shake hands during a negotiation. I mean, you could model that, how to shake hands the way Bill Gates does during a negotiation, but do we need that? Is that really where the heart of his ability and his success comes from, probably not? So, part of the art of Modeling is identifying at what level of complexity we want to be approaching this person's abilities. And that, in itself obviously, is a very big topic but for those of us talking about this right now, what you suggested, recognize that there will be levels that are more complex and levels that are less complex, wherever you are in your approach. And you want to consider what is most useful for you. The question that I ask, and I suggest be asked, is "What do I want to be able to do?" and you need to be very specific. "What is it I want to be able to do?" Do I want to be able to shake hands like Bill Gates, probably not, although if you want to shake hands like Bill Gates, that's what you want to model. Maybe the answer to my question is "I want to be able to negotiate in a meeting the way Bill Gates negotiates in a meeting." Well, then that's what I'm going to model and recognize that will be one ability he has in the pantheon of abilities that he has, that we call, you know, being successful Bill Gates.

Harlan: When you've modeled someone, how do you know you did a good job of Modeling?

David: Well, you certainly don't know by what you have on a piece of paper or what you have in your interaction. The only way you really know, whether or not, you got the model, is in trying it in the real world, that's the test.

Harlan: Wow! Now, David, you actually have a book on Modeling that is very soon to come out. Does it have a name yet?

David: No. [laughter]

Harlan: Ok, first when you see a book come out with no name.

David: ...the book with no name. [laughter]

Harlan: There was a horse that way that had the same name. But, it is coming out and I've been emailed an advance copy of the book and, folks, this will be a book that's worth getting and since I have everybody's email addresses with your permission, I'll send you notice when it comes out and how you'll be able to get it. And David is doing something that's really unusual with the book, a suggestion that I gave you, what's coming with the book?

David: A DVD and on the DVD, there is a full, you get to watch a full example of my working with an exemplar to elicit, to do an elicitation, to elicit her ability.

Harlan: What was the ability?

David: The ability is the ability to be passionate about something and then that's followed by another segment where you get to watch me and my colleague refine the Model and make it more specific and more true to the person's experience. And the last segment of the DVD is a demonstration of me working with somebody else to help that person acquire the ability to be passionate.

Harlan: So, Modeling now, really is, let's say if you're a teacher and there's some really difficult material and you find that one of the students in the class is really getting it and others are having difficulty, if a teacher could Model that student's understanding or the elements of it, they could be a much more effective teacher.

David: Yeah, that's the idea. The idea is, if this student is having difficulty, it's not because the student is recalcitrant and doesn't want to work, it's probably the case that, however that information is being presented to the child and how they are being interacted with, somehow is not congruent and useful for how that child is making sense out of the world. So, one approach to education is to say, ok, let's first find out, how this child makes sense out of the world and then we can know how to interact with the child, how to present information to the child so that he or she can grasp it. And, of course, the other possibility is that if we know, and this to me is actually more exciting, is if we know what are the patterns are that make it possible, for most any child, to understand a particular subject area, for instance, to make sense out of mathematics. If we know what those structures are, then what that makes possible then is creating curricula that helps teach children how to organize your experience in a way that makes mathematics accessible to them. Does that make sense what I just said?

Harlan: Yes, it does. Recalling history, you're involved, peripherally, with a project that has as its goal to be able to do that, to make learning easier, better, more fluent.

David: Well, yeah, actually, [laughter] that's true and I can't really talk about it right now but we are working on a, there are folks who are getting together to look at what are the fundamental patterns that underlie, both understanding and appreciating particular content areas, and the idea and hope is that, if we can identify those patterns, instead of just throwing a content area, throwing information at a child and hope it sticks. We can, first, teach the child how to think and organize their experience in a way that fits to the content area so that when the information is given to them, they can take it on.

Harlan: David, the people of all different levels on the call, some may have an experience or an exposure with Modeling and an NLP background, others are beginners, what are the first three things that I can do to begin Modeling others consciously, so that I could start moving towards doing it naturally and unconsciously?

David: Ok, well, so, the things to do, what I would suggest doing, if you want to, develop yourself as a Modeler. The first thing I would suggest is to mirror other people's bodies, mirror how they move, mirror their breathing, mirror their voice tonality, that is speak the way they speak, say the things they say, move the way they move, hold your body the way they hold their bodies, and so on. And then, feel what it feels like, pay attention to how it changes your experience, not only how you feel but what do you start thinking about, how does it start changing your thoughts, where do your thoughts go, what do you find yourself paying attention to when you start matching your own body and tonality and behavior to somebody else's? That to me is the first step in learning to Model. Another thing you can do is to make distinctions in your own experience and just as you go through your day, pay attention to what's going on in your experience, the things you're noticing, what you're feeling, where your thoughts are going and, for instance, you find yourself thinking about the future, are you thinking a lot about the future, just start making distinctions about where your attention is and what's going on in your experience. And then, this is the important part, then change on of those distinctions. So, if you find yourself lost, all I'm doing is sitting here thinking about the future, change it so you are only thinking about the present and find out when you change one thing in your experience, how it affects the rest of your experience, that is now I move from thinking about the future to thinking about the present, how does that change how I feel, how does it change my breathing, how does it change my movement, how does it change what I'm thinking about and what I'm noticing around me. That will teach you a tremendous amount about how the structure of experience works. And, I think, the third thing I'd recommend is you put yourself into alien situations, nothing dangerous of course.

Harlan: And nothing to do with space.

David: [laughter] Well, in space I would love to do that but, if I have the opportunity, I'd do it in a second, but put yourself into situations that are not normal for you, not usual for you and they may even be uncomfortable, even one's you have shied away from. Put yourself in those situations with the intention of discovering how to be in that situation, you know, what do you need to be paying attention to, how do you need to be thinking, how do you need to be moving, what your behavior needs to be, in order to be operating in that alien situation in an appropriate way and that also will teach you a great deal.

Harlan: Fantastic! Now, David, in your 30 years or so in NLP, what's been the single most significant Modeling work that you've ever done?

David: That's easy. Actually, it was modeling Leslie Cameron-Bandler. In the early days of NLP, some of the people on the line may have heard of Leslie Cameron-Bandler, but she was also one of the originals of the group who created NLP.

Harlan: Leslie's first book, which was later reissued, I think it's published as Solutions.

David: That's right and she is also co-author of NLP Volume 1 and, by the way along with myself and Robert (Dilts), Leslie was the person responsible for creating the Practitioner and Master Practitioner trainings that are still going on today.

Harlan: It's kind of interesting she's been dropped from most histories.

David: Yes, it is. One of the things that was remarkable, absolutely remarkable, about Leslie was she had the ability to know what was going on in other people's experiences. Far better, more accurately, more quickly than anybody, any of the rest of us or anybody else I've ever experienced. And one of the consequences of that was she was able to get people to do wonderful, wonderful work with people. I mean, her therapy work was far and away the best any of us did and I wanted to be able to do that as well. And what I discovered, what I realized was, that I was always on the outside of other people's experiences. I was on the outside trying to figure out from David's perspective, from this disassociated perspective, you know, what was going on with them, how to pick them apart and figure out from the outside who was in there and how to fix them. And, what I discovered instead, that Leslie was experiencing what their world was and then that allows her to know from the inside what the structure was. So, you know, what we call that is, one of the things we call it, is stepping into experience. She had the ability to step into somebody's experience and so I modeled that from her. I learned from her, how to step into other people's experience and that was when everything changed for me. That's when I found, truly, the ability to have an impact on other people therapeutically, to have an impact through Modeling because that is, to me, the basis of Modeling. That Modeling is done from the inside rather than the outside. And so, you know, for me that was far and away the most significant thing I modeled.

Harlan: A great question, which I really think speaks for many of the questions that people submitted, wanted to know about personal change and how could they improve themselves? So, bottom line question is in simple, down to earth, laymen's language, David, how does one construct a belief in one's own self?

David: A belief in one's own self. Well, I assume that this person is not asking about believing that there is a self but believing in one self in the sense of that one is worthy, that one is meaningful, that one is valuable, I'll answer the question with that idea. Well, I think, one of the most important things is to just know about people, about us, is that the world, both outside and the world inside each of us, is much, much richer than we know. And what we are doing, always and necessarily, is always paying attention to the little bit of who we are. So, given that I've said that, I think one thing to recognize, like somebody says "Well, you know, I don't believe in myself." I know that that person is only paying attention to those experiences that he has and have had that prove or suggest to him that he's somebody not worthy of believing in. And I also know that within that person's world, within that person's personal history and experience, that there are tons of examples that demonstrate that he is somebody who's worthy; he is somebody who is worth believing in. Now, I realize that folks on the other end of the line could be saying "You don't know that for sure", well that's true, I don't know that for sure, but you know what, I'm going to, first of all it's my experience that most people do have these things and I'm always going to ask and approach them as they do, so, that being said, if I could get around to answering the question, I think the thing to do is if you want to have a belief in yourself. The first thing to do is to recognize that you are paying attention to those things that suggest or indicate or prove to you that there is no basis for believing in yourself. That, to me, is a very important step; it's that what opens up the door to anything else. Once you've done that, then it's time to start searching through your past and through your ongoing experience, through a different set of lenses now looking for those things that suggest that you are, and it may be difficult to find, one of the things I would suggest doing is going to other people and asking them to open your eyes, open your eyes to things that you've done or qualities that you have that they see make you worthy, make you worth somebody believing in. So, in a general, in mean, I don't know if I could go any further than that, to go beyond that, you're working with an individual. And, I think, any work that I would do with anybody, would be doing that.

Harlan: Fantastic. Now, there are a lot of people who are going to have all kinds of questions and I'm going to invite them to email, a very special email address and I certainly hope that this is going to work, and that email is If you have any kind of question that weren't answered, as much as we can possibly answer them, I invite you to email that address, and we'll see what we can do about getting you the answers to the question that we weren't able to cover or that you wanted some more information about. David, NLP has changed over the years and you were on of the first to this sense years ago, that it has lost its true calling, perhaps its essence, because it's focusing on some very old patterns. People are teaching patterns from nearly thirty years ago, what should the fundamentals of NLP be that people who use it, practitioners and modelers, should be doing to practice and polish up and combine to generate new patterns of excellence?

David: Well, I think that the, well, what needs to happen is that the original intent and the original enterprise of NLP needs to be, I think, I don't know if the word is resurrected, but at least pursued, and that is exploring the structure of subjective experience. Now, when I say exploring the structure of subjective experience, well actually, one of the questions that was asked is, I think, relevant to my answering your question here. I have it here, so I'm going to read this briefly, and in part what this person said was "It is always said that in affirmations, we have to say them in the positive, for example when we want to be brave in a situation, we shouldn't say "I'm not afraid" because this will make us think of being afraid but I have experienced this to not always be true. Sometimes, I say "I am not something negative and I feel positive" for example, my mother always tells me "Don't be afraid, honey" and her way of saying it makes me relax and really not be afraid, so how come? Shouldn't I be afraid since she said afraid?" Now, I thought this was I wonderful question, I love this question, because this person is saying "Hey, I've got an anomalistic experience, I've got an experience that doesn't fit with the party line." Well, this is the most important thing to explore right now, this is something worth exploring, I should say. I think one of the things that happened to NLP and it happens to most pursuits and most fields, is that very quickly they start codifying their techniques and codifying their ideas and codifying their rules and that's what gets taught. And what's no longer being taught is the thinking and the exploration that went into discovering those first rules and techniques and so on. And so, I think, that for NLP to be renewed means people going out and looking for all the times and places and instances where NLP doesn't work or where technique doesn't work or where something that was considered a truth, isn't a truth for somebody else and because wherever you find a technique or tenant that doesn't hold or doesn't work, then you'll going to find something new. If you explore what is actually going on there, you will then go beyond where you've been. So, this means learning, of course, from the past, learning what we've learned but then not making them into sacred cows that have to be fed all of our grass, that we want to feed off of them and so, I suggest that if we want NLP to continue to fulfill the promise it has, which is the study of the structure of subjective experience and that means looking for all of the ways in that it's not working and learn from those.

Harlan: David, before I thank you for your time this evening, I want to salute all those who joined us as we were chatting with some of the participates before the call, we have people on from all over the world, from New Zealand, from Greece, from Vietnam and other countries, I just want to salute you for taking the time and investing yourself and your thirst for learning by joining us on the call. And second, David, it's been a pleasure to chat with you and get some insight into your mind and into Modeling, into NLP and Hypnosis, gosh, the time has really flown by. Folks, as soon as, if some of you I heard joined us late or maybe had to hop of the call to take care of a baby or children, those things happen, as soon as the recording and the transcript are available, we will make these available to you in the future but I want to wish everyone thank you, thank so much for joining us, David, for all of you on the call, let's just wish you a good night.

David: And I want to thank you all as well and I hope someday I'll have the chance to shake all of your hands.

Harlan: And model how you do that. [laughter]

David: [laughter]