In My Family…

An old story whose origins are unknown to Google is about a relatively newlywed couple who wanted to divide chores evenly having weekly arguments about whose turn it was to mow the lawn. Other household tasks weren’t a problem. The husband had his responsibilities, the wife had hers, and each was comfortable with the assigned tasks with the exception of lawn mowing. They had agreed to take turns but had trouble tracking whose turn it was from week to week. After months of arguing about whose turn it was to mow the lawn, the wife blurted out, “In my family, . . . → Read More: In My Family…

The Reality of Beliefs

According to a top Saudi cleric, driving damages women’s ovaries. Does the fact (reality) that some people believe that make it true, if only for them? What—exactly—is the relationship between reality and what we believe? You may know people who believe that their beliefs accurately reflect reality. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know that one of my recurrent themes is the need for an evidence procedure that allows individuals to base their beliefs on reality to the degree that it’s possible.

It was, for example, perfectly logical for our ancient ancestors to believe that . . . → Read More: The Reality of Beliefs

Forks in the Road

I don’t very often write extended book reviews for my blog, but I am making an exception for Choice Points: When You have to Decide Which Way to Go, by Phil Hollander, Robert Reaume, and Harvey Silver. (See for more.) It is an excellent book in more ways than one. I will say more about those ways, but first, a bit of background:

In the interests of full disclosure, I need to say that I know one of the authors, Phil Hollander. We first met in 1994 at an NLP training with Richard Bandler in Toronto. We have . . . → Read More: Forks in the Road

Evidence Procedures, Part 2

It has been almost two months since my last blog entry. I have been busy, and a lot has been happening, some of which I thought would make good posts, and some of which interfered with my writing. In that category, if you have been following Debra’s and my SCS posts, you know that Debra needed to have a complete hysterectomy. She is now recovering and still hoping to spend the coming winter in Florida, which she has been thinking of as a “healing garden.”

Some of the discussion following the shooting of the children at the Sandy Hook, . . . → Read More: Evidence Procedures, Part 2

Evidence Procedures

In NLP, one of the central Metamodel questions is, “How do you know?” An honest answer to the question provides information about a person’s “model of the world,” which is essentially a “reality strategy”—the way people decide what’s real. In most cases, what we think of as “real” is more accurately a “belief,” in some cases with very little in the way of supporting evidence. Most beliefs begin, of course, with some evidence in the external environment. Through the natural processes of deletion, distortion, and generalization, beliefs that have a logical beginning can become increasingly distorted over time. One of . . . → Read More: Evidence Procedures

Why Ask Why?

Quite a few NLP trainers and Master Practitioners suggest that we would do well to avoid “why” questions. In some cases, the reason “Why” may not be the best question to ask is obvious. Imagine answering the following questions:

Why is the sky blue? Why were dinosaurs so big? Why don’t you love me anymore? Why do you think that?

In some cases, “why” is basically asking, “what is the reason,” and when the reason is complex (blue sky, dinosaur size), each response is likely to produce another “why” question. That’s also true when the reason is unknown (don’t . . . → Read More: Why Ask Why?


In a recent article in the Huffington Post, George Lakoff (author or co-author of numerous books and articles on metaphors and other aspects of language usage), said the following about framing:

Framing is much more than mere language or messaging. A frame is a conceptual structure used to think with. Frames come in hierarchies. At the top of the hierarchies are moral frames. All politics is moral. Politicians support policies because they are right, not wrong. The problem is that there is more than one conception of what is moral. Moreover, voters tend to vote their morality,  since it is what defines . . . → Read More: Framing—Again

Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is embroiled in a political and financial conflict that is influencing the stability of world financial markets. One of the headlines of a recent (9 August 2011) New York Times article states, “Wave of worry threatens to build on itself: Hesitation over the uncertainty of the economy can make things worse.” That led me to wonder the degree to which perception can actually determine reality. The term I associate with perception as a determiner of reality is self-fulling prophecy.

Although the concept of prophesies determining future events is ancient, its modern . . . → Read More: Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy

Arguing with Reality

Previously—”I Read the News Today (Oh, Boy),” 4 June 4 2011—I lamented the need for greater understanding and appreciation of the essential premises of Alfred Krozybski’s Science and Sanity, which evolved into the metamodel of NLP. Those premises are basically a cry to pay closer attention to reality, known in both Korzybski’s work and NLP as “territory,” which is distinct from “maps,” which are human beliefs. The problem is that beliefs too often argue with—disagree with—reality, and, as Byron Katie (Loving What Is) has said, “When you argue with reality, you lose. But only every time.”

If you want . . . → Read More: Arguing with Reality

Framing and Reframing

Those of you who have studied NLP or persuasive communication are familiar with the concept of perceptual frames. The metaphor is fairly obvious: a window frame, for example, limits what we see on the other side of the window; a photographer can choose what is included in the frame of a photo by trimming the image so that it focuses on, say, one person instead of a group. The concept has been adopted by psychology for the purpose of understanding the context that determines how something is interpreted.

All communication (all? Yes, all…) occurs within a contextual frame. In . . . → Read More: Framing and Reframing