What do you really
The importance of having goals
All new companies start off with a business plan, a blueprint highlighting all the aspects of the company’s targets for the future business year. This detailed map provides the company with all the essential information it needs to begin achieving success.
A business plan contains:
• Company objectives.
• Route on how to get there.
• Details of the tools that are going to be needed.
• What to expect at certain points along the way.
• How and when to assess these objectives and recognize that they have been finally achieved.
Without a perceived destination, a company has no focus or direction, and will struggle to make any progress, let alone operate successfully. To hit a target you must first know where to aim. Your subconscious mind works in exactly the same way. To achieve anything you want to in life, you must first work out what it is you actually want.
To hit a target you must first know where to aim.
In NLP terms, this is known as “well-formedness”, or well-formed outcomes.
Now answer these questions:
1. What are your goals?
2. What are you hoping to achieve by reading this book?
3. What is it you want to change or gain?
Our clever subconscious mind has all the tools, adaptability and learning power necessary to deliver us all the goals of our desires, whether it is in our working, social or personal life. One of the main problems we struggle with that prevents us from achieving this, is that we often don’t actually know what it is that we want.
Negative or positive
We all have a list of the things we don’t want in life and spend an awful lot of time and energy trying to avoid these negatives:
• Don’t want to be in debt.
• Don’t want to fail the interview.
• Don’t want to be rejected.
Unfortunately this is where we let ourselves down and make one of our biggest mistakes.
Remember, our subconscious cannot operate in the negative. Every program and response it operates is always done with a positive intention. It has no logical reasoning and cannot process negative language, so when our subconscious receives a negative command such as “I don’t want to be in debt,” it won’t understand the “don’t” part and will instead process “I want to be in debt.”
So “I don’t want to fail the interview” becomes “I want to fail the interview,” and “I don’t want to be rejected” becomes “I want to be rejected.”
Remember, our conscious mind can only focus upon a limited amount of information at any given time (five, seven or nine pieces), so if we are using this limited amount of attention space to focus only upon the things we don’t want to happen, the only reality your conscious mind is perceiving is a negative one.
Our conscious mind can only focus upon a limited amount of information at any given time (five, seven or nine pieces).
Ironically, because our subconscious mind can only process positive commands, if we focus all of our attention upon things we are actually trying to avoid, our subconscious is inevitably turning it into our reality.
You have to maintain your focus upon something in order to know when to avoid it, which is a great strategy if you want to avoid disappearing down a pothole or standing in something you shouldn’t. However, when it comes to understanding your mind’s interpretation of your own reality, should you choose to spend all of your limited focus and energy trying to avoid the things you don’t want in life, you could end up overlooking and missing the things you do want.
From an NLP perspective, to enable any changes to take place, a goal must first be established.
Once the subconscious mind has an objective in place, it can then begin developing all the programs necessary (a map) to get there.
At this point, write a list of all the things you would do if you knew you could never fail. Next imagine yourself as a company. What is your own business plan for the future?
You can learn to achieve anything you want to in life. What is it that you want?
Exercise: Creating our targets
1. Is your goal in the positive?
• What do you actually want? Remember, your subconscious cannot function in the negative, so it is important that you stop focusing upon what you don’t want to achieve. I don’t want to fail my interview, I don’t want to be disorganized, I don’t want to make a fool of myself.
• Make sure you state your goal as a positive command. What specifically do you want to achieve? What’s the benefit, the something to be gained rather than avoided? I want to be successful and professional in my interview, I want to be organized and focused, I want to be confident and relaxed in my interview.
2. Are you doing it for yourself, and is it within your control?
• Are your intentions solely for your own gain, or are you trying to keep someone else happy?
• Does the goal’s outcome rely upon others or you?
3. How will you know when you are starting or close to achieving it?
• How will you recognize you are achieving your outcome?
• What will be you be doing when you get it?
• What will you hear, see, and feel?
• What impact will it have on your life, and what will it affect?
4. Is the context of your goal clearly defined?
• What are the specific details of your goal? Clarify what you want and what you don’t want.
• When, where, how and with whom do you want it?
Having a clear idea of all the specific elements of your goal will help break down the steps needed to take you there. Chunk down the information into manageable and achievable pieces.
5. What resources do you need to make this happen?
• Do you have the necessary tool or skills to make your goal happen?
• Do you already have the resources, and if not what do you have to do to get them?
• Have you ever done anything like this before, or has anyone else achieved this before, and how can that help you?
• What impact would it make if you acted as though you already had the resources?
6. Is it ecological?
• If you achieve this goal, how will it impact on your life?
• Is it in harmony with all aspects of your life?
• Why do you really want this?
• What will happen if you get it?
• What won’t happen if you get it?
• What will happen if you don’t get it?
• What won’t happen if you don’t get it?
7. Have you identified the first steps you need to take?
• What is the very first thing you need to do to start making this goal happen?
• What are your first steps, leading you to take action?
• When are you going to do it?
Only you have the power to make your dreams come true: unless you take the first steps, your ambitions will always remain just wishful thinking.
Only you have the power to make your dreams come true.
Turning your expectation into reality
For our brain to understand any information, it must recreate the thought within our mind (via our five senses), compare it against our past experiences and understanding, and then have an emotional response to it.
Your mind hates not knowing how to do something. A lot of our fears, insecurities and uncomfortable sensations occur when we are faced with a situation that we have no current examples or references to compare them against.
Remember how nervous you felt on your first day of school, or at your first interview, or meeting someone new for the first time?
We hate not knowing and despise not understanding.
We hate not knowing and despise not understanding.
To manage all of the various functions that we have on a daily basis, your subconscious has created various programs of automatic behaviour that run like clockwork. To understand which programs to use, and when and how, your subconscious mind follows an internal map. This map is a creation of our belief systems, values, ideals, identity, past experiences and understanding, our environment, our ambitions and our goals. It’s a complete instruction manual to our psyche.
Imagine reading down a menu list in a restaurant. To choose which dish we would like to eat, our mind must first understand what everything on the menu actually is, what it means, how it tastes, and whether we like it or not.
Imagine eating a chocolate cake or an apple. Imagine biting into it, the taste in your mouth, the texture and its smell. When you imagine swallowing it, how do you feel?
To understand even that simple sentence, your mind flicks through your internal manual, (your mind map) and locates the section labelled “food”.
If you have ever eaten a piece of chocolate cake or tasted an apple, then your mind will quickly be able to re-experience its taste, and through the reference structure of your five senses your mind will then replay the experience to you and provide you with an emotional feedback to it. We use our past to understand our present, but also to predict our future.
This mental manual doesn’t just provide us with a record of our past memories and experiences, but it also creates a mental expectation of our future too! This is known in NLP as a time line.
We use our past to understand our present, but also to predict our future.
An introduction to time lines
Your time line is a mental collection of your experiences, memories, emotions, experienced learning and understandings. This information is held in structured sequential format, dating back from the day you are born, up until this point right now. However, to enable your subconscious mind to continually function with direction and purpose (without needing constant guidance from your conscious mind), your mind expands this time line forward as well. Your internal mind map has a time line that travels from the day you were born, right up until the day you die.
Your time line can operate from behind you through to in front of you (hence the saying, “your past is behind you and the future lies ahead”):
Or it can operate from your left through to your right:
This internal manual has a blueprint, highlighting every element of your future mental diary for the coming week, months and years. It contains all your points of interest, a “to-do” list and even the milestones to compare your progress against.
Using your time line
Test your own time line by answering these questions:
• What do you want to achieve at work next week?
• What will you wear, who are you likely to meet and what are you going to do at the end of the day?
• Where are you going to be in the New Year?
• What are you going to be doing on your next holiday?
• Where are you going?
• How will you know when you’ve got there?
• Who’s going with you?
On reading those questions, your mind should easily be able to answer at least 5 or 6 of them.
Obviously nothing is set in stone, and we may consciously choose to alter certain details, elements or events within our plans, but the fact still remains, that right now your subconscious mind has a fair estimation of what it is you are going to be doing and where it is you are going to be doing it, for quite some time to come.
Your mind is able to do this because of a magical little world called daydreaming. That’s right, daydreaming – the thing we will all have been told off for doing at least once in our lifetime. But when we daydream, we are actually training our minds into creating our future.
When we daydream, we are actually training our minds into creating our future.
We constantly use our brilliant imagination to plan out everything, all the tiny elements of what we will be doing, how we will be doing it, who’ll be there, how we’ll feel and why we think it’s a good idea to do it in the first place.
When we sit and plan our working day, we use our imagination to construct, list and remember all the various jobs that we have to do, the order in which we’ll have to do them and the reason (the “why”) behind doing them. We then refer to our past similar experiences and utilize our past understanding to provide us with the patterned examples of how we go about performing the automatic functions on our “to do” list, mentally cutting and pasting the structure together to fit our needs and amending it if necessary.
Every time we daydream, we create a new pathway on our future internal map, and the difference between the daydreams that remain just dreams and the ones that become our reality is all down to our expectations. Our expectations become our reality and we drive our expectations through our beliefs.
Our expectations become our reality and we drive our expectations through our beliefs.
And the daydreams that we believe and expect to happen… often will.
Every time you plan anything in your mind, you are essentially daydreaming. When you daydream, you create a reality and an image on your internal time line, your mental map, detailing where you need to go and what you need to do. Once this image, this plan, is on your map, if you mix in a little element of expectation, then your subconscious gains all the ingredients necessary to automatically steer you into that reality. You’ve mentally cut and pasted the programs needed, you know what to expect when you’re there, and now you don’t really have to consciously analyse anything; your subconscious will do the rest.
The downside to this way of working is that anything you expect to happen, and that you daydream, plan and create a map for, will in due course come about! It’s important therefore to choose your thoughts carefully; otherwise you may find your dreams are actually becoming your nightmares.
Our internal maps provide our subconscious with the understanding it needs to function automatically. The more we practise daydreaming all the details of our desired reality, the more ingrained that reality becomes on our map and the stronger the chances become that our subconscious will turn it into reality.
Daydreaming your reality
Your conscious mind can only deal with a limited amount of information, so if you spend all your time playing the daydream game of what if, do you choose something positive or something negative?
Whatever you focus all of your attention upon and map out all the tiny details for, will inevitably become your reality.
Go back to the question “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
Now imagine your outcome, your goal.
• How will you feel when you achieve it?
• How will you know you are there?
• What will you see, hear and feel?
• Who is with you?
• What does it mean for you to be here?
• What impact does it have upon your life?
• What steps do you need to begin taking in order for you to achieve it?
Spend at least five minutes a day daydreaming about this reality. Feel it, hear it, see it and, most importantly, believe it will happen.
Our subconscious mind doesn’t like the unknown. Everything our subconscious does is an automatic response and an automatic program. Our subconscious relies upon our internal map to guide it through our daily life and into our future. If your plan is not etched upon your map of expectation, then your subconscious mind will refuse to acknowledge it.
Our subconscious mind doesn’t like the unknown.
It’s all very well wanting to become confident when giving a presentation, or craving the motivation to become self employed, but unless you’ve ever experienced it or spent a decent amount of time daydreaming it into reality and on to your time line, your subconscious mind will have no reference of it, and no understood learning or program to follow.
A little make-believing
When we play make-believe as children, we are not just playing but also learning, practising and preparing our mind with the skills we want for the future.
1. Think of something you want to achieve, would like to do or maybe something that you want to be – “I want to be a top sales executive.”
2. Imagine what qualities you will need to achieve this, and what resources you need to get – tools (a car), training (an NLP course), emotional resources (confidence, ambition, etc.).
3. Spend a couple of minutes imagining how you will be once you have gained all of your required resources. What will you hear, what will you see and how will you feel? Maybe: “I will be listening to the radio, whilst driving in my new blue sports car to the exclusive golf club I have recently joined. I will be feeling incredibly happy because I’ve just been paid my large monthly bonus and that means I can now afford to go on this fantastic cruise around the Caribbean.”
4. Bring your thoughts to the here and now and imagine what it would be like if you already had all the resources you needed now – confidence, ambition, etc. What difference would it make having these skills now? What impact would it have on your life now?
5. Become aware of your goal and start pretending for ten minutes every day that you have already achieved it (this does not mean spending lots of money you don’t have!). Imagine you already have all the resources you need; how are you choosing to use and apply them?
6. Now become aware and take the first steps towards turning your make believe into your reality. Spend ten minutes every day make believing you already have the qualities, the resources or the life you want to lead. Provide your subconscious with the basic understanding, the program and the foundations of learning, so it can begin implementing the steps to create your amazing reality.
Go for it! Your expectations in life will become your reality, and these expectations are created through your thoughts, your dreams, your plans and, more importantly, your imagination. Learn to become aware of what it is you are actually planning for your subconscious mind. Through your awareness you can take control of and also responsibility for your own future. Do you choose a reality based on the foundations of dreams, or of nightmares?