NLP & Stoicism....
I'm in the midst of writing a new 'self-help-styled' book...
OH NO, I hear you say, NOT ANOTHER SELF-HELP BOOK!!!
Well, yes, but hopefully very different.
It will be s firmly based within the realms of evidenced based approaches, and may well challenge some of the fluffy ideas in some self-help tomes which I have come to think are part of the problem and do not really approach the personal solutions people are seeking.
But, more of that later...
In my pondering I have been considering the possible link between stoicism and some of the NLP presuppositions we all know and love.
Let's first look at Stoicism...
One of the definitions of stoicism is ...
the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.
But that's perhaps an oversimplification.
Wikipedia reliably informs us that ...
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics which is informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world.
Tim Denning notes that:-
Stoicism is focused on uncomplicated theories of life
– Stoicism is so clear that you can take action from the advice immediately
– Study is not required to understand Stoicism
– The most read Stoic is Lucius Seneca. Marcus Aurelius is also very popular
Denning points out in his excellent article (see reference below) that far too many self-help style writers focus on 'what is wrong' or the negative aspects of life. By definition, perhaps, the idea that someone needs to find 'self-help' suggests that something is 'wrong' in the rose garden.
Stoics do not suppress the thing that is wrong, but remind themselves they are actually 'in the rose garden' in the first place. Hence stoicism is about a state of mind, a way of perceiving things if you like. Those versed in NLP ideals may already be getting that tingling sense of familiarity.
Here are a few of the key ideas of Stoicism and, I suspect, the 'that's kinda like the NLP view' spider-sense will trigger for many of you.
Events are Events - It is the individual that gives them meaning
Where we focus our attention, our emotions and our actions create the definition of any event. The events are not YOU, but they can impact upon you. The degree of that impact is more about the personal relevance you place on the event rather than the event itself.
Shit Happens - things will disrupt our personal peace and tranquility.
A bit of a truism here. Bad things happen to Good people, and Good things happen to Bad people. (Note that here we are giving a value of good or bad to an event or indeed a person - such a value is a personal judgement). if you accept that things can disrupt your plans, then you can be flexible in your responses rather than spending time and effort trying to hallucinate the cosmic reasons for the shit!
Remember, what is shit to some is fertiliser to others.
If what you're doing isn't working - Do something else
As mentioned above, the ability to be flexible in responses - the law of requisite variety perhaps?
We always have choices
Whether times are 'good' or 'bad' we can still choose how to respond. When we feel we have no choice, then look again and create some.
Be reflective and look inward for solutions
In someways, perhaps, this is the ability to be present, mindful and soul-searching. This activity is about finding solutions rather than getting lost in a downward spiral of self-doubt and or regret.
Anger doesn't help & Being fearful and paranoid does not help you either
Self explanatory really.
It's good to emote and recognise those emotions rather than repressing them, BUT you have choices about how to express and not become them.
Seek not to impress others, since this takes you from your own path
Impressing others is the need of the ego, and perhaps not fully reflective of the nature of your own advancement
Your mind becomes the thoughts that you think habitually
Hey, it's the neuro-plasticity thing!
Is optimism and pessimism 'hard wired' or (and) part of the attitudes we allow to evolve?
Without proper training you're a fool!
As Tim Denning puts it - If you seek to master a skill, then without proper training you will (by default) rely on ignorance, and you’ll act in a way that lacks discipline and requires chance.
This, perhaps, comes back to the NLP dictum - Get It Right First and Become Artistic Later - when learning, experiencing NLP models and interventions?
The More You Learn, The More You Know You Don't Know
To once again quote Mr Denning...
The harsh reality is that many of us walk around as though we know everything. We know nothing of the infinite knowledge there is to acquire.
That sort of humbleness is where all the best learning starts from. Thinking less of yourself is the ultimate power: it’s where you can grow from and serve others. It’s this way of thinking that births leaders.
Focus on Building Character...
It's not about labels, stereotypes and other people's judgements - it's about you, your path and your choices. Your character is defined by the work you do on yourself each day and the person you become.
Mastery is a Journey not a Destination
You will never know everything about everything since change moves through all. The student never stops being a student. Even the teacher is still a student at heart.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
Tim Dennings Article
Dr Alan Jones PhD, FRSA