When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s I used to spend Sunday afternoons ironing. I would stand at the ironing board for what felt like hours doing something I found no joy in.
You see ironing on a Sunday afternoon was one of my many ‘should’s and ‘have to’s”. I had to iron on a Sunday afternoon because this is what you did on a Sunday to get ready for the week ahead. When I was a child in the 70’s and 80’s, my Mum used to iron and watch the Love boat on the TV (if you are old enough to remember the love boat then you know!), so this is what I assumed Sunday afternoons were for.
It was upon learning NLP that I realised my ‘should’s, musts, cant’s and have to’s’ were rules that I applied to my life based on my early conditioning. The freeing revelation was that I could change the rules! We can ALL change the rules to fit with how you want your life to be.
Up until this point I hadn’t even considered that I could change the rules. There were things that I had always done that I hadn’t questioned because it was ‘just the way it was’. You might be familiar with the story of the girl baking meat loaf and cutting the edges off. She asked her Mum why they cut the edges off and her Mum didn’t know so she asked her Mum, the girls Grandma. Her Mum replied that it was so that the meatloaf could fit in the baking tin. It didn’t matter that the baking tin the girl used was a different size to the one her grandma used, the rule of cutting the meat loaf wasn’t questioned so continued through generations. It was only when the girl questioned this practice that new information emerged and she discovered other ways to make an even better meatloaf!
These stories (I could give hundreds of examples), are simple illustrations of how powerful our programming is and how we automatically and unconsciously live life without realising the limitations we are constrained by. Self imposed rules can limit your potential for seeking out new ideas, new perspectives, creative ideas, innovation and living life to the fullest. The automatic pilot and lack of self awareness can hinder possibility thinking and keep us stuck in a fixed mindset.
Here are some thoughts and offerings on how to apply NLP for creative thinking and innovation, supporting you to become freer in your thinking and reveal the depths of your inner potential.
- Get curious. Having a mindset of curiosity and being open to asking yourself questions like;
- ‘for what purpose am I doing this?’
- ‘Am I achieving the result I want in the best way possible’ ?
- ‘Are there should’s, musts, have to’s, ought to in my thinking that limit my potential?
Self awareness and being open to checking in with your thinking and consciously choosing your outcome, will support you in seeking opportunities and possibilities that you might not have previously considered.
2. There is always more that one way to achieve an outcome. Choose 3 ways that you can achieve your outcome and try them on for size. Decide which one is most effective and choose that. Remembering that you can always refine it and make it even better. When you give yourself feedback you open up a way of thinking that is receptive for learning, change, innovation and creativity. Ask yourself questions like
‘ what went well’
‘what could you do even better next time’
3. Generate ideas and form a plan. The Disney creativity strategy in NLP shows you how to get creative in your thinking and how to formulate a plan. Firstly choose 12 ideas that you feel connected with. Do this in a way that allows your mind to freely express ideas with no limits. From this list choose 3 ideas and begin to create a plan for how you will bring these ideas alive. Take 1 of them and explore even further the plan and any potential pitfalls or barriers. Find solutions to barriers as best you can asking question like ‘how can I overcome this, how can I do this’. Take this idea back to the dream- how does it feel once it has been accomplished. What can you see, hear and feel. What has improved, what is different, how are you different? This technique can be followed on with further techniques to anchor in success and belief that this is possible, and align the values of the individual or organisation to ensure congruency.
4. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. One of the fundamental principles of NLP is to have more ‘choice’ in how you think, feel and act in order to enhance all areas of your life. Limiting thinking can lead to a limited life. The problem is that for the most time we are unaware of the limits in our thinking and behaving because we are living from ‘automated’ and habitual patterns. Creativity and innovation require us to be present and question what we ‘think’ we know. It requires us to be ok with not knowing and to be open to feedback and learning. It requires a sense of playfulness and being open to experience new things that might you might not have even considered.
As one of the NLP founders said ‘ our biggest limit is not in what we want and cannot do, it is in what we have never considered that we can do ‘ Richard Bandler.
So circling back to the ironing and meatloaf stories, we are all so much more than what we think we are. We have far more expression for greater things than what most of us will ever discover. There is always more than one way to solve a problem. More ideas can be generated form a mind and body that is open and willing to see beyond the current paradigm.
NLP shows you how to tap into your inner potential and discover what has always been there within you .
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