Category Archives: Flexibility

Drill Into Some Cookies

Hammer Out Your Skill Zone

There are a lot of good metaphors about our comfort zone.

The elephant that was tied up as a kid, for example.

Then later, they removed the rope, but he still was afraid to go outside of his rope-zone.

That’s all he was comfortable with.

Or the shark whose growth was stunted because he was kept in a small tank.

But the thing about comfort zones is they distort our reality.

Sure, we can see things just on the outside of them, recognize that they make us uncomfortable.

Which means we can sort of define the “boundary” of our comfort zone.

You can think of a small area just outside our comfort zones as a kind of defining “outer limit” of what we MIGHT be capable of.

But beyond that, we really can’t perceive of anything at all.

I had a friend once who was baking cookies. She wanted to make three times as many, but she absolutely COULD NOT do the math required to do so.

So she was stuck.

She had an IDEA of what she wanted, but she couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Imagine somebody, on the other hand, who could EASILY complicated arithmetic in their heads.

They could plan things with a lot more accuracy.

Therefore they could SEE things in their future with a lot more accuracy.

We can only see based on what we MIGHT be able to do, in the case of the comfort zone and the cookies.

Imagine walking down the street in a foreign country, where you have NO IDEA what any of the signs meant.

Imagine that same scenario but with a HUGE “to-do” list.

Shopping, laundry, getting a haircut, buying shoes, etc.

Simple things would be difficult.

The more you are comfortable doing, the more clearly you’ll see MORE options.

The more things you are capable of understanding, the more clearly you’ll see all the opportunities outside of your SKILL zone.

If ALL you have is a hammer, you’ll only find nails.

But if you have a MASSIVE set of tools in your brain, you’ll find a lot more things to use them on.

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Future Predictions

Blaze Your Way Into The Future

It’s hard to be ultra successful in life without at least a little bit of luck.

How much of this “luck” depends on how you define luck.

If you define it as “preparation meets opportunity” that you have a lot of control over how “lucky” you are.

If, on the other hand, you see luck as completely outside of your control, then it can feel frustrating if “other people” are the ones getting lucky all the time.

It certainly helps if you are born with a set of skills that can get you a lot of money, or fame, or whatever else you are looking for.

Some people are born natural athletes, and they don’t do much other than what comes easily.

Same with people who are gifted artists, singers, actors etc.

Most of us have some skills, and with a little bit of work we can make a decent live for ourselves.

On the other hand, with more “focused” work, we can crate some pretty powerful results.

A lot of this has to do with how “efficient” you are in doing things.

There’s that common expression, “work smarter, not harder.”

What EXACTLY does that mean?

It usually means spending most of your time on the things that get the most results.

This, of course, depends on what you are doing.

One thing that will make anything easier is always being on the lookout for new ways of doing things.

Of always having the mindset of, “this works for now, but when something better comes along, I’ll be all over it.”

You can accelerate this even further if you are always PURPOSELY hungry for new information.

To always be looking for ways to improve in some way.

One of the biggest dangers is thinking that “you’ve arrived.”

If you think you’re done, that means you won’t think you need to keep learning.

But in a world with seven billion other people, things don’t stay static for very long.

There will ALWAYS be somebody in front, creating new ways of thinking and doing things.

Why not be one of those people?

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Always Increase Your Thinking Power

Stay Ahead of The Pack

In NLP there’s an idea that flexibility is huge asset.

Meaning if you could choose one “trait,” that would help the most, in most situations, it would be flexibility.

Not the touching-your-toes kind of flexibility, but being flexible in how you can respond in any given situation.

Take a look at humans vs. the rest of the animals, for example.

One thing that gave us an advantage back in the day was a sexual division of labor.

Men hunted, and women gathered.

Compared to all other animals, where both men and women get the same food.

Because we split (for whatever reason) we could live in twice as many environments.

If we couldn’t hunt in any area, we could gather. If we couldn’t gather, we could hunt.

Being individually flexible is also a huge advantage.

If you are given a problem, and you only have one way of solving it, what happens if you get stuck?

But if you always have several ways of solving problems, you can solve a LOT more problems.

Which means you’ll be worth a LOT more money.

Being able to speak several languages is better than only one.

Being fluent in several subjects (math, science, art, etc) is better than one.

Because the world is changing at such a rapid pace, it’s tough to keep up.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t going to sit around and wait while we try and figure out what to do.

It’s going to keep on moving forward.

With or without us.

You can choose to keep up, and prosper.

Or even stay a little bit a head.

Get Started:
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Driven Forward

Awaken Your Inner Explorer

What is the human spirit?

It’s been the subject of poetry, movies, music and philosophy since the dawn of time.

It’s cool to talk about, sometimes beautiful to describe.

But what IS it?

Is it possible to describe from a purely biological perspective?

Let’s give it a try from a purely evolutionary perspective.

One way to look at any human “trait” is to imagine a couple groups of ancient people, some who had the trait, some who didn’t.

So, how would something philosophical like the “human spirit” be represented in a group of ancient people?

How would we know the difference between those who had “it” and those who didn’t?

I imagine two groups of cave people. One group is content to sit around in a particular valley.

Maybe they thought they had enough food, enough shelter, that it was “good enough.”

Then there was another tribe, who ALWAYS wondered what was over the next hill.

Even though they’d gone over hundreds of similar hills before, and found more or less the same thing, something in them kept driving them forward.

This second group, the one who had this mysterious “spirit” are the ones that populated the Earth.

They are the ones that took risks, paddling canoes across huge oceans, using only the stars to guide them.

They are the ones that spread out and figured out how to live under nearly every condition imaginable.

That other tribe, that figured a few trees and some animals to hunt once in a while was “good enough,” what happened to them?

Sadly, we can see those people among us as well.

Even within ourselves.

Whenever we accept things the way they are.

Whenever we sit around and hope “somebody else” is responsible for solving our problems.

But just as surely as we flip the channels around and stare at social media all day, that ancient drive still exists.

Patiently waiting for you to wake it up.

Once you do, you can become an explorer of your own life.

Learning more, doing more, experiencing more, discovering more.

There’s a HUGE world out there.

Waiting.

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Social Confidence

The Hidden Ingredient To Standing Out

When you go on a job interview, (or any kind of interview) what kinds of questions do they ask?

Lots of books have been written on the subject.

People spend lots of time role-playing and coming up with the best way to answer the more difficult questions.

But sometimes they throw you a curve ball.

They aren’t really interested in the answer itself, it’s how you behave when something unexpected happens.

The more money any job pays, the more these situations will come up.

Anybody can follow a simple, step by step process.

In fact, a lot of those jobs will be gone in the next couple decades.

Replaced by robots who ONLY know how to follow EXACT step by step instructions.

Since most high paying jobs involve a LOT of “thinking on your feet” they want to see how you actually “think on your feet.”

They ask silly questions like, “If you were an inch high and stuck inside of a blender, how would you get out?”

Knowing how to answer that relies on the SAME TRAIT that people find in “leaders.”

Knowing what to do when something unexpected happens.

When something goes wrong, and it even SEEMS dangerous, most people panic.

They look around, desperate to find somebody of “authority.”

Somebody who’s NOT panicking like them.

Somebody who’s calmly figuring out what’s what.

This quality will help you get VERY FAR.

Because the amount of UNEXPECTED things that happen in life will FAR OUTNUMBER the stuff you can expect.

Even most people PURPOSELY avoid any situations where they might have to “think on their feet.”

However, as harsh and unfair as it sounds, if you purposely avoid situations where you might feel “uncertain” about what to do, you’re not going to have a lot of fun.

Nobody got rich playing it safe.

Nobody met the love of their life playing it safe.

None of the great heroes of literature and history made their mark while playing it safe.

Does this mean they were FEARLESS?

Absolutely not.

But that didn’t hold them back.

How can you GET that quality?

You can BUILD IT, just like any other skill.

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Maximum Social Confidence

Leverage The Secret of Economics

There’s a concept in economics called the “invisible hand.”

It was described first by Adam Smith a few hundred years ago.

It’s basically the idea that a mass of people, all operating independently can solve problems much more quickly and effectively than a central authority.

For example, let’s say there’s a city that has a bunch of hamburger shops. They all buy their bread from a few different bread factories.

And the bread factories buy their raw materials from a few different countries.

But for some reason, the price of wheat goes up. Which makes the bread more expensive, which makes the hamburgers more expensive.

One hamburger shop gets an idea to wrap their burgers in lettuce, (for example).

One guy with one idea. Then all the other shops copy him and pretty soon all burgers are cheap again, and everybody’s happy.

Meanwhile, the bread factories have found some other sources of wheat that are cheaper, and now the bread is cheap again.

End result is now the hamburger shops have two different types of burgers.

Those with bread and those wrapped in lettuce.

The bottom line of this goofy example is nobody really needs to know WHY the wheat suddenly got expensive. Everybody from the bread factories to the hamburger customers only knew that they had a problem, and EVERYBODY, on their own, in their own way, figured out how to solve it.

And when one guy figured it out, everybody knew as well.

Compare this to the central authority model, that says you need to study why the wheat is so expensive and come up with farming reforms and all that stuff.

That would take YEARS.

But in the above example, the solution took maybe a week, at most.

All because people interact, share information based on their own view of their own world around them.

Being alive right now is significant in that there are TONS of ways to connect with other people.

No matter WHAT kind of problem you have, no matter what kind of idea you have, you will more than likely find the solution within your own social circle.

Which means the BIGGER your social circle, the more effective you’ll be.

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Delicious Cake

Become A Delicious Cake

Delicious Cake

The human brain is very quick, but often not very accurate.

Otherwise optical illusions (or even movies) wouldn’t work.

We see things that aren’t really the way they are.

There’s even a weird “audio illusion” where if you listen to static long enough, you’ll start to hear sounds that aren’t there.

Unfortunately, some people may think they’re listening to ghosts or demons or something.

One common misunderstanding is when we see two events take place, one after the other, and assume that one caused the other.

In Latin this is referred to as, “post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

Here’s an example. You’re hanging out a bar or club, and you see some guy walk over and talk to a girl or guy you’ve had your eye on.

They have an obviously enjoyable conversation for a few minutes (they are both laughing) and then they leave together.

You think to yourself, “Hmm, I wish I knew what he said to her!”

Here’s another example using the same structure, but it’s obvious how “incorrect” it is.

You go to a friends house for a dinner party. They serve an absolutely delicious cake for desert. You would like very much to bake on just like it.

So you ask them, “Hey, that cake was delicious, what kind of icing did you use?”

And you thought that all you needed to know was the icing.

The words we use are really just the icing on the cake.

They are an outcome of our internal behavior.

Here’s a point to prove it.

Let’s say some absolutely gorgeous person is eyeing you from across the room.

They walk over to introduce themselves.

They closer they get, the more you are attracted. The way they move, the way they carry themselves, their posture.

Now, which thought would be more likely:

“Wow, this is so cool!”

or

“Hmm. They look gorgeous and are interested in me, but if they say something that isn’t super witty or clever I’m going to tell them to get lost.”

The truth is that the words we actually use are important, but they aren’t the ONLY thing.

Just like the icing is only put on AFTER the cake is made (and in reality the cake will still be pretty good without the icing), the words are only the last bit of information.

In fact, if that metaphorical gorgeous person didn’t even speak English (or your native language) that probably wouldn’t even matter.

So, how do you build up the inner cake?

By building up how much you feel confident and relaxed no matter who you are around.

And just like any other skill, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

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Social Confidence

Create A Group of Admirers

Social Confidence

We like it when things make sense.

When something happens that we don’t expect, it can be pretty confusing.

Once I was at a friends house, hanging out after dinner in their living room.

There was five or six of us, and we’d kind of drifted into two separate conversations.

Three in one, three in another.

But one person in each group, in each conversation, said, “No way!”

And everybody stopped for a second, heads spinning.

The two completely different conversations having overlapped in those two words was pretty cool. Then we all laughed and went on with whatever we were talking about.

This is kind of the idea behind the famous “handshake interrupt” from NLP.

Since most people think of a handshake as a single event, when you start talking in the middle it kind of trances people out.

When unexpected things happen that are BETTER than we expect, it’s almost like magic.

Like if you’re sure you failed a test, the teacher hands them back, face down, and you turn it over slowly, and are happily surprised to see you got a 92.

People can be the same way.

I once had this calculus professor. Super serious geek type. But then on Halloween he came in dressed in a goofy outfit and sang part of an Italian opera.

One way to impress people is how you handle the conversation.

Most people go around trying to “compete” with one another. Trying to tell the best stories, trying to be the “wittiest” guy in the conversation.

But when you start asking questions about the other person, and sit back and let them be the “cool one,” something interesting will happen.

If you walk up and tell an awesome story, they’ll remember you. But it will be conscious. They’ll clearly associate you with your stories, and you’re not-so-covert attempt to impress them.

But when you lay back and let them be the star, they’ll feel good, and they’ll SUBCONSCIOUSLY associate that good feeling with you.

If you make this your “go-to” conversation style, pretty soon everybody you know will really feel good when they think about you, and they won’t quite be sure why.

But you’ll know.

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Social Confidence

Why People Will Love Talking To You

Social Confidence

The Meta Model from NLP is a very powerful but little used tool.

As it’s taught, it’s pretty terrible.

It makes people turn into conversation killers.

Our language is FILLED with vagueness.

And this is nearly always a good thing.

So when you start using the meta model, it can seem really abrasive.

If you are on the receiving end of a meta model barrage it feels like you’re under interrogation.

Because the Meta Model is all about extracting specific information.

Like if somebody says they saw a movie and it was “OK,” then they probably don’t feel like spending twenty minutes defending their position.

Why was it just OK?

What specific part was just OK?

Most people don’t like to go into specific details, especially if it feels like an interrogation.

There are, however, two places where the meta model is pretty useful.

One is when you’re having a deep conversation with a close friend or partner and you’re talking about heavy emotional issues.

You can use the meta model to find out EXACTLY what they mean, so you can understand precisely what they’re experiencing.

Even then it can come across as extremely confrontational if you’re not careful.

Another way to use the meta model is when talking about people’s desires.

Especially in an imaginary, “perfect” future.

Once they understand you’re just playing around, and you’re talking about something they want AND you are careful not to judge in any way, it can be pretty powerful.

Get them talking about their ideal vacation. Get them to describe it to you as specifically as possible.

Actually refer to it as if it’s an object out there between the two of you.

This will get them feeling REALLY good.

And they’ll associate that good feeling with you, since they’re talking to you about it.

This is also a pretty good conversation topic if you’re worried about running out of stuff to say.

Because once they realize you’re not judging them in any way, they’ll just keep on talking.

Another cool thing is that after the conversation is over, they’ll remember you for a LONG TIME.

This can make it pretty easy to make friends anywhere you go, and give you pretty powerful conversational skills.

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Beware The Dangers of Safety

Unexpected Chains Of Events

The other day I had one of those nights where things end up much different than you planned. I figured it be a night when you start off thinking you are going to go out, grab a bite to eat, maybe watch a few play of the game on TV at your local sports bar over a beer or two and call it a night. Sometimes, despite not having any plans on a Saturday, it still feels good to hit the sack early on Friday.

But, thirteen hours after my night had started, things didn’t look like they were going to slow up any bit. In fact, they seemed like they were just getting started.

I used to work with this guy that kept a religious schedule when it came to sleeping. He would wake up early during the weekday, and he was a subscriber to the idea of never sleeping in, even one minute later than normal, on the weekends. He thought that would completely ruin his sleep pattern, and make it much more difficult to “catch up” if he cheated.

I suppose that makes sense, but all that willpower you can seemingly muster every morning when the alarm goes off just isn’t there on a Saturday. I mean what’s wrong with hitting the snooze a few times?

Keeping a strict, routine, predictable schedule is important to a lot of people. I know folks who have gone to the same restaurant for years and only order on or two things. To them ordering even a different dessert is a stretch. There is plenty of marketing data that clearly indicates, as we get older, they are much less flexible in their thinking. For companies that rely on brand loyalty, that is a good thing.

But for new companies, or companies that are trying to launch a new product that is targeted toward an older market, this can be quite a tough sell. The trick is to make it seem like by choosing the new product, they will be holding fast to their old beliefs and habits.

This isn’t as hard as it seems at first, as it all gets back to your ability to leverage criteria. Many people have a criterion of familiarity. All you need to do is convince them of all the things about this new product that they are already familiar with, and it will make the decision to switch products, or start using a new product that much easier.

There has been a lot of research done that whatever it is that we value in any particular thing is not only largely subjective, but internally generated as well. The actual object, obviously, is not internally generated, but the feelings and ideas and beliefs we have about the object are. Recent studies have shown brain scans which suggest that up to 40% of ALL of our perceptions of the world are internally generated. That is we perceive something with one or more of our senses, and our brains only detect enough of whatever it is to fire off an internal memory of that particular object. Then the internal memory is referenced as much as possible. Just like a huge memory cache, in order to save on neural processing speed.

We take our brains for granted, but twenty percent of our energy goes to keeping our brains active. That’s a lot of energy, so it makes sense to have some kind of built in system to maximize its efficiency.

So if you’d like to convince somebody that something that they’ve never seen before is actually quite familiar to them, you just need to figure out what their criteria are for that particular thing. It’s just matter of developing enough rapport to be able to elicit sufficient information regarding that internal representation, of whatever it is, and then showing them that the new object fits that representation just as well, or even better, than the old one.

When I used to sell cars, I was amazed at how well some of the salespeople would “switch” customers from the car they thought they wanted, to one that was available. And it wasn’t any kind of strong-arm persuasion tactic. I sat in, as a trainee, on some of these conversations between salesperson and customer. It was almost as if the salesperson was simply helping the customer come to the conclusion that the other car (the one they were “switched” to) was actually a much better choice for them. And they always allowed the customer to believe that it was all their decision, and the salesperson was just there to help them fill out the paperwork.

Personally, though, no matter how much I intellectually know that waking up at the same time every day makes much more sense, I still have developed sufficient willpower to go to sleep at the same time on a Friday night, let alone wake up at the same time on Saturday. Maybe I just need to persuade myself that waking up early on Saturday fulfills the same criteria as staying up late on Friday, so I can get some better sleep on the weekends.

But by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, and I realized that I was going on more than twenty four hours without any sleep, the fact we were all at the amusement park with those foreign exchange students let met to pretty much give up on anything turning out normal that weekend. My two drinks and make it an early night had gone down in serious flames, and I had given in to the energy of the moment. And what happened after that was what really made me realize something needed to be done.

But that is for another story.

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Success with NLP

Success with NLP