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To succeed at the highest level you need to learn how to challenge your assumptions. NLP Coaching and Hypnotherapy, Gold Coast... Phone 07 5562 5718 or send an email to book a free 20 minute telephone, Skype or Zoom session. NLP, Hypnotherapy and Medtation, Gold Coast, Robina.
By Abby Eagle (2020)
Click the Image to Watch on YouTube
In this article we are going to look at how assumptions control and direct your life and your outcomes. To begin with did you know that your senses are impacted with millions of bits of information per second and to make sense of this data – using the three universal modelling processes – your brain distorts, generalises and deletes the data until you get down to a manageable chunk – somewhere in the vicinity of seven plus or minus two bits of information.
So there is a mass of information impacting your senses. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory information. It is impossible to deal with all that information consciously – you can only focus in on one thing at a time. So that means there needs to be a process that operates at the level of the unconscious mind that filters the information so that you can make meaningful decisions and move through the world with a sense of purpose and direction.
This means that you are constantly making assumptions – the assumptions don’t have to be true all of the time – just true often enough so that you can move through the world and stay alive. Let’s take a quick look at some different types of assumptions.
You walk up to your car and press the button on the car key, assuming that the key is working and that the car will unlock. Every year or so you will find that the key does not work because the battery has gone flat so you cannot assume with 100% certainty that the key will work. There are literally hundreds of examples like this where you assume that when you turn on a tap that water should pour out; or you flick on a light switch and the lights should come on; or you go to the fridge expecting food to be there; or you go to the shops to find that they are closed.
On the roads we assume that other drivers not only know the road rules but will follow them. Most of the time we can rely upon our assumptions to a degree but from trial and error we learn that it could be a good idea to periodically check the oil and water, the tyre pressure and fuel gauge before we go for a drive. And when on the road to constantly check your speed – you can’t just assume that you are driving below the speed limit. And when you book your car in for a service you probably don’t double check the mechanic – most of us would probably assume that the mechanic is doing what needs to be done. Okay now let’s take a look at the assumptions that we use in the mental world.
At schools and universities the students probably assume that they are being taught the truth by teachers who assume they are teaching the correct side of history.
Take any history book. How do you know if the information in that book is true or not? Do you bother to challenge it or do you just assume it must be true because it has been published in a book? And if a hundred people reference the same information does that make it even more true?
Let’s say you watch a video documentary. How do you know if the information presented in the documentary is true or not? How do you know if it is giving you a complete picture or not? How do you know if it has been edited in such a way as to delete or distort information or not? Do you just assume that the video documentary is giving you all the relevant information?
And then we take a look at the Hollywood film industry – or should I say, “the Hollywood propaganda machine”? Where films are produced with the intent to present millions of viewers with the film makers view of reality and shape public opinion. Let’s use the first and second world wars as an example. What do you know about the first and second world wars? Where did you get that information? Did you get it at school and university? Did you get the information by searching the library, government archives and the Internet? Or were you fed that information via Hollywood and snippets of information on social media and main stream media?
What I would like you to consider is that you are constantly making assumptions. The question is, who do those assumptions serve? You or others? And at the end of the day would you be more comfortable in knowing that you hid from the truth – or in knowing that you at least made an attempt to explore the rabbit hole, so to speak. (See the NLP Peace Mapping Model)
So how to find the truth? First off you need to realise that we all make assumptions – just about every second of the day you make an assumption. That is step 1.
Step 2 is learn to doubt. There are times when you need to believe – and then there are times when you need to trust but then there are also times when you need to doubt and think to yourself, “maybe I am wrong or maybe they are wrong”, and then to get curious, real curious and challenge the assumptions with intelligent, useful and functional questions. By that I mean questions that gather new information – not information that matches and supports your bias.
In brief, distortion is the process which allows you to construct, manufacture, create and manipulate sensory data. Distortion is the process of bringing in information through your senses and then playing with that information in your mind to create new concepts, ideas and understandings. Different ways of thinking about the world, philosophizing, being creative, writing fiction and producing films all rely upon the ability to distort so called reality.
Did I just say that film making is a process that distorts reality? Hmm think about that? All those films and news programs that the mainstream media pumps out every day. Do you mean to suggest that they are distortions of reality – even the news? Absolutely.
The NLP Meta Model also teaches you to challenge generalisations. Generalisation is the process by which you take an element of your model of the world and use it to represent an entire category of experience. Most people I assume would at least have heard of the term, generalisation. An interesting thing about generalisations is that some people assume the speaker is making a generalisation when in fact they could just be making a descriptive statement about an observation. But more about that topic in another video.
And the third category is that of deletions. Deletion is the process of selective attention. Clearly we can not pay attention to all the information in the world so we have to make a decision to delete information but what are the criteria that you use to select and delete information? This is where the NLP Meta Programs come in useful. Are you looking for sameness or difference? That is are you looking for something that matches your understanding or mismatches? Do you sort information based upon the source? So are you more likely to agree with information from your favourite media outlet or from a preferred authority figure or from a valued friend?
To summarise we use the three universal modelling processes to distort information, form generalisations and delete information.
In the original version of the NLP Meta Model there are ten distinctions. The acrostic is MLCCP UM NUS
1. Mind Reading 2. Lost Performative 3. Cause and Effect 4. Complex Equivalence 5. Presuppositions
6. Universal Quantifiers 7. Modal Operators
8. Nominalisations 9. Unspecified Verbs 10. Simple Deletions
The NLP Meta Model was designed to challenge language patterns – but it also gives you a broad framework to challenge everything that you see, hear, feel, smell and taste.
So let’s say you watch a video documentary on the Internet – keeping in mind distortions, generalisations and deletions – and you get real curious. First off, how do you know that the footage is actually what they say it is? Mainstream media are notorious for using stock footage from a film library to illustrate their news stories. So a good question to keep in mind is, “Is this true? Is this real? What is the source of the video footage?”
You see a big part of film making is the ability to cut and paste small segments of video and audio footage into a timeline sequence to present a compelling story. So when you watch a news item you have to ask yourself, “In what way have they distorted reality? In what way is this a cut and paste?” When you watch a video you have to stay alert for each time the scene cuts to another scene. If you are concentrating on the content then it could be a real challenge to see the edits. So keep in mind that film making involves a serious amount of distortions and deletions.
For example I have seen documented evidence where the main stream media take a film crew into the street to film a group of people. The directors treat the people to be filmed as-if they are actors. They position the people against the background – have them dress in a certain way – apply makeup, and so on. The crew set up their cameras and lights. They coach the people on what to say and do – and then they film the event and present it on the evening news as-if it was an actual real world spontaneous event.
In another example the MSM showed a close up of a gun slung over a man’s back at a protest. The commentator claimed that it was a white man but the actual raw footage which was shown elsewhere showed that it was a black man. What does this tell you? It should tell you that you can’t trust what you see and hear on MSM and the Internet. You have to ask questions to get to the truth. Questions like, “What is missing? What are they not showing me? What would the bigger picture show me? If there was footage from a different angle then what would that show? Who is behind the camera? And who is standing behind the camera operator?” If the footage looks really slick then it probably is fabricated to some degree. Learn to look at the camera shots and ask yourself, how did they film that?
The first thing I suggest is that you get the context – expand the picture – and then expand it even further. I saw a meme on Facebook which demonstrated this well. It starts with a picture of a man sitting on a window ledge. The camera angle is from below and it looks like he is thinking about jumping from the window. That is an assumption that we make – and then in the next image you see a wide angle shot from a more level angle. And what do you see? A man sitting on a window ledge with his feet on the ground facing into a garden.
There are numerous examples in the Media where the editor crops the image to show you an image which fits their narrative. Since we can not trust any source of information then the onus is on you and me to have the flexibility to focus in on the detail and probably more importantly to step back to get the bigger picture.
In addition to stepping back to find what else is in the image you should also practise stepping back to get an even bigger picture in which you discover who the actual Media are. Who funds them? Their political agenda and so on because this is also part of the story.
So you see this pattern over and over again – where someone takes a snippet – a close up image or a sound byte – and then they build a narrative around it – their narrative and they distort the truth. So in addition to using the NLP Meta Model to get to the truth some other questions you could keep in mind are: - Is this true? - What is the bigger picture? - What is the context? - Where can I get the original footage? - Who is behind this?
Deletion is a big one. There is always going to be some missing information. For example, in mid 2020 there was the case of a cop leaning on a man’s neck. That was the only video footage that was shown. From that footage people made assumptions – there were mass riots around the world which resulted in about half a billion in property damage and about 32 deaths. And then a couple of weeks after the event the Police released the body camera footage from the Police officers involved which provided the context and showed a totally different story.
So when you see some video footage of an event you also have to get curious about what you are not being shown. Real curious. Have you seen footage of what happened after the event? Have you seen footage of what happened prior to what they showed you? Is there footage from a different angle? Do you have information about the history of all the people shown in the video – and all the relevant people not shown in the video?
So you will find in any news item that there is going to be massive amounts of information being deleted for one reason or another. The challenge for the film maker is to do their best to not to distort information, to not make generalisations and to not delete information. Knowing that this will probably happen then the onus is on you, the viewer, to not assume that you have been presented with the truth – but to search for missing information.
To finish off this article I would like you to take a moment and just imagine what the world would be like if more people learned to systematically challenge their personal assumptions and the assumptions presented by others? Imagine if the focus was on discovering the truth rather than proving a narrative and gaining power and control?
I hope this article helps in some way. Together we may be able to bring about some small positive change in the world – and if you have not done so then please comment below and join us over at the Facebook NLP & Hypnotherapy Group.