NLP Change Work That Sticks
The Circle of Excellence is a semi-popular NLP procedure that can be very beneficial if done correctly. As mentioned here, most NLP procedures are, unfortunately, not done correctly. They are often taught as “once and done,” quick fixes that work in the seminar room, but out in the harsh world of everyday life, they lose their power. This is easy to see why.
The Scary Redhead
Imagine that the first person you fell in love with was a redhead. And they broke your heart rather painfully and publicly. So now you have an aversion to redheads, not unlike how some people are scared of clowns. You don’t like being afraid of redheads, so you go visit your local NLP practitioner.
The Redhead Cure Process
Any process you do to rid yourself of your redhead anxiety will be done in the office of the NLP practitioner. And this will involve you imagining being in the presence of a redhead. The procedures usually go something like this. You imagine being in the presence of a redhead and you measure your level of anxiety. Then over a few sessions you go over the magic NLP procedure to rid yourself of your redhead fear. After the sessions, you can imagine being in the presence of a redhead with much less anxiety.
The NLP practitioner now pronounces you as cured, and you fork over a few hundred dollars. Then a couple weeks later, you are happily skipping down the street, happy as can be, until you run into a redhead who looks you dead in the eye and your fear suddenly reappears.
Unless the practitioner happens to be of world class skill (on the order of Dr. Milton Erickson) what they really did was rid you of the anxiety that comes when you imagine a redhead. This is much different than an actual redhead. It’s very possible to use many procedures to really remove the fear of redheads, but it takes a lot of personal effort, not just passively listening to the practitioner guide you through a few interesting visualizations.
The memory of a redhead will necessarily not contain nearly the same amount of variables and “realness.” If memories were as powerful as the real thing, nobody would ever need to leave their house. So unless the NLP practitioner happened to have an attractive redheaded assistant, any work would be done on the very less compelling imagination, not the real thing.
The Circle Of Excellence
This is an equally powerful exercise, but only if you practice it regularly. That’s what this post will be about. How to create your own custom circle of excellence and how to bring it with you in your everyday life for as much benefit as you can get.
What Is The Circle Of Excellence
On a basic level (there are a few different versions) you stand in a metaphorical circle. Around the outside of the circle are many resources. Things like confidence, resilience, determination, intelligence, etc. Once you’ve identified the various resources you’d like, you create an imaginary representation of these resources. Once you’ve created an imaginary representation for these, you stand in the center of the circle and slowly bring each resource into your being, and allow them to transform you.
For example, let’s say you chose confidence, intelligence, articulation and personal magnetism. For confidence you chose your favorite athlete. For intelligence, you imagined ball of intelligence energy which contained all the knowledge of the known universe. For articulation, you maybe imagined Marcus Aurelius, considered one of the greatest orators for all time. For personal magnetism, you might imagine Johnny Depp’s character from the movie, “Don Juan DeMarco.”
You stand in the middle of the circle, you face each resource and slowly bring it into you as you carefully and consciously breathe in and out. If you take enough time, focus, and energy, you’ll feel an increase in all four resources you’ve chosen.
What’s Really Happening
How does something like this actually add to your confidence and intelligence and all that other good stuff? For things like confidence and personal magnetism, consider these are behavioral, and based on how you perceive yourself. As such, when you imagine having characters come into your being, it’s easier to allow those innate personality traits to come out.
In this regard, it’s a much more believable and easy way to “fake it until you make it.” Being confident can be a matter of internal choice. How we perceive ourselves is very much flexible, and a shift in self perception can easily lead to sudden increases in confidence and magnetism.
What About Skills?
Articulation and intelligence can be thought of more as skills. Even so, imaging being merged with your vision of Marcus Aurelius may make it much easier to develop the skills of articulation and oration. Imagining that you are merging with a ball of energy that represents all of the information in the universe will give you a lot of confidence to learn as much as you can. Just imagining that the information is inside of you waiting to come out, (rather than in some book that you need to put in your mind) will make it a lot easier to study.
Imagination Is Only Practice
But also consider that if you imagine that ball of information going into you, it will be easy to forget that it’s inside of you when you are presented with a textbook full of information that doesn’t make any sense. The longer you try to make sense of it (or remember it effectively) the weaker the memory will become of “having all of information of the energy within you.”
Instead of treating this exercise as a one-off event, we will be doing a much more thorough approach. We will be creating four (or less if you prefer) resources that you can carry around with you at all times. Resources you can refer to. And if you are adventurous and creative enough, resources you can communicate with, and can actually help you in real ways.
Keep in mind this is only an imaginary exercise. A useful hallucination. We are not going to summon entities from beyond the veil of reality. But consider how powerful useful hallucinations can be. Any time a group of people get together to plan anything, they are sharing a common hallucination. Even something as mundane as a parking structure is a shared hallucination before it’s a real thing.
Science And Mathematics
All of the discoveries of science and mathematics arose from the minds of scientists who used their hallucinations in creative and useful ways. Einstein came up with the theory of general relativity while imagining (purposeful and directed hallucination) what it might be like to fall off a window cleaning ladder.
All of mathematics is effectively a very specific hallucination, that has been passed on from generation to generation ever since Pythagoras started imagining triangles. Even something as common as Pi, is really a hallucination. As it exits mathematically, Pi goes on forever without repeating. But NASA only needs about 15 digits past the decimal place to keep all of their equipment functioning.
In the real world, Pi is only ever an approximation. Sometimes that approximation goes might go out to a couple dozen decimal places, but beyond that Pi is a mathematical hallucination that cannot exist in the real world.
Don’t Be Scared Of Purposeful Hallucinations
So when we start talking about creating historical or composite figures that you’ll be having imaginary conversations with, don’t worry. You certainly don’t need to tell anybody, and you’ll find with practice this idea can be very helpful in very many situations.
Step One – Identify Desired Resources
Generally this exercise is done with four resources, but that’s mainly because it’s done as a once off event. You stand in the center of the circle and imagine each one in each direction, North, South, East and West. This allows for a lot of metaphorical overlap. For example, you can imagine being surrounded by four kingdoms, and each king is visiting you to bestow you with their powers.
But since we’ll be doing this a lot more creatively, and over a much longer time period, you can choose as many or as few resources as you like. It’s recommended you start with only one or two. As you get the hang of this you can add more as you wish. If you keep this up, you will eventually have your own army of hallucinated supporters, filled with specialists of all kinds. The only limit is your creative imagination.
For the first or two resources, choose something basic like social confidence, or exercise motivation or anything else that you’d like to have. We’ll use those two (social confidence and exercise motivation) for our examples.
Step Two – Identify Role Models
These can be historical figures, fictional characters, or real people. Real people that you can watch on YouTube are ideal, as they will be more easy to imagine. The more real you can make them, the better. If you chose Bugs Bunny, for example, he would be limited in the advice he could give you in various situations. For our example, we will be choosing Don Draper for social confidence, and Michael Jordan for exercise motivation.
Step Three – Create Personal Visualizations of Role Models
Take some time and with the examples listed above, or ones you’ve chosen yourself, take some time to get familiar with them. Imagine them with you in as personal situation as you can. Pretend they know they are your own private hallucination, they know they are being hallucinated by you and exist solely to support you. You can imagine this any way you can. Imagine they are glad for getting a chance to exist in this way. That the are really tired of being used purely for entertainment. (And have to keep repeating the same scenes over and over). That they are excited to help you achieve whatever you’d like to achieve.
Step Four – Create A Merging Ceremony
This is the part where you stand in your circle, and imagine them on the outside. You can do this however you like. You have them both (or all of them) merge with your being, or one at a time. Or you can simply keep them on the outside of your personal circle, knowing they will be there when you need them.
Step Five – Practice Making Them Real
Find your favorite Don Draper scenes on YouTube and watch them a few times to get a sense of how Draper speaks. Imagine him speaking directly to you with the same confidence and magnetism. Go out in public, find a place to people watch and imagine that he is giving you advice. If you are about to go into a situation where you would like more social confidence, imagine him giving you a pep talk in your car before you go.
Once you’ve gone through those five steps a few times with each of your role models, you can try different things. The following are suggestions. Try them, or come up with even better techniques on your own. Remember, nobody needs to know you are doing this except for you. All of this is just a very creative technique in developing the skills you want.
Let Them Possess You
Let’s say you need to work out, you know you should work out, but you don’t have the energy. Use your exercise motivation role model to help you. Imagine you’ve given your role model the power to possess your body partially and use it to exercise. Imagine they can’t exercise where they live (in pretend-character land) but they can if they possess your body.
Are You Going To Do This Or Do You Want Me To?
Imagine you and Don Draper are hanging out at the club. You see a cute girl across the room. Don Draper is watching you and notices you are being a little shy. So he asks you if you want him to posses your body, walk over there and seduce her for you. Imagine that he really wants to, and that he’ll actually enjoy using your body to have sex with her. (Just don’t tell her!)
You can even use Don Draper (or whoever you’ve chosen) to help you give speeches, argue with your boss, or even demand a raise.
Imagine Having Conversations
You can expand there use to you by having imaginary conversations with them and see where they lead. Remember, these are all hallucinations, but they are very useful hallucinations. This is simply another way of seeing the same problem from another angle. You’ll be surprised the insights you’ll find (that are in your brain anyway) once you learn to imagine being another character and thinking like another character.
Always Look For More Opportunities
A great way to find more resource characters is to go over any situations where you didn’t perform as well as you had. Any time where you needed to do something, something that was either planned or something that came up unexpectedly, but you thought you fell short. Take some time at the end of the day, and let your imagination come up with a role model that would have done the job perfectly. Then take the time to make them real, go through the five steps, and work them into your daily routine.
Prayer And Napoleon Hill
Just in case you think this is a bit too “out there” to try, consider the common idea of prayer. Many religious leaders will tell you that prayer isn’t done to change the mind of God (who according to believers knows everything anyway, including what you are about to pray about) but to change the mind of the person praying. Consider that this is just another angle on the same strategy.
Plenty of cultures practice a form of “ancestor worship” and many people, religious or not, carry on conversations with deceased loved ones. Napoleon Hill also created his own imaginary mastermind group consisting of Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. The four of them would have regular meetings once a week that would last for thirty minutes or more.
The bottom line is your life, your behavior, your mind and all the thoughts that exist in your mind are yours to do with as you wish. If you only do the same things everybody else does, you’ll get the same things everybody else does. If you want to create an extraordinary life, you’ve got to do extraordinary things. Consider that creating a whole team of imaginary supporters one of those extraordinary things (that you don’t need to tell anybody about) that will help you achieve extraordinary results.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses on self development designed to help you squeeze the most out of your life.