With the multitude of specific patterns and general understandings that have been developed in the field of NLP over the past 25 years, it is useful to recall that the root and foundation of it all is in the Meta-model. I have often heard Richard Bandler say that those who really understand the Meta-model are those who use the NLP methods with a high degree of skill and precision.
“Ignorance is bliss” is a statement that is often heard.This statement seems to mean that lack of knowledge is a good thing and implies that knowledge brings suffering. It is a nice example of a quotation being used out of context, and then widely misunderstood.
It is only in the last twenty-five years that people have rediscovered the value of stories. Back in the “age of sputnik”, stories were relegated to the amusement of children and a diversion for old people. Serious people studied science for the facts.
One powerful aspect of NLP is to discover what kind of internal experience is elicited by the use of specific language. This enables us to use language in a very directed way in order to get the results that we want. Often the careful examination of a single word yields great dividends, and the word “but” is certainly one of them.
Years ago, conservative TV talk show host Joe Pyne, who had a wooden leg, had Frank Zappa as a guest. He began by saying, “So I guess your long hair makes you a woman.” Without missing a beat, Frank replied, “So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table,” and Joe Pyne looked stunned.
“That is a very effective way to be depressed, and some people actually do this! In contrast, imagine what your life would be like if every sentence and thought were preceded by the word “happily” or “fortunately.” This would be a much better choice, and again, some people actually do this.
This pattern is very useful in situations in which a person is very certain about how they understand something, this understanding causes them difficulty, and their certainty results in their being not willing to even consider alternative understandings.
There is an old story of a boilermaker who was hired to fix a huge steamship boiler system that was not working well. After listening to the engineer’s description of the problems and asking a few questions, he went to the boiler room.