In the first part of this post, I talked about the ‘lower’ end of the NLP Logical
Levels, the light that this concept throws on the question of confidence, and how
NLP can help. Now I want to move ‘up’ the levels, to more abstract ones.
Remember that the three ‘top’ levels are Beliefs and Values, Identity and
Beliefs are our model of the world and how it works, our model of what sort of
people there are out there and what we can expect from them. All x’s are y. If
you do a to b, it can lead to c (unless you do d). And so on.
These can play a huge role in confidence. Unhelpful beliefs can trap people in
self-dislike. A naturally intellectual person brought up in a sporty family may
acquire prejudices like ‘books are for nerds’ and spend much time battling this.
They may try to be what they are not, hanging out with the jocks but feeling
oddly alienated from themselves but not knowing why.
NLP has a powerful range of tools for changing beliefs. Robert Dilts not only
created the Logical Levels, but a process called the Belief Change Cycle. Google
it and try it yourself, or with a friend, though it is much better learnt in a formal
Values can have a similar self-alienating effect. An exercise I do with clients is to
get them to list their core values in order. This is in itself interesting – I shall post
a blog on the subject soon – but if I ask them to take values out of the list one at a
time, it is not always the one they thought was top that survives to last. I then ask
clients to put one value at a time back into the list. And even then it is not ‘done’.
Come back to it a week later, and see if your views have changed.
This is, I sense, the heart of the matter. Truly confident people have a clear sense
of who they are, the value of what they contribute and what they can expect in
NLP, perhaps, falters here. When someone has identity level issues, I prefer to
work with them using techniques based on TA (transactional analysis). Eric
Berne, founder of TA, believed that our sense of identity came from stories we
create for ourselves, about ourselves, at a very early age. As such, they can be
full of unhelpful ‘magical thinking’. I have developed my own therapeutic
technique to help people rewrite their ‘scripts’. I can’t really share it here, as it is
both complex and so powerful that it has to be done properly, in the right setting
with someone who understands it. I do teach it on my course, however, and will
write a book about it some day. This isn’t just a sales pitch; Identity is powerful
stuff and hard to fix at home by oneself. To claim otherwise would be deceitful.
After the big build-up for Identity, Mission can be something of a
disappointment. It is at the top of the Logical Levels, but I sometimes wonder
whether it should be.
I very much like Steven Covey’s comment that a Mission is something we detect
in ourselves. Going out and seeking a mission is a dangerous thing: we can fall
for the most strident one, not the one that matters most, to us or to the world. My
sense is that such detection is much easier once lower-level issues, above all that
of Identity, have been sorted.
If you want to explore how to increase your confidence I hope this blog and the previous one
have helped. Superficially simple, confidence turns out to be a complex business,
operating at many levels. Work at them all! If I can help, please get in touch.
Confidence is well worth working hard to attain.