ruin the whole evening, and perhaps part of next week, too.

Most people don't stop there. How many of you think about unpleasant things that happened long ago? It's as if your brain is saying, "Let's do it again! We've got an hour before lunch, let's think about something that's really depressing. Maybe we can get angry about it three years too late." Have you heard about "unfinished business"? It's finished; you just didn't like the way it came out.

I want you to find out how you can learn to change your own experience, and get some control over what happens in your brain. Most people are prisoners of their own brains. It's as if they are chained to the last seat of the bus and someone else is driving. I want you to learn how to drive your own bus. If you don't give your brain a little direction, either it will just run randomly on its own, or other people will find ways to run it for you—and they may not always have your best interests in mind. Even if they do, they may get it wrong!

NLP is an opportunity to be able to study subjectivity —something that I was told in school is a terrible thing. I was told that true science looks at things objectively. However, I noticed that I seemed to be most influenced by my subjective experience, and I wanted to know something about how it worked, and how it affected other people. I'm going to play some mind-games with you in this seminar, because the brain is my favorite toy.

How many of you would like to have a "photographic memory"? And how many of you vividly remember past unpleasant experiences, over and over again? It certainly adds a little juice to life. If you go to see a terrifying movie, and you go home and sit down, the act of sitting down will tend to put you right back into the theater seat. How many of you have had that experience? And you claim that you don't have a photographic memory! You've already got one; you're just not using it in a directed way. If you're able to have a photographic memory when it comes to remembering past unpleasantness, it seems like it would be nice if you could deliberately harness some of that ability for more useful experiences.

How many of you have ever thought about something that hadn't even happened yet, and felt bad about it ahead of time? Why wait? You may as well start feeling bad now, right? And then it didn't actually happen, after all. But you didn't miss out on that experience, did you?

That ability can also work the other way. Some of you have better vacations before you actually go, and then you get to be disappointed when you arrive. Disappointment requires adequate planning. Did you ever think about how much trouble you have to go to in order to be disappointed? You really have to plan thoroughly for it. The more planning, the more disappointment. Some people go to the movies and then say, "It's just not as good as I thought it was going to be." This makes me wonder, if they had such a good movie inside their heads, why did they go to the theater? Why go sit in a room with sticky floors and uncomfortable seats to watch a movie, and then say, "I can do better than that in my head, and I didn't even have the screen play."

This is the kind of thing that happens if you let your brain run wild. People spend more time learning how to use a food processor than they do learning how to use their brains. There isn't much emphasis placed on deliberately using your mind in ways other than you already do. 'You're supposed to "be your-self—as if you had an alternative. You're stuck with it, believe me. I suppose they could wipe out all your memories with elec-troshock, and then make you into someone else, but the results I've seen haven't been very enticing. Until we find something like a mind-blanking machine, I think you're probably stuck with you. And it's not so bad, because you can learn to use your brain in more functional ways. That's what NLP is all about.

When I first started teaching, some people got the idea that NLP would help people program other people's minds to control them and make them less human. They seemed to have the idea that deliberately changing a person would somehow reduce that person's humanity. Most people are quite willing to change themselves deliberately with antibiotics and cosmetics, but behavior seems different. I've never understood how changing someone and making them happier turns them into less of a human being. But I have noticed how many people arc very good at making their husbands or wives or children—or even total strangers—feel bad, just by "being themselves." I sometimes ask people, "Why be your real self when you can be something really worthwhile?" I want to introduce you to some of the infinite possibilities for learning and changing that are available to you if you start using your brain deliberately.

There was a time when film producers made movies in which computers were going to take over. People started thinking of computers not as tools, but as things that replaced people. But if you have seen home computers, you know that they have programs for things like balancing your checkbook! Balancing your checkbook on a home computer takes about six times as long as doing it the usual way. Not only do you have to write them in the checkbook, then you have to go home and type them into the computer. That's what turns home computers into planters —the things that you put flowers in. You play a certain number of games when it's a new toy, and after a while you stick it away in the closet. When friends come over whom you haven't seen for a long time, you pull it out so they can play the games you're bored with. That is not really what a computer is about. But the trivial ways people have used computers are much like the trivial ways in which people have used their own minds.

1 keep hearing people say that you stop learning when you're about five, but I have no evidence that this is true. Stop and think about it. Between the ages of five and now, how many absolutely futile things have you learned, let alone worthwhile ones? Human beings have an amazing ability to learn. I am convinced, and I'm going to convince you—one way or the other—that you're still a learning machine. The good side of this is that you can learn things exquisitely and rapidly. The bad side is that you can learn garbage just as easily as you can learn useful things.

How many of you are haunted by thoughts? You say to yourself, "I wish I could get it out of my head." But isn't it amazing that you got it in there in the first place! Brains are really phenomenal. The things they'll get you to do are absolutely amazing. The problem with brains is not that they can't learn, as we have been told all too often. The problem with brains is that they learn things too quickly and too well. For example, think of a phobia. It's an amazing thing to be able to remember to get terrified every time you see a spider. You never find a phobic looking at a spider and saying, "Oh damn, I forgot to be afraid." Are there a few things you'd like to learn that thoroughly? When : you think about it that way, having a phobia is a tremendous learning achievement. And if you go into the person's history, you often find that it was one-trial learning: it took only one instantaneous experience for that person to learn something so thoroughly that she'll remember it for the rest of her life.

How many of you have read about Pavlov and his dogs and the bell, and all that stuff? . . . and how many of you are salivating right now? They had to put the dog in a harness and ring the bell and give it food over and over again to teach it that response. All you did was read about it, and you have the same response the dog had. It's no big thing, but it is an indication of how rapidly your brain can learn. You can learn faster than any computer. What we need to know more about is the subjective experience of learning, so that you can direct your learning and have more control over your own experience and what you learn.

Are you familiar with the "our song" phenomenon? During a period of time when you were with someone very special, you had a favorite song you listened to a lot. Now whenever you hear that song, you think of that person and feel those good feelings again. It works just like Pavlov and salivation. Most people have no idea how easy it is to link experiences in that way, or how quickly you can make it happen if you do it systematically.

I once saw a therapist create an agoraphobic in one session. This therapist was a nice, well-intentioned man who liked his patients. He had years of clinical training, but he had no idea what he was doing. His client came in with a specific phobia of heights. The therapist told this guy to close his eyes and think about heights, Urrp—the guy flushes and starts to tremble. "Now think of something that would reassure you." Ummn. Now think about heights. Urrp. "Now think about comfortably driving your car." Ummn. "Now think about heights." Urrp. . . . This guy ended up having phobic feelings about nearly everything in his life—what's often called agoraphobia. What the therapist did was brilliant, in a way. He changed his client's feelings by linking experiences. His choice of a feeling to generalize is not my idea of the best choice, however. He linked this man's feelings of panic to all the contexts that used to be reassuring in his life. You can use exactly the same process to take a good feeling and generalize it in the same way If that therapist had understood the process he was using, he could have turned it around.

I've seen the same thing happen in couple therapy. The wife starts complaining about something the husband did, and the therapist says, "Look at your husband while you say that. You've got to have eye contact." That will connect all those bad feelings to the sight of her husband's face, so that every time she looks at him, she'll have those bad feelings.

Virginia Satir uses the same process in family therapy, but she turns it around. She asks a couple about special times in their early courting days, and when they start glowing, then she has them look at each other. She might say something like, "And I want you to realize that this is the same person you fell so deeply in love with ten years ago." That connects an entirely different feeling—generally a much more useful one—to the spouse's face.

One couple that came to see me had been in therapy with someone else for some time, but they still fought. They used to fight all the time at home, but when they came to me, they only fought in the therapist's office. The therapist probably said something like, "Now I want you to save all your fights for our sessions together so I can observe how you do it."

I wanted to find out if fighting was linked to the therapist or his office, so I had them experiment. I found out that if they went to the therapist's office when he wasn't there, they didn't argue, but if he held a session at their home, they did argue. So I just told them not to see that therapist any more. It was a simple solution that saved them a lot of money and trouble.

One client of mine couldn't get angry, because he would immediately get extremely scared. You could say he had a phobia of being angry. It turned out that when he was a child, any time he got mad, his parents got furious and scared him into the middle of next week, so those two feelings got linked together. He was own and hadn't lived with his parents for fifteen years, but he still responded that way.

I came to the world of personal change from the world of mathematics and information science. Computer people typically don't want the things in their field to have anything to do with people. They refer to that as "getting your hands dirty." They like to work with shiny computers and wear white lab jackets. But I found out that there is no better representation of the way in which my mind works—especially in terms of limitations—than a computer. Trying to get a computer to do something—no matter how simple—is much like trying to get a person to do something.

Most of you have seen computer games. Even the simplest ones are quite difficult to program, because you have to use the very limited mechanisms the machine has for communication. When you instruct it to do something that it can do, your instruction has to be precisely organized in such a way that the information can be processed so that the computer can perform the task. Brains, like computers, are not "user-friendly." They do exactly what they're told to do, not what you want them to do. Then you get mad at them because they don't do what you meant to tell them to do!

One programming task is called modeling, which is what I do. The task of modeling is to get a computer to do something that a human can do. How do you get a machine to evaluate something, do a math problem, or turn a light on or off at the right time? Human beings can turn a light on and off, or do a math problem. Some do it well, others do it well sometimes, and some don't do it well at all. A modeler attempts to take the best representation for the way a person does a task, and make it available in a machine. I don't care if that representation really is how people do the task. Modelers don't have to have truth. All we have to have is something that works. We are the people who make cookbooks. We don't want to know why it is a chocolate cake, we want to know what to put in it to make it come out right. Knowing one recipe doesn't mean there aren't lots of other ways to do it. We want to know how to get from the ingredients to chocolate cake in a step-by-step fashion. We also want to know now to take chocolate cake and work backwards to the ingredients when someone doesn't want us to have the recipe.

Breaking down information in this way is the task of an information scientist. The most interesting information that you can learn about is the subjectivity of another human being. If somebody can do something, we want to model that behavior and our models are of subjective experience. "What does she do inside her head that I can learn to do?" I can't instantly have her years of experience and the fine tuning which that produces, but I can very rapidly get some great information about the structure of what she does.

When I first started modeling, it seemed logical to find out what psychology had already learned about how people think, But when I looked into psychology, I discovered that the field consisted primarily of a huge number of descriptions about how people were broken. There were a few vague descriptions of what it meant to be a "whole person," or "actualized," or "integrated," but mostly there were descriptions about the various ways in which people were broken.

The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual HI used by psychiatrists and psychologists has over 450 pages of descriptions of how people can be broken, but not a single page describing health. Schizophrenia is a very prestigious way to be broken; catatonia is a very quiet way. Although hysterical paralysis was very popular during World War I, it's out of style now; you only find it occasionally in very poorly-educated immigrants who are out of touch with the times. You're lucky if you can find one now. I've only seen five in the past seven years, and two of them I made myself, using hypnosis. "Borderline" is a very popular way to be broken right now. That means you're not quite nuts, but not quite normal, either—as if anyone isn't! Back in the fifties, after The Three Faces ofEve, multiple personalities always had three. But since Sybil., who had seventeen personalities, we're seeing more multiples, and they all have more than three.

If you think I'm being hard on psychologists, just wait. You see, we people in the field of computer programming are so crazy that we can pick on anyone. Anybody who will sit in front of a computer for twenty-four hours a day, trying to reduce experience down to zeros and ones, is so far outside the world of normal an experience that I can say someone is crazy and still be

Long ago I decided that since I couldn't find anyone who was as crazy as I was, people must not really be broken. What I've noticed since then is that people work perfectly. I may not like what they do, or they may not like it, but they are able to do it again and again, systematically. It's not that they're broken; they're just doing something different from what we, or they, want to have happen.

If you make really vivid images in your mind—especially if you can make them externally—you can learn how to be a civil engineer or a psychotic. One pays better than the other, but it's not as much fun. What people do has a structure, and if you can find out about that structure, you can figure out how to change it. You can also think of contexts where that structure would be a perfect one to have. Think of procrastination. What if you used that skill to put off feeling bad when someone insults you? "Oh, I know I ought to feel bad now, but I'll do it later." What if you delayed eating chocolate cake and ice cream forever—you just never quite got around to it.

However, most people don't think that way. The underlying basis of most psychology is "What's wrong?" After a psychologist has a name for what's wrong, then he wants to know when you broke and what broke you. Then he thinks he knows why you broke.

If you assume that someone is broken, then the next task is to figure out whether or not he can be fixed. Psychologists have never been very interested in how you broke, or how you continue to maintain the state ofbeing broken.

Another difficulty with most psychology is that it studies broken people to find out how to fix them. That's like studying all the cars in a junkyard to figure out how to make cars run better. If you study lots of schizophrenics, you may learn how to do schizophrenia really well, but you won't learn about the things they can't do.

When I taught the staff of a mental hospital, I suggested that they study their schizophrenics only long enough to find out what they couldn't do. Then they should study normal people to find out how they do the same things, so they could teach that to the schizophrenics.

For example, one woman had the following problem: If she made up something in her mind, a few minutes later she couldn't distinguish that from a memory of something that had actually happened. When she saw a picture in her mind, she had no way of telling if it was something she had actually seen, or if it was something she had imagined. That confused her, and scared her worse than any horror movie. I suggested to her that when she made up pictures, she put a black border around them, so that when she remembered them later they'd be different from the others. She tried it, and it worked fine—except for the pictures she had made before I told her to do that. However, it was a good start. As soon as I told her exactly what to do, she could do it perfectly. Yet her file was about six inches thick with twelve years of psychologists' analyses and descriptions of how she was broken. They were looking for the "deep hidden inner meaning." They had taken too many poetry and literature classes. Change is a lot easier than that, if you know what to do.

Most psychologists think it's hard to communicate with crazy people. That's partly true, but it's also partly a result of what they do with crazy people. If someone is acting a little strange, he is taken off the streets, pumped full of tranquilizers and put in a locked barracks with thirty others. They observe him for 72 hours and say, "Gosh, he's acting weird." The rest of us wouldn't act weird, I suppose.

How many of you have read the article "Sane People in Insane Places"? A sociologist had some healthy, happy, graduate students admit themselves to mental hospitals as an experiment. They were all diagnosed as having severe problems. Most of them had a lot of trouble getting out again, because the staff thought their wanting to get out was a demonstration of their illness. Talk about a "Catch-22"! The patients recognized that these students weren't crazy, but the staff didn't.

Some years ago when I was looking around at different change methods, most people considered psychologists and psychiatrists to be experts on personal change. I thought many of them were much better demonstrations of psychosis and neurosis.

Have you ever seen an id? How about an infantile libidinal reaction-formation? Anybody who can talk like that has no business calling other people nuts.

Many psychologists think catatonics are really tough, because can't get them to communicate with you. They just sit in the same position without even moving until someone moves them. It's actually very easy to get a catatonic to communicate with you. All you have to do is hit him on the hand with a hammer. When you lift the hammer to hit him again, he'll pull his hand away and say, "Don't do that to me!" That doesn't mean he's "cured," but he's now in a state where you can communicate with him. That's a start.

At one time I asked local psychiatrists to send me the weird clients they were having difficulties with. I found out that really weird clients are easier to work with, in the long run. I think it's easier to work with a flaming schizophrenic than it is to get a "normal" person to stop smoking when he doesn't want to. Psychotics seem to be unpredictable, and seem to flip in and out of their craziness unexpectedly. However, like anything else that people do, psychosis has a systematic structure. Even a schizophrenic doesn't wake up one day as a manic-depressive. If you learn how that structure works, you can flip him in and out. If you learn it well enough, you can even do it yourself. If you ever want to get a room in a full hotel, there's no better way than by having a psychotic episode. But you better be able to get back out of the episode again, or the room you get will be padded.

I've always thought that John Rosen's approach to psychosis was the most useful: enter the psychotic's reality and then spoil it for him. There are a lot of ways you can do this, and some of them aren't obvious. For instance, I had one guy who heard a voice coming out of electrical outlets, and the voice forced him to do things. I figured if I made his hallucinations real, he wouldn't be schizophrenic any more. So I hid a speaker in an outlet in my waiting room. When he came into the room, the outlet said "Hello.". The guy turned around and looked at it and said, "You don't sound the same."

"I'm a new voice. Did you think there was only one?"

Where did you come from?"

"Mind your own business."

That got him going, Since he had to obey the voice, I used that new voice to give him the instructions he needed to chance what he was doing. Most people get a handle on reality and respond to it. When I get a handle on reality, I twist it! I don't believe that people are broken. They have just learned to do whatever they do. A lot of what people have learned to do is pretty amazing, and frankly I see more of that outside of mental hospitals than inside.

Most people's experience is not about reality, it's about shared reality. There are people who come to my door and give me religious comic books, and tell me the world is going to end in two weeks. They talk to angels, and they talk to God, but they're not considered crazy. But if a single person is caught talking to an angel, he is called crazy, taken to a mental hospital and stuffed full of drugs. When you make up a new reality, you'd better be sure that you get some friends to share it, or you may be in big trouble. That's one reason I teach NLP. I want to have at least a few others who share this reality, so the men in white coats don't take me away.

Physicists also have a shared reality. Other than that, there really isn't a lot of difference between being a physicist and being a schizophrenic. Physicists also talk about things you can't see. How many of you have seen an atom, let alone a sub-atomic particle? There is a difference: physicists are usually a little more tentative about their hallucinations, which they call "models" or "theories." When one of their hallucinations is challenged by new data, physicists are a tiny bit more willing to give up their old ideas.

Most of you learned a model of the atom that said there is a nucleus made up of protons and neutrons, with electrons flying around the outside like little planets. Niels Bohr got the Nobel prize for that description back in the 1920's. Over a period of about 50 years that model was the basis for an immense number of discoveries and inventions, such as the plastic in those nauga-hyde chairs you're sitting on.

Fairly recently, physicists decided that Bohr's description of the atom is wrong. I wondered if they were going to take back his Nobel prize, but then I found out Bohr is dead, and he already spent the money. The really amazing thing is that all the discoveries that were made by using a "wrong" model are still here. The Naugahyde chairs didn't disappear when physicists changed their minds. Physics is usually presented as a very "objective" science, but I notice that physics changes and the world stays the same, so there must be something subjective about physics.

Einstein was one of my childhood heroes. He reduced physics to what psychologists call "guided fantasy," but which Einstein referred to as a "thought experiment." He visualized what it would be like to ride on the end of a beam of light. And people say that he was academic and objective! One of the results of this particular thought experiment was his famous theory of relativity.

NLP differs only in that we deliberately make up lies, in order to try to understand the subjective experience of a human being. When you study subjectivity, there's no use trying to be objective. So let's get down to some subjective experience. . . .

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