S3

Hold on. You're not allowed to tell me the content of what you're thinking about. You only need content if you are nosy. I'm a mathematician; I'm only interested inform. Besides it's too easy for the rest of these people to get lost in the content. I want them to learn the process that I'm demonstrating.

You've thought of something you're confused about. Now I want you to think of something similar that you understand. When I say similar, I mean that if your confusion is about someone's behavior, have your "understanding" also be about someone's behavior. If your confusion has to do with how a car engine works, make understanding be something mechanical, like how your toaster works, for example.

Bill: I've thought of something I understand.

Now you have two internal experiences; we're calling one of them "understanding" and the other one "confusion." Do they both have pictures?

Bill: Yes.

What I'm interested in are the differences between the two. How do they differ? For instance, one might be a movie and the other a slide. Or one might be in black and white and the other in color. I want you to go inside and examine those two experiences, and then tell me how they're different. . . .

Bill: Confusion is a slide, and it's small. Understanding is a movie, and it's large.

Are there any other differences? If the picture of confusion is smaller, it's probably also farther away.

Bill: Yes, it's farther away.

Do either of them have sound?

Bill: Yes, understanding has a voice describing what I see. Confusion is silent.

How do you know that you're confused about one, but you understand the other one?

Bill: I have different feelings when I look at those two pictures,

OK. How do your feelings know to feel that when you look at those pictures.

Bill: I suppose because I taught it that.

I want you all to notice something. I asked a "How?" question, asking about process, and he answered a "Why?" question. "Because" always answers "Why?" All you'll get out of "Because" is a bunch of historical theory. I only have one theory: that the reason people have so much trouble running their brains is because the Earth is tilted on its axis. So actually you have someone else's brain, and it's mad. That's as much theorizing as I do.

Let's try again. Bill, how do you know to have different feelings when you look at those two different pictures? . . .

I like that answer.

Bill: After I thought about it, I decided I didn't know.

That happens sometimes. Pretend you know. Talk. The worst thing that can happen is that you can be wrong. Years ago I realized I had been wrong so many times, I decided I'd just go ahead and be wrong in the ways that were more interesting.

Bill: When I look at the understanding picture, I can see how things work. That gives me a soft feeling of relaxation. When I look at the other one, I can't see what's going to happen next; I feel a little tense.

Those certainly sound like quite different experiences. Does anyone have any questions about what I've been doing?

Man: You make it look so easy. How do you know what questions to ask?

All I want to know is, "How are these two experiences different?" The answers to that are specific differences in the person's visual, auditory, and feeling experience. My questions are often directed at what the person is not noticing, and they are always directed toward helping that person make distinctions that he wasn't making before. For instance, when I asked Bill if it was a slide or a movie, he could answer easily. But he probably never even noticed that difference before, because no one ever asked him about it.

Woman: Is there any particular order to the questions you ask? You asked about whether it was a slide or a movie before you asked about color or black and white.

There's a certain efficiency in asking about things first and qualities later; you'll go astray less often. If you ask "How fast is it moving?" and it turns out to be a slide, that may be a little confusing to the person you're doing this with. Go for the basics first, and then ask about what other finer distinctions might be there.

The questions you ask are also a function of familiarity. I've explored confusion and understanding a few times before, so I already know what kinds of differences are likely to be there. It's like anything else you learn to do. When you do it the first time, you stumble around a bit. Later, when you're more familiar with what you're doing, you get more streamlined and systematic. You can also just make a long list of all the possibilities and go through them one by one. But it's easier if you first mention a few of the main distinctions to get that person's mind going in the right direction, and then ask, "How are the two different?"

Now let's go on to the more interesting part. Bill, I want you to take "confusion" and change it until it's the same as "understanding." I don't want you to change the content. I only want you to change the process that you use to represent the same content. First I want you to take that slide and make it into a movie. . . .

Bill: I can't seem to do that.

Do it this way. First make a series of slides at different times. When you have enough of them, look at them in rapid succession. Speed that up a little, and you'll have a movie. A movie is only a sequence of still pictures shown in a fast sequence.

Good. Now add a narrative sound track that describes the movie. . . . (Bill nods.)

Now make that movie larger and closer until it's the same size and distance as your picture of understanding. . . . What happens when you do that? Do you understand it now?

Bill: Yes. I can see what's going on now; I feel much more comfortable. I have the same feeling with both pictures.

It makes sense that if you have a large movie with a narrative sound track, you'll understand something better than if all you have is a small, silent, still picture. You have much more information, and it's organized in a way that you can comprehend it. This is Bill's natural way of learning how to understand something.

Woman: Don't you have to have more information to get unconfused?

Sometimes that's the case. But often the person actually has the information; it just hasn't been accessed in a way that allows understanding. It's not that something is missing; it's just that what you have is poorly organized. You all know much more than you think you do. Usually it's not too little information that creates confusion, it's having too much information. Often a person's confusion is an enormous collage of data, or a lot of pictures flipping in rapid succession. In contrast, most people's pictures of understanding are well-organized, and very economical. They're like an elegant mathematical equation, or a good poem. They distill a lot of data down to a very simple representation. What I did with Bill just made it possible for him to collect the data that he already had, in a way that he could understand it. Being able to use your mind means being able to access, organize and use what you already have.

Most of you have seen what happens when a fire burns down in a fireplace. If you rearrange the logs a little bit, it will blaze up again. You haven't added anything. The only thing you've changed is the arrangement, but it makes a huge difference.

If you think that you need more data, you'll probably ask lots of questions. If the answers just contain raw data, they won't help you much, and you'll have to keep asking. The more answers you have, the less you will examine the questions you are asking. But if the answers help you organize the data you already have, it may help you to understand. That is what's often called "passive learning," someone who's always going, "Spoon-feed me." Other people can take in a large amount of data and organize it themselves without much help from outside. That's what's often called "active learning."

Now, Bill, I want you to try it the other way. Take what you originally understood and make it into a smaller, more distant, still picture and erase the sound track. . . .

Bill: Now I'm tense and confused.

So now we could take anything you're sure of, and confuse the hell out of you. You're all laughing; you don't realize how useful that can be! Don't you know someone who is sure they understand something, and they don't? . . . and that false confidence gets them into a lot of trouble? A good dose of confusion could get them motivated to listen to people around them and gather some very useful information. Confusion and understanding are internal experiences. They don't necessarily have anything to do with the outside world. In fact, if you look around, there usually isn't much connection.

In order for Bill to have the experience he calls "understanding," he has to go through a process in which the information he has is represented as a large movie with a sound track. This happens randomly sometimes, and at other times other people may induce it. However, now that he knows how it works, he can deliberately engage that process whenever he is confused about something. If he hasn't got enough data, he may not come to full understanding; his movie may have gaps in it, or the sound track may fade out from time to time. But it will be the best representation for him of what he knows. Those gaps in the movie will indicate precisely where he needs to have more information. And whenever he's bored with what he already understands too well, he can confuse himself as a prelude to coming to some new and different understanding.

Now I want you all to take turns doing what I did with Bill. Pair up with someone you don't know, because that will make it easier.

1) Ask your partner to think of a) something he is confused about, and b) something similar he understands. Your partner is not allowed to tell you anything about the content.

2) Ask,"How are these two experiences different?" You don't care about how they're similar, only how one is different from the other,

3) When you have at least two differences, ask your partner to change confusion to be the same as understanding.

4) Test what you've done by asking if he understands what was previously confusing. If he understands, you're done. If he doesn't understand, back up to step 2) and find some more differences. Keep going until either he understands, or he has identified what specific lack of information is preventing full understanding. Keep in mind that no one ever totally understands

Understanding Confusion 89 anything. That's OK. It keeps life interesting. Take about fifteen

Understanding Confusion 89 anything. That's OK. It keeps life interesting. Take about fifteen

Most of you have probably noticed that your partner did something different inside than you do, in regard to the words "understanding" and "confusion." Let's first hear some of the differences you found, and then deal with any questions,

Man: My confusion is like a TV set with the vertical hold out of adjustment. The pictures keep rolling over so fast I can't see them. When I slowed it down and steadied it, it all made sense. But for my partner, confusion was a close panorama. So much was happening so close around her that she couldn't take it all in. She had to slow it down, and then physically back up and see it at a distance to understand it.

Man: My partner is a scientist. When he's confused, he just sees movies of things happening—what he calls "raw data." When he starts to understand, he sees little diagrams superimposed on the movies. These diagrams help him condense the events, and the movies get shorter and shorter until he gets what he calls a "moving still picture." It's a still picture with a superimposed diagram that indicates all the different ways that still picture can turn into a movie. That still picture sort of wiggles a little bit. It's very economical.

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That's a great one. Do these make sense to the rest of you? We've got quite a variety already.

Woman: When I really understand something, I have five different clear pictures all at once, like a split-screen TV. When I'm confused I only have one picture, and it's fuzzy. But when my partner understands something it's always over here on her right side. Things she's confused about are in the center, and something she doesn't know anything about arc over on her left.

Alan: What my partner did seemed very unusual to me. Her confusion was very focused and specific, and her understanding was a fuzzy, bright, movie that was out of focus. When she fuzzed up the confusion, she felt like she understood. I said to her, "Turn the knob, adjust the lens to get it out of focus."

You can do it that way, but you don't have to be metaphorical. People don't actually have knobs; you can just tell them to do it. So when she fuzzed it up, she understood. I hope she's not a heart surgeon! That's one of the strangest ones I've ever heard. If you blur the image, then you understand it! It certainly is different from the other ones we've gotten here. Did that seem odd to her, too?

Alan: Yes, it did, Could that be like turning it over to some lower-level unconscious process that you trust?

No, I don't accept explanations like that. All these processes are unconscious until you ask someone about them. There are many things we do intuitively, but this is different. Of course, you may have missed something important. But assuming that your description is correct, her understanding can't be connected with doing anything. In order to do something you have to have some specific detail. That's why I made that crack about hoping she wasn't a heart surgeon. With her kind of understanding, her patients wouldn't have a very high survival rate.

However, a fuzzy, bright understanding will be good for some things. For example, this is probably someone who would be lots of fun at a party. She'll be a very responsive person, because all she needs to do to feel like she understands what someone says is to fuzz up her pictures. It doesn't take a lot of information to be able to make a bright, fuzzy movie. She can do that really quickly, and then have a lot of feelings watching that bright movie.

Imagine what would happen if that woman married someone who had to have things crystal clear in order to understand, He'd say things like, "Now let's bring this into focus," and that would send her into confusion. When she described things she understood, they wouldn't be clear to him. If he complained that what she said was all fuzzy, she'd smile and be perfectly satisfied, but he'd be frustrated.

Her kind of understanding is the kind I talked about earlier, that doesn't have much to do with the outside world. It helps her feel better, but it won't be much help in coping with actual problems. It would be really useful for her to have another way of understanding—one that's more precise and specific.

In the last seminar I did there was a man whose "understanding" wasn't very useful for him. So he tried out the understanding process that his partner went through. Doing that gave him a totally new way of understanding that opened up a whole new world for him.

What I want you all to realize is that all of you are in the same position as that man, and the woman who fuzzes images. No matter how good you think your process of understanding is, there will always be times and places where another process would work much better for you. Earlier someone gave us the process a scientist used—economical little pictures with diagrams. That will work marvellously well for the physical world, but I'll predict that person has difficulties understanding people—a common problem for scientists. (Man: Yes, that's true.) People arc a little too complex for a little diagram like that. Some other way of understanding will work better for people. The more ways you have of understanding, the more possibilities open up for you, and the more your abilities expand.

I'd like you all to try this experience of having someone else's understanding. Pair up with the same partner you had before. You already know something about that person's confusion and understanding, as well as your own. However, you do need to gather a little more information. You already found and listed the differences between your confusion and understanding, as well as your partner's. You haven't yet listed all the differences between your understanding and your partner's confusion. You'll have a lot of that information already, but you have probably missed some elements that were the same in what you compared earlier.

After you have full information about the difference between your understanding and your partner's confusion, pick any content that you understand, and first make it into your partner's confusion. Then make whatever changes are necessary to make it into their understanding. Your partner can give you directions and be a consultant to you, advising and answering any questions you may have. After you've tried out their understanding, compare your experience to your partner's, to see if they're the same. You may miss something on the first try, and have to go back and do it again. The goal is for you to experience someone else's way of understanding. After you try it out, you may decide it's not a very good one, and you may not want to use it very often. But don't be too sure about that; it may work exquisitely for something you have trouble with. At the very least it will help you to understand certain people who use that process. Take about twenty minutes each. . . •

Was that pretty interesting? What did you experience when you took on someone else's understanding?

Man: My own understanding is very detailed, so I understand mechanical things very easily. My partner's understanding was a lot more abstract: she sees fuzzy rainbows when she understands something. When I tried out her understanding I couldn't understand mechanical things at all, but I had a sense of understanding people much better. Actually, I think I wouldn't call it "understanding" so much as feeling what they meant and being able to respond to them easily. The colors were magnificent, and I felt sort of warm and excited the whole time. It certainly was different!

Woman: When I understand something, I just see detailed movies of that event happening. My partner sees two overlapping framed pictures when he understands something. The closer picture is an associated picture of the event, and the second picture is a dissociated picture of the same event. He feels he understands when the two pictures match. My partner's an actor, and I realized how useful it must be to him. When he's playing a part he's associated, and he also has the other dissociated picture that shows him what the audience is seeing at the same time. When I took on his understanding, I had a lot more information about how I look to other people. That was very helpful to me because I usually just jump into situations without thinking about how other people see me.

That sounds pretty useful. Taking on someone else's way of understanding is the ultimate way to enter that person's world. How many of you already had more or less the same way of understanding as your partner had? . . . About 8 out of 60. Here you just picked people at random, It's even more fascinating if you choose very successful people. I'm a pragmatist; I like to find out how really exceptional people do things. A very successful businessman in Oregon did the following with any project he wanted to understand: he'd start with a slide and expand it so that it was fully panoramic and he was inside it. Then he'd convert it into a movie. At any point where he had trouble seeing where the movie was going, he'd step back slightly and see himself in it. As soon as the movie started moving again, he'd step back inside. That's an example of a very practical understanding that is intimately related to actually doing something. For him, understanding something and being able to do it are indistinguishable.

Understanding is a process that is vital to survival and learning. If you weren't able to make sense out of your experience in some way, you'd be in big trouble. Each of us has about three pounds of gray matter that we use to try to understand the world. That three pounds ofjelly can do some truly amazing things, but there's no way it can fully understand anything. When you think you understand something, that is always a definition of what you don't know. Karl Popper said it well: "Knowledge is a sophisticated statement of ignorance." There are several kinds of understanding, and some of them are a lot more useful than others.

One kind of understanding allows you to justify things, and gives you reasons for not being able to do anything different. "Things are this way because . . . and that's why we can't change anything." Where I grew up, we called that a "jive" excuse. A lot of "experts' " understanding of things like schizophrenia and learning disabilities is like that. It sounds very impressive, but basically it's a set of words that say, "Nothing can be done." Personally, I'm not interested in "understandings" that lead you to a dead end, even if they might be true. I'd rather leave it open.

A second kind of understanding simply allows you to have a good feeling: "Ahhh." That woman who de-focuses pictures to get understanding is an example of that. It's sort of like salivating to a bell: it's a conditioned response, and all you get is that good feeling. That's the kind of thing that can lead to saying, "Oh, yes, 'ego' is that one up there on the chart. I've seen that before; yes, I understand." That kind of understanding also doesn't teach you to be able to do anything.

A third, kind of understanding allows you to talk about things with important sounding concepts, and sometimes even equations. How many of you have an "understanding" about some behavior in yourself that you don't like, but that understanding hasn't helped you behave differently? That's an example of what I'm talking about. Concepts can be useful, but only if they have an experiential basis, and only if they allow you to do something different.

You can often get someone to accept an idea consciously, but only seldom will that lead to a change in behavior. If there's one thing that's been proved beyond a doubt by most of the religions of the world, that's it. Take "Thou shalt not kill," for instance. It doesn't say "except ..." Nevertheless, the crusaders happily sliced Moslems in two, and the Moral Majority wants more missiles to wipe out a few more million Russians.

Often people in seminars will ask, "Is a visual person the same as the 'parent' in TA?" That tells me they are taking what I'm teaching and stuffing it into the concepts they already have. If you can make something new fit into what you already know, you will learn nothing from it, and nothing will change in your behavior. You will only have a comfortable feeling of understanding, a complacency that will keep you from learning anything new.

Often I'll demonstrate how to change a person in minutes, and someone will say, "Don't you think he was just fulfilling the expectations of the role situation?" I've rolled a few drunks, but I've never rolled a situation. Those are the people who come to seminars and get nothing for their money, because they leave with exactly the same understanding that they brought with them.

The only kind of understanding I'm interested in is the kind that allows you to do something. All our seminars teach specific techniques that allow you to do things. That seems simple. But sometimes the things I teach don't fit into your existing understanding. The healthiest thing you can do at that moment is to become confused, and many people complain about how confusing I am. They don't yet realize that confusion is the doorway to a new understanding. Confusion is an opportunity to rearrange experience and organize it in a different way than you normally would. That allows you to learn to do something new and to see and hear the world in a new way. Hopefully the last exercise gave you a concrete experience of how that works, and the kind of impact that can have.

If you understood everything I said, and never got confused, that would be a sure sign that you were learning nothing of significance, and wasting the money you paid to come here. That would be proof that you are continuing to understand the world in exactly the same way as when you got here. So whenever you get confused, you can get excited about the new understanding that awaits you. And you can be grateful for this opportunity to go somewhere new, even though you don't yet know where it will take you. If you don't like where it takes you, you can always leave. At the very least you will be enriched by knowing about it, and knowing that you don't like it.

Some people's understanding has uncertainty built into it. I know an engineer whose understanding is composed of a rectangular matrix of pictures, about eight rows down and eight columns across. He starts thinking he understands something when the matrix is about half full of pictures. When it's about ninety percent full, he knows he understands something pretty thoroughly. However, his matrix always has empty frames which signify that his understanding is always incomplete. That keeps him from ever getting too sure about anything.

One of my most capable student's understanding is a dissociated movie of herself doing whatever it is she understands. When she wants to actually do it, she steps into the movie—doing and understanding are nearly identical. Behind that movie is a succession of movies of herself doing it in different situations, doing it while overcoming obstacles, etc. The more different movies she has, the surer she is that she understands something well. I once asked her, "How many movies do you have to have to understand something?" She replied, "It's always a question of how well I understand it. If I have a few movies, that gives me a little understanding. If I have more movies, I understand better. The more different movies I have, the more I understand it. But I never understand completely."

In contrast, there are people who are completely confident that they understand how to do something if they have a single movie of having done it, I know one man who flew a plane once, so he was completely sure that he could fly any plane, anywhere, anytime, in any weather, while standing up in a hammock! He came to a five-day seminar of mine, learned one pattern and left at noon the first day, totally confident that he knew all of NLP. How's that for getting stuck?

Getting stuck in a particular way of understanding the world—whatever it is—is the cause of three major human diseases that I'd like to do something about. The first one is seriousness, as in "dead serious." If you decide that you want to do something, fine, but getting serious about it will only blind you and get in your way.

Being right, or certain, is the second disease. Certainty is where people stop thinking and stop noticing. Any time you feel absolutely certain of something, that's a sure sign that you have missed something. It's sometimes convenient to deliberately ignore something for a while, but if you're absolutely certain, you'll probably miss it forever.

It's easy for certainty to sneak up on you. Even people who are uncertain are usually certain about that, too. Either they're sure they're sure, or they're sure they're unsure. Rarely do you find someone who is uncertain about his doubt or uncertain about his certainty. You can create that experience, but you don't usually encounter it. You can ask someone, "Are you sure enough to be unsure?" That's a stupid question, but he won't be sure anymore after you ask it.

The third disease is importance, and self-importance is the worst of all. As soon as one thing is "important," then other things aren't. Importance is a great way to justify being mean and destructive, or doing anything else that's unpleasant enough to need justification.

These three diseases are the way most people get stuck. You may decide something is important, but you can't get really serious about it until you're certain that it's important. At that point you stop thinking altogether. The Ayatollah Khomeni is an excellent example—but you can find lots of other examples closer to home.

Once I pulled up in front of the grocery store in a small town I used to live near. A guy came running over and said angrily, "My friend said you flipped me off"

"Let me tell you something—"

98 Using Your Brain

I said, "Wait just one minute," and went into the store and shopped.

When I came back out, he was still out there! When I walked up to my car, he was panting with anger. I picked up a bag of groceries and handed it to him, and he took it. I opened the car door, put the other three bags in the car, took the bag from him and got in the car and closed the door. Then I said, "All right, if you insist" flipped the bird at him, and started to drive away.

As I drove away he burst out laughing hysterically, because I simply would not take him seriously.

For most people, "getting stuck" is wanting something and not getting it. Very few people can pause at that point and question their certainty that this thing is seriously important to them. However, there is another kind of being stuck that no one notices: Not wanting something and not having it. That is the greatest limitation of all, because you don't even know you're stuck, I'd like you to think about something that you now recognize is very useful or enjoyable or pleasurable. . . .

Now go back to an earlier time in your life, when you didn't even know about that, or you knew about it but it didn't mean anything to you. ...

You really didn't know what you were missing, did you? You had no idea how you were stuck back there, and you weren't motivated to change it. You were certain that your understanding was an accurate representation of the world. That's when you're really stuck. What are you missing now? . . .

Certainty probably impedes human progress more than any other state of mind. However, certainty, like anything else, is a subjective experience that you can change. Pick a fairly detailed memory in which you were absolutely certain that you understood something. You were in a learning experience; perhaps you were being taught. Maybe it was hard, maybe it was easy, but at a certain time you got that "Oooh, yes! I understand!" feeling. Remember it in as much detail as you need. . . ,

Now I want you to remember all that backwards, just like running a movie backwards. . . .

When you're done, think about whatever it is that you learned or understood. Is it the same as it was a few minutes ago?

Marty: When I played the picture forwards, I went from a state of confusion to "Aha! I understand!" And then when I ran it backwards, I ended up at the place where I was confused.

Yes, that's running it backwards. What is your experience now, when you think about whatever it is that you were certain you understood a few minutes ago?

Marty: Well, I'm back at the confusion state, and yet part of me knows that I still have the understanding that came later. I can't create the same total feeling of confusion that I had the first time. But I'm not as certain, either.

How about the rest of you. Is it the same?

Ben: Well, I learned something new that I don't know that I was aware of at the time, about what happened with me in the experience.

Well, that's interesting, but it's not what I asked about. I want to know if your experience of what you learned is different.

Ben: No, there's no difference.

There's no difference whatsoever? You have to actually stop and think about it. You can't just say, "Oh, it's the same." That's like saying, "I tried to learn to fly, but I couldn't get out to the plane, so it doesn't work." . . .

Ben: Well, it's funny you mentioned flying, because what I remembered was learning the feel of landing on water—the feel of that contact with the water. When I ran it backwards, I moved out of the feeling of it, and to get the airplane to move backwards I had to view it from a distance. And that added a new dimension to the learning of the touching on the water.

It gave you another perspective. Now do you know anything more about landing a plane than you did before?

Ben: Yeah.

What else don't you know? Yet? That's quite a lot to get from just running a movie backwards. A lot of people rerun movies forward as a way of learning from experience, but not many run them backward. How about the rest of you. Is your experience the same?

Sally: No. The details changed. What I pay attention to changed. There's a sequence of things ordered differently.

The sequence is ordered differently. Now, is what you learned different?

Sally: Yes.

How is it different? Do you know something that you didn't know before? Or could you do something different now?

Sally: The body of knowledge is not different. What I learned isn't different, but how I feel about it, and how I look at it, is different.

Would that influence your behavior?

Sally: Yes.

Several of you got quite a lot out of just taking a minute to run an experience backwards. How much would you learn if you ran all your experiences backwards? You see, Sally is absolutely right. Running a movie backwards changes the sequence of experience. Think of two experiences: 1) being able to do something, and 2) being unable to do the same thing, First sequence them 1-2, first, you can, and then can't, do something. . . . Now sequence them 2-1, first you can't, and then can, do something. . . . Those are pretty different, aren't they?

The experiences in your life happened to you in a certain order. Most of that sequence wasn't planned; it just happened. A lot of your understanding is based on that somewhat random sequence, Since you have only one sequence, you have only one set of understandings, and that will limit you. If the same events had happened to you in a different order, your understandings would be very different, and you would respond very differently.

You have a whole personal history that's the wealth that you're going to use to go into the future. How you use it will determine what it will produce. If you only have one way of using it, you'll be very limited. There will be a lot of things you won't notice, a lot of places you never go, and a lot of ideas you simply won't have.

Running an experience forwards and backwards are only two of the infinite number of ways that you can sequence an experience. If you divide a movie into only four parts, there are twenty-two other sequences to experience. If you divide it into more parts, the number of sequences is even greater, Each sequence will yield a different meaning, just as different sequences of letters create different words, and different sequences of words create different meanings. A lot of the NLP techniques are simply ways to change the sequence of experiences.

I'd like to install in you what I think is one of the most important steps in the evolution of your consciousness: be suspicious of success. Whenever you feel certain, and you succeed at a task several times, I want you to become suspicious of what you're not noticing. When you have something that works, that doesn't mean other things wouldn't work, or that there aren't other interesting things to do.

Years ago some people figured out that you could suck creepy gooey black liquid out of the ground and burn it in lamps. Then they figured out how to burn it in a big steel box and roll it all over the place. You can even burn it in the end of a tube and send the tube to the moon. But that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to do those things. A hundred years from now people are going to look at our "high-tech" economy and shake their heads the way we do when we think of ox-carts.

Real innovation would have been easier right at the beginning. They could have done really amazing things. What if they had said "Boy, this really works! What else will work? What else is there to do? What other ways are there to move besides burning stuff and spewing it out the end of something? What other ways are there to move other than rolling in metal boxes and flying in metal tubes?" The more success you have, the more certain you become, and the less likely you are to stop and think, "What is it that I'm not doing?" The things I'm teaching you work, but I want you to think about what else might work even better.

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