Introduction

We have deframed and we have reframed. Now we will begin some outframing, although we will distinguish this particularkind of outframing and call it preframing and post-framing.

Within this chapter, we want to offer five more conceptual and linguistic moves with mind-lines that you can make in shifting beliefs and paradigms in yourself or with others.

In the previous chapter, we began by working within the box. We worked inside of the conceptual framework of our central formula EB=IS. There we explored two ways to reframe the inside content of a belief.

Then we engaged in three kinds of reflexive reframing. Here we will begin to broaden our horizons in reframing skills so that we can do it gracefully and elegantly in our everyday conversations. This will build up our skills and artistry in conversational reframing.

Throughout the moves in this chapter we will essentially "run with the logic"of the central meaning formula (the EB=IS). In doing so we will see if it continues to make sense when we shift the context and/or bring other contexts to bear upon it (i.e., context reframing). We will move (conceptually) backwards in "time" to explore why a person constructed his or her formula in the first place. "What positive intention did you have in doing that? What did you seek to accomplish?" We will also move the context back in "time" to check out and transform a person's attributions of causation. We have designated these as the Positive Prior Intention and the Positive Prior Causation Frames.

For the next three reframes, we will "run with the logic" again to the immediate and distant future in order to take a look at what consequences arise as a result of the semanticformula. "How well will this idea serve you in the long run?" In doing this, we apply good ole "consequential thinking" to our mental constructs. Or, as we say in NLP, we will "run an ecology check" on our model of the world. In that way we can check out if it truly offers us a well-balanced experience.

#8 Positive Prior Intention Framing

This conceptual move utilizes the basic assumption within all of the reframing models, namely, that behind every behavior (EB), we can find (or create) a positive intention if we search long and hard enough. Utilizing this presupposition, we therefore assume that people produce behaviors to accomplish things, such as things of importance to them.

Yes, we also recognize that sometimes people get into some pretty nasty states. Sometimes we feel hurt, wounded, violated, and unresourceful and then, out of those states, we produce some pretty obnoxious and ugly behaviors.

And yet when we do so, inevitably, we do so in order to accomplish something of value and importance, do we not? Does that not hold true for you? It does for me. Our obnoxious and ugly behaviors might accomplish nothing other than to express an uninformed and ignorant expression that we hurt and want "justice." Or it might express some form of protection, or communication that we don't want to live as we do, or take what we have taken.

Here then we make a very important distinction between intent and behavior. Even behind bad and hurtful behavior there lies a positive intention. Usually when we produce hurtful behavior, we do so by accident, ignorance, confusion, or unresourcefulness. And when at the conscious level we get into a really nasty state and actually seek to hurt someone, get back at someone, rage about life's injustices, etc., we do so for some positive value—we want to live in a more equitable and fair world!

Obviously, people do not always produce good, useful, productive, or resourceful behavior. Obviously! But people inevitably attempt, via their behavior, to accomplish something of value and importance. It has some meaning and significance of value in some way to them.

So if we set about to discover and/or set a Positive Prior Intention, we tap into the innate and inescapable human drive for meaning. This drive causes us to not endure a life without meaning. Meaninglessness in human neuro-linguistics totally disrupts our whole mind-body system and leads to suicide or suicidal life-styles. And in the long run, it does not work. We need meaning as the daily bread for our psychological lives.

This meaning drive powerfully contributes to this reframing pattern of looking for, exploring into, or even constructing positive intention and value in whatever behavior we find. In this approach, we go way beyond the kind of "positive thinking" that Dale Carnegie invented.

Let's now see how finding and setting a Positive Prior Intention with our first two playground pieces shows up in mind-lines.

(A) "Saying mean things makes you a bad person."

"I appreciate you saying that because I know that you're trying to help me avoid relating to you in mean ways. I'm wondering what other ways could you use to insure this goal?"

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"Aren't you trying to prevent a false hope with that idea? So lets think about some other ways that you can help people avoid falling into false hopes."

This pattern of finding positive intent describes what we try to accomplish with a particular belief, model of the world, or behavior. By shifting our focus from the negative statement and/or behavior to the positive intention behind it, we open up the frame so that we can explore with the person other more effective statements and behaviors. In this way, this form of mind-lining truly paces another's model of the world.

To do this, start with the question, "What positive intention lies behind this behavior?" Finding or inventing that, we then attribute it to the person's response as the frame that establishes the purpose and drive of the other person's belief. We then invite that person to search for more effective ways to accomplish their positive intention.

With this maneuver, we assume that people do things on purpose, but not always out of a conscious meaning. We simply assume that every behavior and belief, no matter how obnoxious its presentation, has some positive intent driving it. If we find an external behavior wherein we can't find a positive intent, we simply move back one more level (actually, up one more level) and ask the same question again. If we go behind that intent to the intent of that intent (a meta-state), we will almost always find a positive intent lurking there.

Using this "Sleight of Mouth" pattern empowers us to discover or establish a positive intent for a presenting behavior. In this way, our mind-line pre-frames our thinking-feeling about the external behavior as "seeking to accomplish something positive and of value." Then we set about to explore what specific positive intent we can find.

"What positive intention does this person have in saying or doing this?"

"What could a person seek to accomplish of value here?"

"What secondary gain may one seek to obtain or not lose?"

As we orient ourselves to guessing in the direction of positive intentions, we begin to habitually formulate positive intentions and attribute such to people. Now consider for a moment the positive effect this will also have on your own attitude. By shifting attention from the negative behaviors to the positive intent behind it, we thereby open up a new space for ourselves as well as for them. Into this new and more solution oriented space we can then invite the other person. Doing this sets a more positive direction for conversing. Doing this facilitates communication and accessing the person's respect and appreciation. All of this, in turn, builds hope. Ultimately, this appreciation attitude creates the basis for even new and more positive behaviors. Such reframing can actually turn around a negative cycle and create a positive one.

(C) "When you arrive late that means you don't care.

"I can understand how you say that my being late means I don't care. Apparently you really do want to know that I truly care for you, don't you?"

In this statement we assume that their EB of "criticism" intends to find out if we really care and to get us to show our care. So, instead of taking offense, and arguing with the person about the EB that he or she dislikes (showing up late), we empathically affirm that we do care. How much nicer, don't you think? Setting this positive frame about criticism then enables us to talk about solutions rather than blame about the problem.

(D) "Stress causes me to eat chocolate."

"So what you really want to do is to reduce your stress, a most admirable choice, and you have gotten into the habit of doing so by eating chocolate. And I wonder if eating chocolate really does reduce your stress? If not, perhaps we could explore other ways you could fulfill your objective of de-stressing."

(E) "I can't really make a difference because management doesn't walk their talk."

"It certainly strikes me that you really do want to make a difference and perhaps even help management walk their talk. I bet this strong desire to make a positive difference will cause you to persevere until you can find a way to make a difference. What do you think?"

"If your true desire in saying that involves trying to motivate yourself to hold back so that you don't get your hopes up and then feel crushed if things don't change, I wonder what other ways you could reach that goal without pouring so much cold water on your motivation?"

(F) "I can't buy your product because it costs too much." "I'm glad you brought that up because it seems that you really do care about getting the proper value out of your purchases, and I'm wondering if this attitude really accomplishes that for you?"

As mentioned, the eliciting questions for this pattern involve exploring intentions, the "why" question which drives a person's motivation, secondary gains, etc.

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