Tag Archives: evidence frame

What do you want?

14 Jun 16
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My exploration of Neuro-Linguistic Programming has been in service of one basic desire: I want to help make genius a choice. At least that’s how it started for me.

But what do you want?

Just because I’m interested in making genius a choice doesn’t mean you are! In fact you almost certainly don’t.

Sure, not everybody has explicit, well-designed goals with Gantt charts, identified resources and contingencies plans. But even in reading this article you have objectives. And we can use those to illustrate this aspect of NLP: What do you want to get from today?

As you take a moment to answer this question, please let yourself go beyond the first thing that comes to mind. You might want to write down your answers too.


For as long as I can remember, I have loved martial arts. Having trained in martial arts for most of my life, when I walked into my first Aikido class I saw things differently to the way many people might see things. I didn’t just see a bunch of people being thrown around the room: I saw some techniques I recognised from my previous training, footwork, presence and some things that seemed very strange. I enjoyed being there and decided that I wanted to start training myself.

From when I stepped onto the dojo the next session, I learnt many things. And one thing I realised very quickly is that this is not a spectator sport. Sure, you can enjoy watching the show as an observer. And you can get an important perspective from that angle. But if you really want to experience the Art and Science, you have to participate.

Most karate training remains a dynamic between “attacker” and “defender”. Somebody attacks. Then their partner practises defending against that attack, during which period the ‘attacker’ becomes little more than a crash test dummy. Sometimes in the same exercise, for example in sparring, you and your partner will alternate attacking and defending. And that is a simple dynamic that works well.

Aikido is very different.

Rather than the attacker-defender relationship we have the Uke-Nage relationship. The Uke might begin by grabbing or striking the Nage, in response to which the Nage will apply their chosen technique or strategy. And on the surface this looks much like the attacker-defender relationship.

However there is a big difference: Both Uke and Nage are learning and practising. To fully understand any technique it is important to understand the technique from the perspective of both Uke and Nage. And through experiencing these differences we are able to learn the essence of the technique itself.

Now, back to it: What are your outcomes?

Now that you have at least a few outcomes, let’s explore them in a bit more detail, perhaps starting with thinking about what seems to be your most important outcome:

  1. What do you want that for?
    If you had that outcome, what would that give you? And if you had that, what would that allow you to experience that is even more important still? Please be aware that I’m not asking you your reasons or causes or justifications for that outcome: I’m not asking “why?” While doubtless you have your reasons, I want to know your intention or purpose. You can repeat that line of questioning until you can’t go any further: See how far you can go. This could well develop into something of a hierarchy of intentions.
  2. How would it be if you had that?
    What would it look like? Sound like? Feel like? If you had your outcome, how would you even know? Feel free to describe with as much sensory-specific language as you can how you would know that you had your outcome.
  3. If you had those outcomes what difference would it make?
    Choosing any level of the hierarchy, what consequences would having that have for you? What would you do differently? How would you feel or think or behave as a result?

While these seem very simple questions, by thinking things through you might be able to better understand yourself. You can start defining your outcomes in a more achievable way. You might even recognise some resources, strategies of ways you have to get what you want sooner or easier or with fewer downsides.