“Anyone here look like slave to you?”
In the eighties there was a hilarious BBC comedy sketch series called The Real McCoy and one of my favourite clips was from Miss Rees (Miserys!) West Indian Restaurant.
In one scene, a customer sits down and waits for the waitress to take his order. She rolls her eyes, sucks her teeth and asks “Anyone here look like slaaave to you?” (see video @ 3 minutes 31 onwards)
This lady knew she was beholden to no-one and took it to the extreme. But on a serious note, I think there is an awful lot of modern day slavery going on it our heads.
As Jean Jacques Rousseau said “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” Of course, I am talking about psychological chains and as the apostle Peter said in 2 Pet 2: 191 “a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”
What has mastered most of us? Ourselves. We have lied to ourselves about our lack of power and then forgotten that we believe a lie.
Lao Tzu said “He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty. But I don’t see many people conquering themselves.
In fact, every day I see and hear people (and I don’t exclude myself entirely from this group) thinking and acting like slaves – to their limitations. It’s as Henry Ford said “Argue for your limitations and you’ll be sure to get them!”
The problem is that we don’t know that we’re slaves, because our minds, like the Matrix, have “pulled a world over our eyes”. That world, as Professor Michael Hall would describe it is our personal matrix of frames (a blanket term for every mental phenomenon from beliefs to values) that generates the illusion.
Our beliefs act like trance inducers, convincing us of their rightness plus they also act as what NLP Master Robert Dilts calls ‘attractors’ in that, like magnets, they attract proof of their own rightness.
And as a result, King Solomon said 3000 years ago “every man is right in his own eyes” and humans haven’t really changed since then.(Proverbs 21:2)
So, we have a problem. We are seemingly stuck inside our own ‘reality’, thinking that it is Reality. And it’s only a small step (up) in our minds to come to believe that our beliefs are True (rather than fallible re-presentations of the world around us)
This, as Hall says, is the structure of fundamentalism, to believe that our beliefs are real rather than ‘maps of the territory’. I presume this is how people convince themselves to strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up in crowded places. Or maybe it’s just to the convinced there is no need for convincing. Don’t bother me with the facts – I know what I believe…? And before anyone comments, this is a problem common to everyone, not just those with particular religious beliefs…!
This stance also prevents change. If my beliefs about my inability to ‘run my own brain’ (and break out of slavery to my desires) are REAL and even worse, this is who I am, then the whole thing adds up to a self-induced sense of bondage.
So can we step back from mental slavery?
We are blessed with the ability to step back from our thoughts. NLPr’s refer to this as taking perceptual positions but its simply the ability to reflect on what we were just thinking. And it’s not a special skill, you don’t it all the time, don’t you? (and if you asked “Do I?”, you just did it!) It’s part of your God-given meta-cognition.
What most people don’t realise is that stepping back from your thoughts brings several powerful processes into play.
First, you gain a mental position of power. You can now, like a king or queen of your domain, evaluate whether or not these thoughts serve you.
This is because when you go above or ‘meta’ to your thoughts you gain the ability to bring transformative resources to bear on the content of your previous thoughts. This is not collapsing anchors, it’s meta-stating and it’s what I use to radically change peoples’ lives whilst coaching them.
When people say they are stuck I know they are not ACTUALLY stuck, they have just believed themselves into a corner that they have no options.
I’m going to let you into one of the secrets of running your own brain.
You can always step back and question the belief you think you can’t question or change.
And that is one of the secrets to breakthrough change.
Find the taboo belief, the one that seems most real, most who you ‘are’ (and don’t like) and question it. This takes a willingness to question the felt realness of your ‘reality’.
I am reading a wonderful book called the Art of Spiritual Discernment and it talks about our modern concept of truth (which seems to be very relative and conveniently means no-one can actually tell you do anything unless it’s your truth – sounds like a recipe for world anarchy to me!) and the concept of Truth.
I do believe that Truth exists. And that the Truth will set you free. Even if you don’t believe there is an Ultimate Truth I can prove in a small way that truth (what is real) is very important to you.
Go into a shop and quietly ask the assistant to give your friend the wrong change. Then get the assistant to argue “there is no truth” so there is no true right or wrong change…and step back.
Truth is important for not getting killed. Don’t drink the bottle with the skull and crossbones on it. Stay off the motorway.
It is also TRUE that you can make your own decisions. And you don’t have to obey other people. I am not arguing for non-co-operation or pure stupidity but as my wife says “other people want you to change to suit them, but they don’t want to change to suit you”.
I am also not arguing for a world free from moral boundaries. I believe, actually, that when we know our boundaries in all areas we become more free to be creative and actualise our potential. Ask Edward De Bono, creator of Lateral Thinking. He shows us that in many cases to make a creative leap we have to have a limit to leap over….!
Budhha said: “…he, indeed, who would conquer himself is the noblest victor”
So are you ready to conquer yourself?
Annoyed at putting up with your rubbish for so long? Don’t get even, get mad. As I have written elsewhere on this site, psychological energy (read strong emotion) is necessary to break free from the attractors.
So here’s some questions to annoy you and get that energy going.
- Ho much longer are you going to continue fighting for your right to be a slave?
- How much longer are you going to insist on this slave mentality?
- Why are you fighting so hard for your own weaknesses and lack of self-control?
- When are you going to make a decision to take responsibility for your decisions?
If you want help resetting your frames to unleash the best you there is, and to actualise your potential at work and at home request a free explore your breakthrough session at www.livingwords.net
Or if you want help building frames of strong esteeming, and ownership of your thoughts and feelings and actions and words – then get the Personal PowerPack at www.personal-powerpack.com
I hope you can start saying today: “Anyone here look like slaaave to you?”
Doug is a Meta-Coach in the field of Neurosemantics and has been helping professional career clients ‘live their words’ for the last few years. If you are interested in finding out more, visit www.livingwords.net or for his latest product (for the outrageous price of £19.95) which is called The Personal PowerPack (self-esteem and confidence building) go to www.personal-powerpack.com