Happy New Year and welcome to the second Personal Effects bi-monthly newsletter. This time with contributions from myself, my friend and associate Jill Harrison (with some encouraging words on new year resolutions !) and what we can learn from Marvin Hagler by Damian Hughes. There is also an opportunity start your week’s thinking by signing up for a regular blog with David Fraser

2014 is proving to be a very special year already with my first NLP Business Practitioner running in The Lakes during January and February ….and new dates about to be published for September/October…………so keep an eye on the website !!!

The Lunar Effect

By Florence Madden

One of the pre-suppositions of NLP which I have found has the greatest ‘stickability’ with delegates on courses is that:

Everyone has a different map of the world

This is easy to say, easy to see the logic in……….not always so easy when our thinking in stuck firmly in our map !

Just before Christmas I watched a re-run of the film ‘Apollo 13’ and it reminded me of an article I read by Steve Taylor:

The Lunar Effect: The Psychology of Space Travel

Why does space travel bring about psychological transformation?

I had never heard of the ‘Lunar Effect’ before ……in essence it is how the experience of space travel  has had a profound life changing effect on astronauts, in how they see their world and their place in it.  Steve Taylor summarises what he sees are the 4 key reasons for this:

  • After seeing the fragility of the earth in space, astronauts no longer take anything for granted. They are always aware of how lucky they are to be alive.
  • The enormity of space gives them a wider sense of perspective, so that they aren’t so affected by trivial worries.
  • For the same reason, they have become less egocentric, less focused on their own desires and needs.
  • Seeing the universe stretching endlessly around them gives them a sense of meaning and connection which has never left them, a sense of being part of a unity.

It left me wondering what on Earth could we do to give ourselves such a fresh perspective (assuming we don’t have  $200,000 for a trip on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic) ?

When is a Goal not a Goal? (new year resolutions and how to get an A grade)

By Jill Harrison – NLP Trainer and Associate

When is a goal not a goal?

When there is no ball…?

When there are no nets…?

When there are no players…or players that didn’t bother to turn up for the match?

Any of the above, really!

Most new year’s resolutions are goals that are formed with the best of intentions and huge dollop of motivation, especially with the relative excesses of Christmas indulgencies making themselves known on our waistlines along with the onset of conscience-prodding summer holiday ads on our screens. By new year many of us are ready for new beginnings; a fresh start; a healthier lifestyle.

…and then, after around 3 weeks, most (88% according to one piece of research) of our resolutions fail. We give up. We lose motivation. We don’t have the willpower. We choose instant gratification over our long-term, and perfectly genuine goals.

Now those of you who know anything about goal-setting will know that in order for goals to succeed we need to make them SMART (look it up if new to you)  – don’t we? Well, yes… certainly, in order to know that the goal is do-able, and to know that we have reached a goal such as a target weight loss, going to the gym three times a week, stopping smoking…or…or…or…then of course we need to know where our goal nets are, and we need to know that the ball has crossed the goal line.

So why, then do even the most achievable and clearly articulated new year resolutions fail? And how do you go about getting that A grade in succeeding in what it is you really want? Well, according to Benjamin Zander, the world renowned orchestral conductor and inspirational teacher of music, GOALS are GRIM. While Zander acknowledges that goals are necessary as part of the process towards ‘Getting an A Grade’, they also set us up to either succeed or fail, win or lose, get there or get lost along the way.

When it comes to our personal aspirations we are more likely to recognise and celebrate small moments of success if we do not set ourselves up for all or nothing / win or lose in the first place. As an alternative, Zander encourages us to:

1 Remember that ‘It’s all invented’

All those rules – those shoulds, musts and ought-tos that limit us from becoming who we want to be are merely illusions that we take on board when we really don’t have to. Go for the desires that make your eyes light up, fill you with passion and life, and let go of concerns about what others think.  In the words of poet David Whyte (from The House of Belonging) ‘Anything or anyone who does not bring you alive is too small for you’.

2 Stand in possbility

Think of yourself as already an A grade student at what you want for the new you and you are more likely to applaud the mistakes and set-backs you will inevitably make along the way and see them instead as opportunities for new learning and growth. And if it is too difficult to reach your goal…simply move the goal-posts!

3 Don’t take yourself so seriously

I have nothing to add to this. Get over yourself – life will happen anyway.

When is a goal not a goal? When it is a goal not worth having as a resolution because it is doomed to fail from the outset, because however SMART the goal is, it doesn’t fill you with the stuff that brings you alive enough to trump those moments of instant gratification your unconscious mind will demand of you before very long.

So to get the most out of your new year…set your compass in the direction of your desires, have goals along the way (as yardstick markers rather than as the destination), go easy on yourself when you do succumb to instant gratification – then check your compass direction, re-set it if you need to – and enjoy what is happening along the way, mistakes and all.

Back-o-the net!

Oh, and if all else fails, try these resolutions:

1. Stop making lists

B. Learn to be consistent

7. Learn to count

Take a look at Benjamin Zander’s talk on ‘How to give an A’ to find out more:


How To Change Absolutely Anything

By Damian Hughes bestselling author on the Psychology of Change

I have recently written a biography of the great boxing champion Marvin Hagler. Understanding the habits and routines of great performers in any industry provides fascinating insights which can be applied to pretty much anybody.I love one simple idea, about when to think (and when not to), which goes as follows.Draw an imaginary line that separates your practice space from your performance space. When you’re inside the Practice Zone, your brain is fully switched on. You’re thinking, strategizing, planning. But when you step across the line into the Performance Zone, you click off your mind and just play.This idea comes from Marvin Hagler who ‎ would draw an imaginary line about a yard before he entered the boxing ring. He deemed the area behind the line as the ‘thinking’ zone and the area in front of the line as the ‘play’ zone. In the thinking zone, he would receive feedback from his coaches and think about the next round, his strategy, which punch he wanted to throw, how he would defend from an attack. Then once he had figured out what he wanted to do, he would cross the line into the ‘play’ zone, turn his mind off and spar (or ‘play’), like he had done millions of times before.

There’s plenty of brain science that supports this method (MRI scans show that the more skilled an athlete is, the less they’re thinking). And of course we know that top performance happens when we relax and go on autopilot, letting our unconscious brain do its magic. But I like it because this Practice/Play Zone idea could be applied to lots of stuff beyond sports.

Think about arriving home at night. We create a zone where we complete our phone calls and emails before we step into the house and then a zone where we give our families our undivided attention. Or how about when delivering an important presentation? We could have a zone where we plan and design, and then a zone where we relax and deliver a fluid performance.

The idea also highlights a paradox at the heart of striving for greatness. Marvin Hagler declared that, “During practice, thinking and planning are my friends. During performance, however, thinking and planning are my enemies.”

You can’t avoid this paradox; you need to build a routine that embraces both sides. You essentially have two brains, the conscious and unconscious; so the best way to improve is to give one zone to each.

How can you create your own Practice/Performance Zones?

To understand more how you can shape and create a winning environment, How to Change Absolutely Anything, is brimming with simple and impactful ideas.

See more on www.liquidthinker.com

You Might Be Interested In…… Relationship Skills for Professional, Business and Personal Success

Do we make the same mistakes?

By Dr David Fraser – Author, speaker, coach on change, leadership, and professional relationships; engineer, programme director

It starts like this…

I’m not that happy with the way the meeting is going. Certain things about the way the other person talks or acts, I don’t really like. At least, I don’t feel that I want to work with them or do business with them, or certainly not yet.

So, I ask myself, what exactly is it they’re doing that’s putting me off?

Useful to understand clearly what that is. Sometimes it’s quite subtle.

That’s Part A.

Then it gets tougher and this really is the point…

Part B:

Do I make the same mistakes?

In what way do I have the same behavior, or something similar?

With whom might I be presenting the same problem?

Where does the other person’s pattern show up in my own life?

Maybe it really doesn’t, or maybe it does.

What about you? What’s someone else’s behavior telling you about your own?

To get regular thought provoking posts from David to subscribe to his blog at http://www.drdavidfraser.com/blog/