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Changing States

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I recently got ahold of Jonathan Altfeld’s “Automatic ‘Yes'” CD set, the subject of which is the powerful skill called “state chaining”. (I won’t define or describe it here. Hit the link for a full description of the course, and buy your copy before the special sale ends.) I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to the basics of Jonathan’s approach in the Master Practitioner training he co-trained with Doug O’Brien a little while back, and it was something I wanted to play with and get better at doing. Before the end of the training, I realized I’d been doing it in certain contexts all along, in shorter chains, and I hadn’t realized it.

Listening to the CDs reminded me that I’d never really spelled out how I think about how I do it, so I resolved to put it here. I’ll start with one particular aspect: how to shift someone from a high-energy unresourceful state, such as anger, to something a little more flexible.

Many years ago, I was an Emergency Medical Technician working for a private ambulance company, and I was stationed at a state psychiatric hospital. I happened to walk in on a training they were having for their nurses and technicians: Bruce Chapman’s Handle With Care Behavior Management System. I was immediately captivated by Master Bruce’s teaching style and his philosophy. I arranged to take the training for myself. What I’m about to share here is roughly based on something I learned in that class and in much subsequent reading of Chinese philosophical work such as the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Tai Chi Tu (click image for SVG source)

Tai Chi Tu (click image for SVG source)

Here we have the Tai Chi Tu, commonly known as the “Yin/Yang symbol”. This is the Taoist in-a-nutshell representation of the way the universe works. You’ve seen it many times, no doubt, but I imagine nobody’s really explained it. I’ll give it a shot.

First, you’ll notice that it’s a circle. No beginning, no end. Now, pick a spot, either at the top or the bottom, where either the black or the white is almost non-existent. Moving clockwise, you’ll see that the color you chose increases while its opposite color decreases… and that as soon as it gets to the point where it can’t hold any more, you’ll see that the opposite color starts to kick in, PLUS, there’s a little “seed” of the opposite color contained in the fullest part of the swell.

Now, I can’t find the citation at the moment, but there’s an old saying that hard winds don’t blow all morning and heavy rains don’t last all day. Physics tells us that energy constantly changes form. Biology tells us that we change or we go extinct. It isn’t just that change always happens; it’s that it must happen. So when I’m in front of an angry person, I know I don’t have to do anything at all to get them to stop being angry. All I have to do is get rapport, pay close attention to when their angry state changes to another state, catch the transition point, and steer it to where I want it to go. The best part is, if I can figure out what the “seed” of the next state is, knowing that it’s already there, I can speak to it… drawing attention, and therefore the other person’s energy, toward it… making sure that it really is what’s next.

Anger, and most other high-energy emotional states, cannot last long. It’s physically impossible to maintain it. It costs too much. Anyone who claims they’ve been angry about something for years and years… they aren’t angry. They may be bitter, but they aren’t angry. Anger is a flash, not a smoulder. (This is one of the ways the psych nurses know when someone is faking a condition, and why we keep people for observation for up to 72 hours.)

Jonathan suggests in the Automatic “Yes” CDs that, to move someone out of a high-energy unresourceful state, we should turn it up rather than try to turn it down. I agree. Several times I’ve been called to the psychiatric unit where I work because a patient is scaring the staff and the other patients despite the fact that he isn’t actually doing anything. He’s got a clenched jaw, closed fists, and knitted brow, and he’s pacing, and he’s been doing it all day. When I respond, all I do is engage the guy in some sort of conversation and then do something that I think will annoy him. Not anger him; just irritate him. It adds energy to his stuck state, and then he has to choose which side of the fence he’s going to crawl off on. Is he going to start throwing things and kicking walls and cursing, or is he going to start talking? As soon as he gets to the decision point, I lead him to the state I want him to have. Usually I just tell him what it is: “It’s gotta be frustrating,” I say, or “I’d be scared too if I were in your place.” Sometimes I offer a path to follow instead: “You just have to wonder what’s going on, but the more questions you ask the more answers you get.”

(Of course, I’m ready if he decides to go the other way, too. It’s never actually happened, but if it does, at least he’ll have resolved his stuck state and can work from there.)

I can take these more energetic states and ride/drive them to something a little more useful for the other person and a lot safer for those around them. Which is, essentially, what state chaining is about.

I strongly recommend Jonathan’s “Automatic ‘Yes'” CD set to you and to anyone else who wants to take their social skills to the next level. And I want to thank him publicly for helping me to think more clearly about one of the things I’ve been doing without realizing it.

The US Federal Trade Commission requires that I add: While Jonathan did ask me for a product review, it should also be noted that I bought my copy of this audio program directly from his Web site, and that my recommendation is not a form of payment for the product.

Written by Michael DeBusk

October 31st, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Jonathan Altfeld’s new trainings

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Jonathan Altfeld has two new courses — one for Practitioners, one for Master Practitioners — coming up soon. He calls them “Mental Renovation”:

To get NLP to help you achieve the changes you desire, you have to make a choice. There’s no avoiding it. You have a choice of 3 optimal or primary options:

  1. Take a lot of expensive training over time, and get extraordinarily good at knowing & using NLP, which might help you to become good enough at it, that you can create the changes you want in your life. The benefit of this route is, you might also get good enough to help others. That may be a career choice that would excite you.
  2. Hire an NLP-trained coach or Practitioner to do their magic on/with you, which may vaguely resemble therapy depending on how badly trained the NLP practitioner or coach is. Done right, you should get some of the changes you want, but you’ll be paying premium rates by the hour for such 1-on-1 work.
  3. Attend one or several short, applied courses or seminars like this one, which instead of training you in NLP, the seminar leaders use NLP while they lead you through exercises or experiences that get you to think differently about your situation. Then you sometimes get the change you want, but you won’t have actually learned a lot of NLP consciously. If you want the results without a new career in NLP, this is the way to go.

Go learn more about the Mental Renovation Workshops in Chambersburg, PA and sign up!

Written by Michael DeBusk

November 9th, 2008 at 12:21 am

Mastery InSight Institute: NLP Master Practitioner Certification

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Jonathan Altfeld and Doug O’Brien are offering a Master Practitioner training in June of 2008. Interestingly, the first module of this training is their Belief Craft seminar. Take Belief Craft and then stick around for the rest of the training!

Mastery InSight Institute: NLP Master Practitioner Certification

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 29th, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Belief Craft

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I attended a Belief Craft training a little while ago and was very impressed with what I learned to do. Combine Jonathan Altfeld’s Knowledge Engineering with Doug O’Brien’s Sleight of Mouth and you get an amazing set of modeling and personal change tools.

If people learn to listen well enough to track the larger belief systems, then, they can then use Sleight of Mouth skills to wire completely around a problem belief, without actually attacking the problem belief. Then you can change someone’s mind without them feeling defensive about it, and sometimes, without them even knowing. That represents the most elegant use of Sleight of Mouth possible.

They’re doing it again in June of 2008 as the first module of a Master Practitioner training. Here’s your chance to grab it up before it’s all gone.

Belief Craft – Elegant and Pervasive Belief Change seminar

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 29th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

Mastery InSight Institute Updates

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Jonathan Altfeld tells me he’s all but completed remodeling his Web page. It’s a vast improvement over his former page, which was good to begin with. Now, it just feels good to look at it. Clean, easy on the eyes, beautiful.

Visit the Mastery InSight Institute Home Page

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 27th, 2007 at 12:52 am

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Holographic Communication, April 2008

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Jonathan Altfeld’s presentation skills are beyond compare, and one of the best things about them is that he’s willing to teach them to you. In April 2008, Jonathan will be holding his Holographic Communication training in both Copenhagen, Denmark and London, UK.

If Your Livelihood Depends on Giving Compelling Presentations… or Even if You Just WANT People Hanging on your Every Word, in Business, in Public, or in Platform Sales… We’ve got a Pain-Free, Risk-Free, Fun-to-Learn Process… that can turn ANY Ugly Duckling into a Swan… & we’ve published video case-studies [on the Web site] to prove it.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 22nd, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Keys to Programming

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My old friend Chad Amberg is an interesting guy. Definitely not the type to march in time with the popular crowd, but not at all “weird” either. I think he’d make a great NLPer. I should mention it to him.

Chad is a computer guru. Mostly Windows, poor guy, but he can do pretty much anything that needs doing on pretty much any system you’re likely to be running. He’s the one who got me turned on to OS/2 back in the mid-1990s. Definitely old-skewl. Especially when it comes to programming.

We NLPers tend to spend a lot of time on the “N” and the “L” but not so much on the finer points of the “P”. Remember that Richard Bandler was learning computer science when he began poking around in subjective human experience, and that one of Jonathan Altfeld’s more popular courses, Knowledge Engineering, is pulled directly from Jonathan’s experience and training in the modeling of human decision structures using the Lisp programming language.

I know that when I learned the basics of programming in Rexx, it helped me to think much more clearly about structure. (I wouldn’t recommend Rexx right now, though, even though it’s excellent; I think Python is much more useful for the majority. If I had it to do over again, I’d have started with Python.) Learning to write a simple structured program, even in a scripting language like Rexx or Python, is a tremendous gift you can give to yourself.

Chad wrote a short article today on what he believes are the Keys to Programming. It’s brief, high-level, good advice with no language-specific ideas… more like “how to think like a programmer” than “how to write a program”. He references an essay by Paul Graham titled, “How to Hold a Program in Your Head”, which is what we’re interested in doing, yes?

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 19th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Holographic Communication, March 2008

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Jonathan Altfeld’s presentation skills are beyond compare, and one of the best things about them is that he’s willing to teach them to you. From March 27 through March 31, 2008, Jonathan will be holding his Holographic Communication training in Tampa, Florida, USA.

If Your Livelihood Depends on Giving Compelling Presentations… or Even if You Just WANT People Hanging on your Every Word, in Business, in Public, or in Platform Sales… We’ve got a Pain-Free, Risk-Free, Fun-to-Learn Process… that can turn ANY Ugly Duckling into a Swan… & we’ve published video case-studies [on the Web site] to prove it.

Written by Michael DeBusk

November 30th, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Irresistible Voice, February 2008

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Jonathan Altfeld is back in London, UK on 15-17 February 2008 with one of the trainings for which he’s best known: Irresistible Voice.

  • Develop & then adjust the rhythm of your voice to get your outcomes
  • Drive people into a more responsive state in 2 seconds!
  • Use Pausing to create more dramatic vocal effects
  • Develop & then strengthen your ability to use the Dual-Tone voice Jonathan teaches in the Irresistible Voice CD’s, with his live feedback
  • Capture & Lead the attention of groups
  • Learn to influence peoples unconscious physiological processes with your VOICE ALONE!
  • Learn to break rapport & create doubt, vocally, without addressing it on a conscious level! (…and why that’s a VERY useful skill to have)

Written by Michael DeBusk

November 7th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Linguistic Wizardry, January 2008

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Jonathan Altfeld is in Los Angeles, California, USA on January 11 through January 13, 2008 with his most popular course, Linguistic Wizardry. I’d love to be able to describe this training, as I’ve taken it several times myself, but all I can really say is that it defies description. The training is so intense that it brings forward everything you’ve learned and ties it all together. And the “Village Council” exercise at the end of the last day is worth the price of admission.

Link to Jonathan Altfeld’s Mastery InSight Institute

Written by Michael DeBusk

October 30th, 2007 at 12:47 am

Posted in Persuasion,Training

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