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The Law Of Insanity

You’ve probably heard of Einstein’s Law of Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) takes the opposite view with its presupposition ‘The Law of Requisite Variety’. De-jargonized, that roughly translates to flexibility of behaviour

stop doing what you've always done and do something different!

I come across lots of people who are dissatisfied or frustrated, both at home and at work. Someone running a business was chatting with me last week about lack of new customers and general disinterest in his company’s services. I asked him what he did to generate new clients and some very unimaginative answers came back. I gave a few suggestions as to how he could improve what he was doing and he looked quite taken aback “We couldn’t do that, we don’t do it that way” he replied. I enquired about the reasons that he couldn’t make a few changes and he replied “Because that’s just the way we do it. We’ve always done it like that since my Dad used to own the business.” I couldn’t help but smile wryly at what – in my model of the world – is incredibly archaic and limited thinking. After all, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, won’t you?

You see, throughout life most people are conditioned into the same old same old; play school, school, homework, obeying rules, respecting parents, getting work experience, following a process, marrying your job and perhaps also finding a partner, settling down, having 2.4 children and becoming accustomed to the 9 to 5 grind. Whether that describes you world in whole or in part, you’ll probably grasp what I’m saying in that we become used to repeating the same type of behaviour time and time again – even if that behaviour sometimes doesn’t serve us.

How many times have you heard someone complain “That always happens to me” or “I’m so bored of my job” or “I’m really miserable with my relationship“? There’s an obvious equation that sometimes people don’t perceive, which is ‘Situation + Behaviour = Outcome’. Essentially, you may be unable to change a given situation, however you can take some control and change your behaviour within that situation to get a different outcome. Perhaps you’re a parent experiencing challenges with your children; maybe you’re in a job where you clash with a colleague or manager; it could be that you consistently have a challenge communicating with a partner. Or are you just fed up and miserable with your world which has become so predictable and routine – do you wish you could inject some passion and excitement into your life?

Too many people set their stall out to do something and do it in a certain way – to get from (a) to (b) in one direction and their blinkers are firmly attached like some aged carthorse. However, think about the possibilities and opportunities there are to be had in exploring how do something or get somewhere a different route? People sometimes feel that to change course of plans or direction is weakness or failure; what about instead looking at it as lateral thinking and clever flexibility to find an effective alternative pathway?

I’m not suggesting that you change what you do if it’s working for you beautifully – after all, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. However if something could be improved, if it isn’t working how you’d like it to, if it needs tweaking or completely overhauling – then do it! And I’m not just referring to a physical process, I’m talking about the way that you think, the way you communicate; your attitude and your behaviour – your entire approach to life, perhaps. How great would it feel to break out of the mould?

So here’s the thing – at the end of the day as you’re winding down, just take ten minutes out to re-run the course of the day’s events in your mind’s eye. What’s worked handsomely? What hasn’t? Has a conversation with a friend, partner or colleague not gone the way you wanted? Has a meeting or interview not had the outcome you sought? Did something happen to make you roll your eyes and wonder why you spoke or behaved in a certain predictable way? Analyse carefully with yourself what you could have done differently to have got a different end result – see if you can think of a couple of alternative options.

Start using the Law of Requisite Variety in your life – the more flexible with your thinking and your behaviour that you learn to become, the quicker and the better the results that you get will be. Don’t take my word for it – begin to put it into practise for yourself and remember – you always have the choice to be in control of your thinking, feelings and behaviour – choose well and act wisely!

NLP is a vast subject – if you’d like to understand more about this incredibly impactful means of personal development then why not call me on +44 (0) 7932 060360 and let’s shoot the breeze over coffee sometime soon …

Be outstanding …