The Self-Actualizing Genius State

The Self-Actualizing Genius State

The Self-Actualizing Genius State

~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD ~
What does a person actually do or experience when he or she self-actualizes? Maslow identified eight things that we could add to our list of prerequisites for the “genius” state. In fact, because some of the following quotations wonderfully describe the genius state, I’ll start with those and then back up to identify Maslow’s eight steps or facets for self-actualizing.
The genius state is a creative state of being totally present. And as this happens, one’s Matrix of frames vanishes from awareness.

Live In The Moment

“The puzzle that I’m now trying to unravel is suggested by the observation that the creative person, in the inspirational phase of the creative furor, loses his past and his future and lives on in the moment. And so he is all there, totally immersed, fascinated and absorbed in the present, in the current situation, in the here-now, with the matter-in-hand.
“This ability to become ‘lost in the present’ seems to be a sine qua non for creativeness of any kind. But also certain prerequisites of creativeness—in whatever realm—somehow have something to do with this ability to become timeless, selfless, outside of space, of society, of history.” (59)


Self-actualization is always described as a loss of self or of ego, or sometimes as a transcendence of self. There is a fusion with the reality being observed (with the matter-in-hand), a oneness where there was a twoness, an integration of some sort of self with the non-self. . . . Little wonder that this shaking experience has so often been considered to be
superhuman, supernatural, so much greater and grander than anything conceivable as human that it could only be attributed to trans-human sources.” “One main characteristic of the peak experience is just this total fascination with the matter-
in-hand, this getting lost in the present, this detachment from time and place. And it seems to me now that much of what we have learned from the study of these peak experiences can be transferred directly to the enriched understanding of the here-now experience, the creative attitude.” (60)

1) Focus and absolute absorption.

“Self-actualization means experiencing fully, vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption. It means experiencing without the self-consciousness of the adolescent.
At this moment of experiencing, the person is wholly and fully human.” (44) At such moments of absorption something else happens, something that actually facilitates the healing that we usually attribute to therapy. What? We forget our poses, defenses, shyness and simply “go for it.” The insight that Maslow discovered from this is incredible, “Absorption casts out fear.

2) Choosing growth in small acts.

Another aspect is if we think about life as a process of choices, as choices between progression and regression, between defense and growth, then— “Self-actualization is an ongoing process; it means making each of the many single choices about whether to lie or to be honest, whether to steal or not to steal, and it means to make each of these choices as a growth choice.”
In Neuro-Semantics, we speak about meta-stating ourselves to a place above and beyond any and every experience until we step back from ourselves. It is at that point we have moved to the choice point. Whether we are running a quality control on our frames, an ecology check on the inter-relationships of ourselves holistically, or stepping up to our executive mind to create a pathway for our future, we are at the place of choice.

3) Discovering your own true likes and dislikes.

Self-actualization also involves discovering our inner self and letting that highest self emerge. How does this occur? We do this, in part, as we learn to listen to our own inner voice and not only to the voice of family, culture, tradition, authority, etc. When tasting wine we look not at the label or what others think, but savor the wine on our tongue and look
to “the Supreme Court” inside ourselves to see if we like it or not. “Do I like this?” “Do I dislike this?” “What do I think and feel?” In conclusion, this describes the growth from positing authority and evaluation externally and bringing it inside and owning it for ourselves.

4) Taking responsibility for oneself and one’s life.

First of all the process of actualizing by looking within ourselves for answers implies taking responsibility. This “is in itself a great step toward actualization . . . And each time one takes responsibility, this is an actualizing of the self.”
“We have talked of experiencing without self-awareness, of making the growth choice rather than the fear choice, of listening to the impulse voices, and of being honest and taking responsibility. All these are steps toward self-actualization, and
all of them guarantee better life choices.” (45)
In Meta-State training we begin here by accessing our innate powers for responding to the world, then bringing awareness, acceptance, and ownership to those response-powers. As a result doing this creates the gestalt of responsibility—a step toward self-actualization.

5) Courageously learning to be oneself.

While to listen to our own voice and tastes takes courage. To be honest with ourselves and with others takes courage.
“Making an honest statement involves daring to be different, unpopular, non-conformist. . . . To be courageous rather than afraid is another version of the samething.” (46)
In conclusion, this describes the part of self-actualizing that involves embracing change and challenge.
So the courage to be oneself is the courage to grow, to keep on learning, and to develop. We do this as we acknowledge our uniqueness and look within for what we have to give to the world.

6) Expending effort in an ongoing process.

Self-actualization is not only an end state, it is also the process of actualizing one’s potentialities at any time, in any amount. It may mean going through an arduous and demanding period of preparation in order to realize one’s possibilities. Self-actualization can consist of finger exercises at a piano keyboard. It’s about seeking to be as first-rate as
one can be. So in this, the work and effort of discipline is part of self-actualizing.

7) Setting up conditions that make peak experiences more likely.

Because peak experiences are transient moments of self-actualization, they cannot be bought or guaranteed. What we can do is set up the conditions that make them more likely or eliminate the conditions that prevent them. Hence typically peak experiences are only transient moments of self-actualization. And they are moments that we experience from time to time. The first step in making these peak experiences more likely is learning to recognize them. And once we have done that, then to acknowledge and honor them. The problem is that often they are such “small” things, a glorious sunset, a human touch of compassion, an act of thoughtfulness, a rush of emotion of joy in playing with a dog. And in the adult world of schedules and paychecks, it is so easy to discount these things.
While using the meta-state process of the genius pattern, we learn to identify the internal conditions that make these states more likely to occur and re-occur. We also learn how to step in and out of them at will. After all, it is just a state. And so as with any state, there is a dynamic structure that makes it happen. This is what Neuro-Semantics has contributed to flow—the ability to choose it.

8) Opening oneself up to self-discovery and knowledge.

So as we open ourselves up to ourselves—to our innate powers, to our unique gifts and talents, to our right to be ourselves and to be unique, it takes courage to both identify our typical defenses and to give up these defenses. And yet that courage is the pathway to self-actualization. Therefore it is repression, rejection, judgment, fear, avoidance, etc. that holds us back and that blocks becoming fully all that we can become. Conversely, it is the willingness to risk and to discover our full humanity, however fallible it is, that enables us to step into authenticity, into being more fully an authentic self.
In revisiting these writings from Maslow, I am amazed that it is upon Maslow’s shoulders and the Human Potential Movement that he, Carl Rogers, Rollo May and many, many others initiated that we stand on.

The Genius State

Hence Maslow described what we today call the genius state and he even identified so many of the prerequisites:

  • Giving up the past
  • Giving up the future
  • Recovering an innocence or guileless (the know-nothing state)
  • Narrowing of consciousness
  • Loss of ego, self-forgetfulness
  • Inhibiting force of consciousness
  • Fear disappears, “Absorption casts out fear.” (64)
  • Strength and courage emerges. “Becoming more courageous makes it easier to let oneself be attracted by mystery, by the unfamiliar, by the novel, by the ambiguous and contradictory.”
  • Acceptance, giving up criticism
  • Trust versus trying, controlling, striving.
  • Receptivity
  • Integration of one’s full being
  • Permission to dip into primary process
  • Aesthetic perceiving
  • Spontaneity
  • Expressiveness of uniqueness
  • Fusion of the person and the world.
  • Summary

    Especially relevant is that the genius state is at the same time so very special and yet so common. Yet we were born for it and naturally experienced it as children when we would get so lost in experiences. And so what seemed to come to natural during childhood later becomes one of the most ecstatic and longed-for experiences in adulthood. Furthermore, as a state of engagement and absorption, the genius state becomes more and more demanding of us as we grow—demanding that we take the courage to let go of other things of importance (time, self, others, etc.) as we are “surprised by the joy” of the fascination that captures our attention and fits with our highest values and intentions.

    Peak Experiences And The Flow State

    Most noteworthy, Maslow described as the peak experiences of self-actualizers and others later described as the flow state, we can now more precisely work with and predict. Therefore when we take charge of our own mind-body-emotion processes and access states and meta-states and build up the components and variables that make for a genius state, then we can access the state—stepping into it and out of it at will—at choice. So we can also trust that it is our state, and that we can trust ourselves that we won’t lose it or have to wait for it to magically appear.
    Finally, this reflects the next step in human development, the ability to protect and re-access a genius state at will. And that, of course, is what Accessing Personal Genius is all about.
    Interested in accessing your personal genius? Book your place here

    • How To Learn Any Skill In Less Than One Day Using This New Technology




    ~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD ~

    Whenever I lead the coach training, one thing I say over and over is, “The Coaching Conversation is not a normal conversation!” There’s a reason for it. I want to drive home the point that as a Meta-Coach, you need to shift your thinking, listening, and responding when you are in a Coaching Conversation from what you normally would do.

    This has actually been an ongoing theme since the beginning of Meta-Coaching in 2002. One of the things that have always stood out to me is that the coaching conversation is not a normal conversation. In fact, if it was a
    normal conversation, then it would be worth a whole lot less. If the coaching conversation is just another conversation, one that you could have at the morning breakfast table, at the pub after work, or with friends when
    you are at a sporting event- there would really be nothing special about coaching as a profession. But it is different. And part of that difference is that it is not a normal conversation.

    Here’s the problem. If you, as a Manager/Leader/Director/Meta-Coach, think that coaching is basically a normal conversation, then you will not be able to tap into the uniqueness and, shall I say, the weirdness of the coaching conversation.
    So what’s so different about coaching from a normal conversaton? Over the years, the fact of the coaching conversation’s non-normalcy has grown in my understanding. At first I would only identify two items that made it different. Now I can identify five or six, or even nine.

    1) It is not normal in its direction.

    The conversation of coaching is a one-way conversation, and not like the way normal conversations work wherein both persons equally share and talk about their lives. The coaching
    conversation is all about the client. This makes the “dialogue” unique in that it is not back-and-forth about each person, but only about the client’s outcome and experience. That is also why there is so little disclosure on the part of the coach.

    2) It is not normal in the use of acknowledgments.

    When you repeat a sentence in a normal conversation, it calls attention to itself and so seems out-of-place. Yet when you repeat a sentence of your client, especially a semantically significant sentence, the effect is that they person actually feels heard.

    3) It is not normal in the use of the meta-comment for meta-awareness.

    In coaching, you will probably say something like, “Let’s step back from this conversation for a moment-how are we doing?” “Let’s take a meta-moment- what are you aware that’s happening here?” If you do that in a normal conversation- that make bring the conversation to a screeching halt.

    4) It is not normal in its intensity.

    The coaching conversation is a very personal one as it seeks to go to the heart of things. You quickly, and without apology, get personal with people as you ask for the person’s deepest beliefs about things. “And what do you believe about being insulted?”

    5) It is not normal in its challenging nature.

    Now true enough, some conversations are challenging, but they are the exception, not the rule. Coaching, how the other hand, is all about challenge- inviting a person to stretch, to step up and be one’s best self, about not selling oneself short, and even bringing up things that might be unconformable (confrontation).

    6) It is not normal in its call for experiential learning.

    In fact, it is the very nature of coaching that you are facilitating a person’s learning. This is not the purpose of most normal conversations. Yet this is the design of coaching- enabling learning. That’s why in coaching, you sometimes “coach the body” and do other things to get the person to embody an idea or process.

    7) It is not normal in how intensely and actively you listen.

    Normal conversations, in fact, are notorious for not involving high quality listening. This is one reason most people are not good listeners. Normal conversations are often plagued by people multi-tracking several things, answering their phone, interjecting comments to other people, etc. Not so with the coaching conversation. And this often stands out to the client as so incredible and appreciated- to be listened to with one’s full presence and attention.

    8) It is not normal in giving feedback to the person while conversing.

    Furthermore, this can happen in normal conversations, but again, it is the exception, not the norm. In coaching conversations this is one of the key skills that the coach learns- to pay attention to everything going on and to bring many of those things into the conversation. “I noticed that you have been looking up and to your left while you have been describing that event … are you making pictures?”

    9) It is not normal that you set frames before and during the conversation.

    And so normally we do not start a conversation by saying, “Now if I interrupt you it is because I want to catch things that might indicate a limiting belief.” Nor do we, in normal conversation, say, “Thank you for those tears, it means we are getting close to something really significant to you.”

    So, what’s the point? Don’t treat the conversation you have when you are coaching as if it is a normal conversation. Nor when you are in a normal conversation, let it slide into “coaching.” If coaching becomes a possibility, stop and punctuate what you’re going to do as very different from just a talk. Prepare your clients for the very special and unique conversation called “coaching.” And finally, prepare yourself with your own unique and best style for coaching. It is special – so let it be special!

    Interested in a coaching conversation? contact us here
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    Depression as pressing down


    This Thing Called Depression”

    ~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD ~
    Sometimes a word is highly informative and tells the story of all experience. This happens to be the case with “depression”. People who suffer depression not only go through a disappointment, loss, frustration, etc., they also “de-press” their life’s energies. They press-down their emotions, their hopes, expectations, inspiration, physical energies, determination, persistence, sexual desires, etc.

    In fact, this pressing-down lies at the heart of the depression. That is, depression is revealed by the pressing-down, so that if and when a person stops pressing-down, the depression lifts.

    Because depression is not a primary state, it is not an emotion like sadness, frustration, anger, fear, etc. Instead it is a meta-state, a state-about-a-state. It may be fear of sadness, rejection of sadness, anger at sadness, anger turned against self, surprise and shock at a disappointment, etc. And because it is not a primary emotion, it does not provide information about the relationship between one’s map and experience in the territory. Instead, because it arises as a person turns his negative emotions against oneself, it is the result of misusing one’s emotions.

    The proper use of emotions begins by accepting that they measure the difference between what we mapped and what we experience. As such, every emotion is useful and provides valuable information. Perhaps the map was off, perhaps our skill in the experience was deficient. Either way, we can change our emotion by changing either what we’re thinking or what we’re doing or some combination of the two.

    By way of contrast, we misuse our emotions and abuse ourselves when we take our negative emotions and turn them against ourselves. Whereas a negative emotion tells you that something is wrong with either your mental map or the way you are coping with things in the outside world, that negative emotion gives you the energy to take action to change the map or the experience.

    However, when you turn the emotion against yourself, the emotion’s energy has nowhere else to go but against your mind and body. It’s what I originally called a “dragon” state- an unresourceful state. This is the source of all sorts of psycho-somatic illnesses.

    The mental mapping typically goes to the expectations that we have mapped.

    Given that, we can ask, “What were you expecting?” Take any situation of loss, disappointment, frustration, anger, etc. and ask, “What expectations did you have as you went into that situation?” Then, when you get the answer, ask a follow-up question, “What is the quality of your expectations?” “Was it realistic, probable, impossible, improbable, demanding, etc.?”

    A person’s expectations refer to what a person has projected into the future. The expectations may be coded as representations, beliefs, understandings, and so on. These are then projected into the future as what we anticipate. They become expectations when we look forward to seeing them happen … and if the thoughts behind the expectations are “shoulds” or “musts” then high demands are driving them.

    “I must succeed.” “Things should always be fair.” “I should reach my goals quickly and with little effort.” “I should be approved and respected by everybody.”

    Now if you want a good case of disappointment, here’s the formula: set unrealistic or high expectations beyond what’s realistic about what will happen. Imagine this beautiful future as vividly as you can- in full color, close, with the most enhancing sounds or music, then step in that movie.

    Then say, “This is what I expect, what I want, and what I demand will happen or it will be the end of the world for me.”

    To gain the freedom you deserve, contact us here
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    Are You Pleased With Your Human Programming?

    Are You Pleased With Your Human Programming?

    Article Written by Dr.L Michael Hall.
    Look at the things that you do today-the things that you do everyday in a regular and systematic way, the things that you can count on yourself to do. Your human programming.
    Look at getting up and dressed, having breakfast (or skipping breakfast), brushing your teeth, driving, etc. When you do, you are observing some of your programs. Yes, you call them habits. That’s because you habitually do these things and do them in certain ways, and you can do them without thinking. It is as if you have a “brushing your teeth program” inside you.
    Now, what will trigger this human program? Perhaps the time of the day will trigger it, perhaps walking into the bathroom, perhaps looking in the mirror and smiling.

    A word about “programming.”

    The idea of programming entered into NLP (Neuro- Linguistic Programming) at the same time when computer programming was beginning to reach popular consciousness. The communication theories of that day had been working for a couple of decades in conceptualizing how to program a machine. It could process information and by the 1970s several programming languages had been developed and gigantic room-size computers had been built. It was in that context that the metaphor of “programming” came to be applied to human processing of information, hence the name Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In those days, it had nothing to do with brainwashing, and everything to do with the code for how to install a systematic and stabilized response.

    Questions for Habits or Human Programming

    Let’s ask a series of questions about your habits, alias programming:

    How did you program yourself to behave in this way?

    How did you get yourself to do so in such a regular and dependable way?

    Were you born with this program?

    If you were not, then at what time did you develop it and how did it become so dependable, so regular, so systematic?

    These questions explore is a very powerful resource that you have within you-within your neurology and in your mind-body system. As a habit, you don’t have to even think about it. You just do it. It is as if you are on automatic and as if the habit has a life of its own. Think about this with your eating lunch habit, your morning coffee break habit, your looking over a desert menu after dinner habit, your smoking habit, and so on. Somehow you have programmed yourself to automatically do certain things and now you can efficiently do them without a lot of physical or cognitive effort.

    Another question

    When you look at the automatic actions that you engage in- does it bring out your best? If you consider some habits that are now unhealthy and unproductive for you, have you ever tried to change them? Did it work? Or did you revert to the old habit? Maybe you changed your mind about smoking and decided to stop smoking and you did … for a little while, but then the old habit re-emerged and you found yourself doing it again. Habits are powerful that way. They can be programmed in that, they seem hard-wired, part of “who you are,” and your “second nature.”

    Yet your own personal human programs or habits are similar to those of a computer, they are functions of a code. Therefore, there’s a code that informs your mind-body system how to operate and how to function, in the face of a particular trigger. The trigger starts a sequence of activities so that somehow you just seem to “know” how to respond, and so you do. You get on a bike and your body just seems to know how to ride even if it has been years, or roller-skates, or a thousand other habitual patterns. They are part and parcel of your programming. You have a habit (human program) of feeling afraid in elevators or even seeing snakes on TV. You have a habit (human program) of biting your nails, of impulsively buying things, of cursing when someone cuts you off in traffic.

    Now something this powerful could be powerfully used for the good if only you knew the code, could it not? What if you set up a program for reading regularly, studying, exercising, spending time with your loved ones, etc.?

    Now Here’s The Thing About A Habit

    The code to any habit is no longer in the front of your mind. If it was, it would not be very deep or systematic and it could be more easily changed. No. The code involves what’s deep within, in the back of your mind, and has been created by your self-reflexive consciousness. That is, as you applied second thoughts and emotions to some first level thinking, you meta-stated the sequence of action with higher level frames, this deeply embeds the habit within you. In terms of persuasion, you now have a deep meta-level program (sequence of thoughts) that influence you systemically so that you do not have to consciously think about it.

    So the code is a meta-state or meta-level code. It is made of beliefs, decisions, identities, permissions, understand#ings, etc. that essentially locks the program in so that you are not only free to not think about it, you may not be able to think about it. Several consequences fall out from this. One explains the difficulty of modeling an expert who is unconsciously competent- the program is automatic and outside-of-conscious awareness. Another is that in changing an undesirable habit, so you have to get to the code in the back of the mind since those thoughts are the ones most deeply influencing you.

    Self Persuasion

    In terms of self-persuasion, if you want to truly learn to persuade the hardest person of all to persuade ;yourself. You have to be able to climb the layers of your meaning-making to find the program. That’s what we do with the Matrix Model in Neuro-Semantics. And if you want to establish a new healthy habit as a new human program for your effectiveness in a given area, you have to be able to set the required meta-levels so that you lock them in. That’s what we do with the Meta-States Model and we are running the 3-day International recognised Self Leadership program on the 14th-16th October in Orange NSW. Contact us now to reserve your seat!

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    Challenge in 5 Dimensions

    ~Written by Dr.L.Michael Hall~

    As a Professional you can know that we frame the coaching skills in terms of two seemingly contradictory values- compassion and challenge. You also know that an ideal coach, an expert coach, is a person who has developed the skill of compassionately challenging. You know that our catch word for this being able to communicate ruthless compassion. That means, believing in people and their potentials as we do, we take responsibility to awaken them, challenge them, and stay with them through thick and thin so that they do not sell themselves short.

    There’s numerous articles on the skill of being able to challenge people. There’s a reason for that. There’s a reason for continually coming back to focus on this theme again and again. Why?
    Because to coach is to challenge. That’s because people who are clients need to be challenged. Further, on the feedback form that we use to identify and measure your coaching skills, we have “challenge.” We also have “confrontation.” Those are two dimensions of challenge. And there are others. Here are five. Next post- what challenge is not.

    1) Challenge as Testing and Questioning.

    A small, and yet beginning, place for “challenging” someone is asking someone testing questions. These are closed-ended questions that requires a Yes/No answer. “Do you really want this?” “Are you sure this is truly important for you?” These kinds of questions challenge a person in the sense that they call forth a decision and a commitment. “Will you or will you not?” “Can I depend on you for this?” Actually, there are many, many questions that perform a “challenging” function. Some challenge by getting personal and intimate. Some challenge by asking a person to get real and authentic. In NLP there is a question that challenges people. We call it the relevance challenge. “Jim, I’m not clear about why you are bringing up this subject, how does it relate to the subject of this meeting?”

    2) Challenge as in Stretching.

    Challenge as stretching means taking on a challenge to what you are doing, experiencing, or achieving. It means stepping up to your next level of development. It means being fully engaged in whatever you are doing, becoming absorbed.

    This facet of “challenge” is the very heart of coaching, in contradistinction to therapy, in that it inherently involves inviting people to step out of their comfort zone and to set goals so that they can think more, feel more, be more, say more, do more, have more, and give more. All of this stands against aiming for peace, tranquility, rest, equilibrium, etc. Those are goals that are more fitting for therapy- for healing hurts and traumas and creating a solid base for living. Those ready for coaching are more interested in disequilibrium, rocking the boat, stirring up things, and raising the bar.

    When we ask questions about challenge, what are we really asking about?
    Stretching, confrontation, or opposition?

    I. What are some of the challenges you are experiencing right now?

    II. What challenges are you having in your life about your health, finances, emotions, etc.?

    What most of us know is that the best moments of life occur in those moments when we stretch our mind, our emotions, our body, our activities, etc. By pushing to our current limits and then beyond, we aim to accomplish something that is inherently difficult, something that is bold and that requires courage. Typically when we do this, we move into the flow zone that is the optimal balance between competence and challenge.

    3) Challenge as Disturbing and Upsetting.

    In these previous forms, “challenge” as testing, questioning, or stretching all have the potential to disturb and upset. In the sense of disturbing a person’s current status quo or state of mind or state of emotion, anything that can potentially upset or disturb is experienced as “challenging.”
    These states could occur by teasing, playing, and joking. These could occur by introducing something very new or different or unexpected. Sometimes a person or a group needs to be disturbed. They are too self-satisfied, too comfortable, too much at rest, and letting both their talents and their opportunities pass by.

    4) Challenge as Opposition and Obstacles.

    Another way that we use the word “challenge,” is when we mean that we are going to oppose another’s idea or proposal and play devil’s advocate. “Let me challenge you on that idea, I’ll play devil’s advocate to challenge you about the premises that I think you are operating from.” Because opposition and nearly any obstacle upsets and disturbs, they operate as a challenge to one’s resourcefulness and resilience. Can you maintain your focus when a certain opposition arises or does it throw you off-course?

    We can also ask about how much of a challenge is any given obstacle? After all, obstacles are challenging. When an obstacle arises, the question then is – what resource do you need in order to handle that challenge? What does that obstacle challenge in you?

    5) Challenge as Confrontation.

    The term “challenge” is often used in the sense of confrontation. We say, “I’m going to challenge you…” and our intention is to bring up something that is potentially unpleasant. Yet that description is what we mean by the term “confrontation.” We are going to confront (con- with; front- face) in the sense of directly bringing up to someone, present it to his or her face, what might be difficult to face. In Meta-Coaching, we distinguish challenge as stretch from confrontation and use the word “challenge” for the former.
    Obviously, when you confront, you are challenging. By identifying something that needs to be addressed, you are exposing it to the person and that could very well invite the person to stretch to a new level.

    We also challenge as confrontation when we bring up something that could go bad. “I want to challenge you about the fact that you have not answered by question even though I have asked it four times, are you aware of that?”

    Stepping up in life
    People who are ready for stepping up to their next level in life enjoy the challenge of Self Leadership, a 3 day internationally recognised program in Orange NSW. Check for our next dates. Are you ready?

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    Becoming Real in Relation to Others


    Becoming Real in Relation to Others

    ~ Written by Dr.L.Michael Hall

    You are not only a human being, one with identity and value, nor are you only a doer, a person who takes action and develops skills, you are also a social being. The sub-matrix of Self addresses your sense of value and worth (Self, self-esteem). The sub-matrix of Power addresses your competencies, talents, skills, abilities to develop skills (Power, self-confidence). This next sub-matrix of Others addresses your social self-your relationships to others, your social skills, your social understandings and beliefs, your social panorama and much more.

    Self Esteem and Self Confidence

    As many people confuse self-esteem and self-confidence, so many also confuse their social worth with their personal worth. They confuse their social and emotional intelligence, the condition of their relationships with their self-esteem. This is especially true for people who grow up in group-oriented cultures (collectivism in contrast to individualist cultures). Because of this, they will tend to define themselves in terms of their group so that their personal value will depend on their social value.
    Yet these are two very different concepts.

    Social Beings

    That you and I are social beings, and that we are inevitably and inescapable social in our nature, leads to many consequences. One is that most of our emotions are social emotions. Think about all of the emotions that are relational emotions-love, hate, care, compassion, indifference, dislike, trust, distrust, kindness, meanness, frustration, affection, and the list goes on and on. Another consequence is that nearly all of our activities as human beings are social activities-connection, betrayal, friendship, affiliation, competition, collaboration, involvement, being included, being excluded, trusting, distrusting, open, closed, etc. Isn’t that amazing?

    As social beings we also organize ourselves in our cultures so that there are another whole set of interactions that govern our lives- communication, persuasion, influence, management, leadership, politics, power relations, patronizing, democracy, equality, bureaucracy, socialism, etc. It is here that your social worth- your value in a given culture, context, environment whether your ethnic culture, religious culture, business culture, educational culture, etc.- can be so easily confused with your worth as a person. Do you confuse the two? Are you ready to distinguish them?

    Your social worth grows out of the Power matrix- what you can and/or cannot do that contributes or does not contribute to the group determines the relative value you have in that social context. Additionally, it rises and falls with circumstances and phases in your life span.


    The Others matrix focuses on you as a social being. Here your emotional and social intelligence is one of the central keys for being effective and successful in relationships. Here social knowledge is critical for the good life-knowing how to connect to people, how to be the kind of person that others enjoy being around, how to be compassionate and caring, how to be firm and independent, how to extend yourself for the well-being of others, how to create healthy boundaries, how to live a moral life in relationship to others, how to cooperate and even collaborate with others, etc.

    NLP inevitably addresses a lot in this area since it is itself a Communication Model- and one of the first discoveries was the structure of rapport. The discovery was made from Virginia Satir and expressed in the statement that “people like people who are like them.” So making ourselves like them, that is matching their words, values, beliefs, ways of operating, etc. generates the sense of being in rapport (connection, bonding) with others.

    Lucas Dirks extended this through creating and articulating the Social Panorama Model. Based on the fact that we internally represent things using sensory-based information (what we see, hear, feel, etc.), he noted that we often externalize our internal mental maps about people in the way we gesture and the language we use. We imagine someone we feel close to by internally seeing them as close to us. We talk about others as far away at some distance and that corresponds to the way we represent them inside our mind- they are at a distance.

    Social Dimensions

    Then there is your self-image, which is primarily your social image. You create your self-image mostly from how you see yourself reflected in the eyes of those around you. Your social sense of self then creates, at least in part, your self-image.

    The relationship between you as a human being (Self) and you as a social being in relationship with others (Others) plays a role in so many aspects of our lives. Self and Others governs where you put your attention when you are in a group (the attention meta-program), it influences where you locate the concept of authority (the authority meta-program), and it also influences both your sense of morality (how you treat other people) and your sense of responsibility (where you draw the responsibility for and responsibility to line).

    As a human being, the social dimension of your life critically influences so many aspects of the life that you live. It is through others that we become human as we are socialized to be able to live in community with others. It is through others that we engage in business which is essentially working with and through others. It is through others and with others that we experience the richest aspects of life. It is in relation to others that we want to make a difference and leave a legacy. It is in relation to others that we communicate and relate. It is in relation to others that you strive to be a real person, authentic.

    To learn more about being real, contact Shawn for your free intake coaching session

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