Three Dimensions of Reality

~Dr.L. Michael Hall~

Outside – Inside – Upside

“What is Neuro-Semantics?” I get that question all of the time. And over the years, I’ve answered the question in many different ways. Here is another one. Neuro-Semantics is a model about the various dimensions of life- outside, inside, and upside.
All things human are inside-out. Of course, it usually does not seem to be that way. Instead life more often than not, seems to be an outside-in phenomenon. That’s why Behaviorism was the first model of psychology and dominated the field until 1956. This explains why the very idea of wealth and wealth creation as inside-out (Inside-Out Wealth) is radical and counter-intuitive. So is the idea of health and fitness being an inside-out phenomenon (Games Fit and Slim People Play).
. Someone criticizes you (outside), you feel upset (inside).
. There’s a traffic jam and you are late for an important meeting (outside) and you are feeling stressed and even angry at the traffic (inside).
. You want a raise at work because of some recent unexpected financial costs (outside), so you are studying to prepare yourself to make the best request possible (inside), if your boss to raise your chances of success (outside).
It seems outside-in, but it is not. The truth is that life is an inside-out affair.
. What someone says to you (outside) is only “criticism” (inside) because you define it as such. Your definition and understanding creates your emotional state of being upset (inside).
. The meaning that you give (inside) to the fact that there is a lot of traffic (outside) depends on your thoughts and beliefs and to your thinking about “time” (inside) and your preparation prior to leaving your house (outside).
. That you want(inside) a raise due to your finances (outside) motivates you (inside) to do what you can (outside) to become more influential in your communications (outside).
The inside phenomena is the key. The inside controls how you experience the outside. The outside is easier to see- it is more obvious and easily seems more “real.” No wonder your attention goes to the outside! You attend to it, you notice it, you focus on it, and if it is not to your liking, you attempt to change it. Doing this takes you fully into the outside dimension. That’s where you live your life. Because of this, you live your life in an outside-in way. That’s one way to live. It is one way to perceive (e.g., have certain meta-programs). It is the way most people live. But it is not the only way, nor the best way.


As a way to live, the living outside-in style creates all sorts of problems.
Among the key symptoms of this dimension are the following:
. You are highly likely to feel controlled by the outside world. You believe and behave as if it causes your experiences. You may even feel like you are a victim of the outside world.
. You feel little power -sometimes no power- to effect the outside world. You live in a deterministic world rather than a world where there is free will.
. You focus on getting the outside world of things and others to change- you play various games to deal with the outside world: victim, persecutor, rescuer.
. When it does not work, you blame those things and people on the outside for your state and your state of mind and emotion.
A further consequence of living outside-in includes living a shallow life.
When your focus is on the outside, you tend to live on the surface of things. What counts for you are the external things-money, status, influence, beauty, certificates, etc. Obviously, this feeds living a materialistic life and missing out on a deeper and more spiritual life.

Inside-Out Life

Another way to live life is in the dimension of being orienting from the inside-out. This is our focus in Neuro-Semantics, a focus that came from NLP and before that the Self-Actualization (Humanistic) Psychology of Maslow and Rogers and the Human Potential Movement. Inside-out puts the emphasis on the character of the person rather than the condition of the material world. It reclaims Socrates’ theme, “Know thyself” as a key to being able to manage things. It starts with self-management. If you can’t lead or manage yourself, you won’t be able to manage things out there in the outside world. When you enter into this dimension, you enter into a new and different world.
The inside-out life also taps into what is now called “emotional intelligence.” Prior to that popularization, in NLP we called it state management. Today we think about emotional intelligence as involving five facets:
. Self-awareness: aware of what you are thinking, feeling, saying to yourself, kinesthetics, body movements and gestures, etc.
. Self-monitoring: able to monitor the ups and downs of thoughts and emotions, to monitor what triggers various responds, when and where and with whom one’s insides oscillates.
. Self-regulation: able to manage or regulate the micro-behaviors of thinking, feeling, emoting, languaging, etc.
. Self-responsibility: willingness to accept ownership of the inside dimension, and to choose one’s thoughts, feelings, words, etc.
. Self-relating: using one’s insides to connect with others, bond, understand, listen, care, set boundaries, empathize, etc.
The consequences of living in the dimension of inside-out and using this approach is that you take control of your own self and tap into the cognitive psychology principle. “As you think- so you are.” You are as you mentally map the worlds that you live in, and yet “the map is not the territory,” it is just a map-a process that you use to navigate the outside world. If it is not working, you change or update the map and test again.
Does it now work? If not, you continue to experimenting and testing until you develop a mental model in your mind (inside) that allows you to succeed outside.

Upside- Inside-Out Dimension

“But wait, there’s more!” There is yet another dimension that many people who do use the inside-out approach do not use. When you enter into the upside dimension you enter into yet another entirely new world. Here you use your self-reflexive consciousness– that uniquely human kind of consciousness by which you can transcend yourself. You can step back as it were from what you are thinking, feeling, speaking, responding, etc. and reflect on your experience which thereby gives you the ability to change your experience.
This is a meta-awareness of your self-awareness. That is, it goes beyond (far beyond) mere self-awareness. The higher intelligent animals experience self-awareness. Beyond that is the awareness of your awareness- a meta-awareness. This meta-awareness of your self-awareness itself leads to a tremendous mystery of consciousness, your sense of transcendence. We humans universally experience the ability to transcend ourselves and our experiences. At the further reaches of this is our sense of spirituality.
More practically, you can become aware of your thinking patterns-your cognitive distortions, your cognitive biases, the patterns of how you reason and when you move to this area, you are able to do critical thinking and creative thinking- which is the source of our sciences and civilizations.
Here you discover your frames- the internal contexts that you use to make sense of things. Here you discover your inside source of things (your frames within yours) and here you can step back to quality control these inside structures. Here you can create change that will be transformative of your entire mind-body system.
You live simultaneously in three dimensions of reality. What is most compelling and seemingly “real” is the outside dimension. Yet the outside is a product of the inside dimensions. Your real life occurs in the inside dimensions. The first inside dimension are your thoughts and emotions, your states. Here, “as you think, so you are.” The highest and deepest inside dimension is the upside dimension because it is there that you set the frames that govern your overall life. And that’s why we do Neuro-Semantics and Self Leadership.
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