The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, February 04, 2005


One of the best things to come out of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is the concept of modeling.  What Bandler and Grinder said, in essence, is that if you can extract from a role model his mental syntax, belief systems, and usage of physiology, and implant them in your own subconscious, that you can learn their skills at a drastically accelerated rate.  Let me put this another way:
If you want to learn how to bake a cake, there are several approaches. 
1) you can just sort of "figger out" what a cake is, throw some flour and eggs together, leave the mess in the sun.  Try a different jerry-rigged method every day, and eventually, you'll come up with something that tastes pretty much like a cake.  Frankly, 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters have about as good a chance of coming up with HAMLET.
2) You can ask random strangers for their approach.  This will definitely produce interesting and tastier results--especially if  you take careful notes.
3) You can get a recipe book written by an acknowledged "expert", follow the directions, and you will have an even better chance.  In fact, this is a common and excellent approach.
4) the best approach: taste a lot of cakes.  Find one that tastes EXACTLY like you want yours to taste.  Find the cook, and arrange to be with them the next time they bake that cake.  Follow them around the store, and then around the kitchen: learn exactly what ingredients they use, and in what proportions.  In what order to they mix them, and with what implements at what settings, and with a kitchen at what temperature and humidity.  How do they cook it, in what oven, at what setting for what time.  To the degree that  you can accurately observe what they did AND THEN DUPLICATE IT, in one day you can learn to make a cake it took someone thirty years to learn to bake.
Please re-read that last sentence.
What in the heck do you think this column is?  It is teachng you my mental syntax (the order in  which I do things), belief systems, and use of physiology.  Gee, does that sound like Mind, Spirit and Body?  it darned well should--that Triangle just done popped up again!  Let's look at those three things as I've used them in my life, especially my writing life.
1) Mental syntax: read ten times as much as you write.  Write every day.  Structure emotional arcs to reflect the Hero's Journey.  Understand as many different reality models as possible.  Set measurable goals and refer to them daily.
2) Belief systems: I can do it.  Writing is a valuable contribution to society.  Talent doesn't exist--just honesty and hard work.  I can improve constantly. 
3) Use of physiology: Keep energy high.  Get plenty of sleep.  Eat today for how I want to feel tomorrow.  Apply butt to chair.  Keep proper posture.  Exercise for energy and health--daily.
Those are very rough guidelines.  I would suggest that you talk to your favorite writers,and do what you can to extract THEIR Triangle.  Then use the techniques presented here, or researched on your own, to  implant them. 
And, of course--the cornerstone of my daily physical practise, whether doing Yoga, Clubbells, Kettlebells, Hindu Pushups/Squats or anything else is the Be Breathed technique and the Five Minute Miracle.  If you haven't made this modest investment in your future, please don't hesitate.  For the cost of a decent Sushi dinner, you can change your life.
End of commercial.

No comments: