Friday, March 10, 2006

Outside the Bowl

A friend and I are running a workshop next week on Thinking Outside the Bowl(TM). One of the ways we ourselves are moving into a wider frame is to see one another as collaborators instead of competitors. Thinking is not a commodity: everyone who teaches it well creates opportunities for other teachers, trainers, and coaches.

Our company name presents another frame: NLP, neuro-linguistic programming. More accurately now, to us it represents the infinite flexibility with which we can combine neurology, language and physiology to represent, understand, and live our experience of the world. When we model our thinking as something we do with mind and body and words, we begin to understand how patterns can be recognized before they can be analyzed. This is the beginning of trusting ourselves as complete beings to think faster and make better choices than we had thought possible.

What about the patterns that entrap us instead of enabling us? We move beyond those patterns by borrowing someone else's perceptions. We think like someone who is outside the pattern and soon we see what was hidden from us. There are no traps: there are only limits on our perspectives. When we borrow a new perspective, we acquire eyes in the back of our heads. That's how our mothers did it: they simply borrowed our points of view and used them to keep an eye on us.

Thinking outside the bowl (TM) is, more than anything else, borrowing a new set of eyes and turning them towards ourselves so that we can see how we look, and what is behind us. We stop living in a future that hasn't happened yet, and focus on the moment we are in and the experiences that have created it. Paradoxically, seeing what we are and what we have been is the shortest route to seeing ourselves in a future made out of the best of what has come before.

* Note Thinking Outside the Bowl (TM) is a registered trademark of Big Fish Interactive inc.

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