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Finding Your Inner Wisdom Through Self Discovery

 The success of a leader is derived from the drive to achieve something greater than that of their parents.  In this pursuit of success, it’s crucial that you know who you are and where you’re going.  Imagine an individual with great lung capacity like a marathon runner; he can run for hours at a time, but if he doesn’t know where the finish line is, you can never get there.  No matter how long you can run for.  Eventually, your body will quit and never finish the race.  One of the reasons why many people get lost in the ocean without a compass is that they have no idea where their destination is, nor do they know their present location.  A large part of achieving success in business and life is knowing where you’re going.  So let’s do a quick exercise first:

Exercise: Finding your Dream

I’ve done these exercises with clients from all over the world.  They’ve proven to reveal many hidden powers within who you are.  They are designed for your self discovery and understanding.  This particular exercise is designed to help you find where you’re looking to go with your life.  As you perform this exercise, read each direction individually and take the recommended action before reading the next.

1. Take out a blank sheet of paper and make 4 columns

2. In the first column, write down specifically what your goals are.  Be as specific as possible – how much money you’d like to make, the size of your house(s), vacation places, family.  Make sure to number each goal.

3. In the second column, jot down the obstacles that you’ll face in trying to reach each of the goals.

4. In the third column, list the actions you are currently taking to overcome those obstacles.  Be honest with yourself.  No one will see this accept you.  A “nothing” in this column is absolutely okay.

5. In the final column, look back at the goals in column 1, see the obstacles standing in front of you, watch yourself take the necessary actions to overcome those obstacles. Then, write down how you’d feel when that goal is accomplished.  Make sure this is an emotional word, such as happy, secure, or scared.

6. Now looking back at the exercise, which column is your TRUE goal? 

 Research has shown that less than 6% of the world writes down their goals.  By performing this exercise, you’ve already elevated yourself to the top 6% of the world.  Stay tuned to this column as I’ll share with you an insight from this exercise next month.  Another fun activity you can do based on this activity is to have a conversation with your family or business about these goals.  If they know what your goals are explicitly in writing, they’ll be able to help you. 

Now that you know where you’re going, there are some basic skills that you must develop.  An important skill is your ability to sell yourself.  Whether you’re a salesperson or someone looking to start a business or a leader of an organization, you need some basic skills of selling yourself as the product.  Selling yourself is about building rapport with other people.  The fundamentals of these skills are closely tied to one’s programming.  In neuro linguistic programming (NLP), they’re called Meta programs (in a book titled NLP by Bavister & Vickers, 2004).

Yes, all human beings are programmed to behave in a certain way based on environmental inputs.  Just imagine when you hear an individual walking by with a heavy accent.  You know he came from another country, just like you.  He’s very well dressed and walks with confidence.  You watch him walk across the street; he gets into his Porsche – a black convertible Boxster, and drives away.  Automatically, you’ll have an opinion of this individual.  Much of the opinions we make about people and events is created from your programming. 

Here’s some of the basic programming of people: 1. toward and away patterns; 2. internal and external patterns; 3. general and specific preferences; 4. matching and mismatching; and 5. convincer patterns.  In order to learn to build rapport with all people, you’ll need to learn to determine how they’re programmed and speak to them in their language. This goes above and beyond English or Spanish.  This is the universal language of humanity that all people speak.  Before you can learn what another person’s programming might be, use yourself as test subject.  You are full of programming; the more you understand yourself, the better you’ll be able to see how other people are programmed.

First, the toward or away patterns define how people think.  People who tend to think in future terms and goals are toward thinking patterns.  They tend to be optimists and put a lot of energy into what they want.  Often, their downfall is that they may ignore potential pitfalls in the pursuit of their goals.  On the other hand, the people with the away thinking pattern tend to avoid potential problems.  These are the people who often see all kinds of problems and often get side-tracked.  You may have a friend who always takes a long time to finish anything, because they’re always getting caught up in something else.

The internal and external patterns define how people determine their success or the approval of themselves.  For internal types, inner feelings of success are all that’s required.  No outside reference is needed.  President Bush is likely to operate an internal pattern.  He know what he wants to achieve and don’t require outside information.  When taken to extreme, this could result to not caring about what others think.  Quite the reverse, other people may constantly require feedback from outside courses.  These external types need affirmation from friends and/or research data to prove their worth.  At times, without external interaction, they may feel lost. 

General and specific preferences deal with the type of information certain people prefer.  When communicating with people who have general preference, you’ll want to stay at a high level or with abstract concepts.  Too much detail will stress them out.  Yet, some people love the specifics of stories.  They’re enjoy having every “i” dotted and “t” crossed.  These are people with specific preferences.  Use the words “precisely” or “exactly” often when communicating with these individuals.

In general, people look at external information with two types of understanding.  The people with the matching pattern tend to look for things they have in common.  They seek common experiences and create connections with others.  They build a friendship very easily.  In contrast, there are also people who challenge the status quo on a regular basis.  These are people with the mismatching pattern.  With every story, they look for what seems to be missing or a flaw in the argument.  Most lawyers prefer this pattern of behavior when working.

Finally, one of the most important patterns to keep an eye on is how people are convinced.  There are five different methods of convincer patterns used by people. 

1.              See: these people have to see it for themselves, before believing that you can delivery.

2.              Hear: some want to hear it from other people who have had similar experiences to be convinced.

3.              Read: these people need to read it from a credible source.  If it’s in writing, it must be true.

4.              Do: you’ll have to do it first, before they’ll be convinced that you can.

5.              Feel: these people cannot be convinced from an external source.  They tend to listen to their inner voice.  If they feel connected to you, you’ve convinced them without taking any action.

These patterns work together in a mixture of basic human behaviors.  Over the next 10 days, explore who you are and see if you can identify which pattern you have a preference towards.  Every two days, determine one of the five basic programming patterns within you.  Once you master the art of identifying these patterns in you, you’ll begin to learn how to identify these basic programs in other people.  With further development of these skills, you will be able to communicate with anyone, sell anything – including yourself, and achieve great success in anything you choose to do. 

 By Dr. Ted Sun 

March, 2005

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