“Thinking should always be an active process where you think in a way that get you the results you want.”
“Lessons aren’t just about what to learn. Lessons should be about how to learn.”
“As soon as we believe in something, we search for ways to prove it’s true.”
“One of the main focuses in my work,” Richard Bandler wrote, “has been discovering ways to help people achieve what I call “personal freedom”. Personal freedom means having freedom to be able to control your thoughts and to manifest the kinds of feelings you want in your life.”
Indeed, a widely acclaimed keynote speaker and workshop leader and the author of Using Your Brain–for a Change, Time for a Change, and Magic in Action, is a father and co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Bandler also coauthored Frogs into Princes, Persuasion Engineering, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volumes I and II, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming Volume I.
Get the Life You Want, is designed to be a guide for behavior; it is a guide to help those interested in fast change and proven results to make transformations and avoid therapy and a slow, long process of change.
One of Bandler’s essential points-and one particularly prescient in the context of what modern psychology has found in decades since-has to do with crucial power of thoughts and internal representation. We are often imprisoned by our own thoughts and we allow ourselves to think ourselves into problems. “However, since most problems are created by our imagination,” he argues, “and are thus imaginary, all we need are imaginary solutions.”
“Having worked with thousands of people from all over the world with different kinds of problems, I have found that people’s biggest barriers to change,” Owen Fitzpatrick, editor of Bandler’s Get The Life You Want, writes, “are often their own minds and, specifically, their own beliefs.” He further elaborates:
“We have been trained to believe that change isn’t easy and requires a lot of effort and a lot of time. I’ve always found this to be simply not true.”
Fitzpatrick insists, mastering the principle of our own internal world and ability to change our thinking, can make the critical difference in leading us toward a meaningful and fulfilled life. He writes:
“Over the years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Richard, and experienced in my life, it is that there is no such thing as a hopeless case. There is always hope, and there is always a way out of your problems. You can take control over your beliefs, and you can stop getting in your own way.”
“Nothing wears off, because as long as you think differently, you will feel differently.”
Fitzpatrick advices to follow through on what we learned:
“When you can see just how easy change can be, you can begin to take control over your life and make all the change you want-but you need to take the action. It is so important that you follow through on these exercises and techniques. If you do, you will get results. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.”
And the fork in the road of psychology and experiments, like having the phobics face their difficulties and try to help them desensitize to their fear over time or the psychoanalytical approach of traveling back in time and re-living traumas, looking for deep, hidden, inner meaning – continued to be solution, the idea based on the concept that insight produces change.
Sigmund Freud started this concept, and it has been tried for some 100 years in various forms – if you could understand your problems somehow, they would just disappear. Bandler explains:
“The suggestion was that understanding the psyche could produce change. The idea that you could help a person change verbally rather than physically was a promising insight itself. However, the idea of getting insight into your problems just doesn’t work.”
And yet, Bandler searched for answers as putting people through pain of re-living their unpleasant, and even, horrific experiences seamed paradoxical; he didn’t look at past but tried to figure out what went wrong instead. He learned from those that succeeded; he writes:
“I did not look for “what went wrong” or the “whys.” I did not look for cures. I looked at what worked, no matter how. If a few good therapists “fixed” anybody, I looked at what they actually did. When people got over problems on their own, I looked at what had happened. The result is what is now called Neuro-Linguistic Programming-that is, a series of lessons that teach what others have learned that works.”
He takes care to note that the problem is that most people who smoke for a while realize that it’s not good for their health. They may even know why they started smoking – to look cool in front of their friends or to get over a nervous habit or not to eat as much – yet even though people know why they smoke, he argues, it doesn’t make them stop.
For anyone who has ever experienced the soul-squeezing sense of fearfulness, and we seem to have forgotten how to acquire a new behavior, Bandler’s words resonate with particular poignancy:
“The real issue is they’ve developed a habit of being afraid when they don’t need to be. They have learned to engage in a certain behavior that is, in and of itself, destructive. It destroys your quality of life. It destroys your freedom. It destroys the opportunity you have to live in a free society.”
“If you’ve been afraid most of your life, you may not have good examples of what “happy” is. In that case, you can build it in. That’s what I do. You have to give people a really strong feeling of being relaxed, a really strong feeling of feeling good as a guide for their behavior. You do this so that, in the future when they wake up, they start asking, How much fun can I have today? How much freedom can I find? How much more can I do than I’ve done before?”
What Bandler suggests, is a gateway into precisely that elusive nature and offers a pathway, a map, of the how to feel passion:
“When people start asking good questions, they make good pictures inside their heads. If you make good pictures, you will get good feelings. Then life becomes something that you feel more enthusiasm for.”
In a sentiment that the wise and wonderful James Allen would come to echo decades ago in his courageous call for deciding how to view our world, Bandler adds:
“If you can help people to think differently and actively, they can change their lives. If you’re trying to motive yourself and you’re thinking about how hard it is, it will be hard. I always say to people, If you’re looking for difficulties, you’ll always find them. If you ask the questions, What can go wrong? then something probably will. On the other hand, if you’re asking the question, What works? then you can find it.”
“When you learn how people think, you can teach them how to change the way they think.”
“When you think in a new way, you get to do new things and you get to feel new things.”
“The easier you can make it inside your head, the easier it will make things outside your head.”
Bandler sums it up beautifully:
“So choose what you’re going to believe and what you’re not going to believe, the more you’re in charge of your own mental processes, the more you’ll in charge of your life.”
In its entirety, Get The Life You Want, Bandler goes on to equip us with the necessary tools and step by step guidelines for undertaking tasks to change for lifetime. In his three sections, getting over, getting through and getting to it, Bandler teaches precisely how to get over fears and phobias, grief and bad relationship, or how to get over habits and compulsions, physical recovery and big evens, and getting to fun, love, exercise, making more money, and making big decisions and much, much more.
Complement it with John Medina’s Brian Rules, and Mindset by Carol Dweck and for even more encounter, reach for Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search For Meaning.