Thursday, 30 September 2010

I can’t hear what you are saying

Here is a scan of a birthday card from my last birthday ( I was 60, but don’t tell anyone. They think I’m 29!) and recently a new friend on Facebook “liked” it.
I  liked it so much I used it for my Facebook Profile Picture for a while, but it does beg the question:

image Is it true that Senior Citizens smile because they can’t hear what you’re saying?

Probably (……. NOT!)

It makes me laugh because according to the classifications I am a Senior Citizen (HEY out there! 60 IS THE NEW 40!) but I have to admit I enjoy the free bus travel, the discounts on the trains and I am even going to get a Heating Allowance this year.

Here’s the deal

  • with age supposedly comes wisdom and a Senior can become a place where people come for advise (I have a teenage daughter … tell me about it)
  • Seniors  have probably experienced many things and instinctively know how to do stuff  (You think? Most people think I can do almost everything – please don’t tell them I can’t , I love the celebrity!)
  • 0,,21281620,00[1]A Senior is probably more passive and less excitable (This is ME you’re talking about … less excitable?! Yeah Right!)   

You see, with all that demand, the one thing a Senior does enjoy is a little bit of piece and quiet ……… “sorry, what did you say?” “Sorry, I didn’t hear you”.

0,,21281620,00[1]And, of course, the great thing about having a bus pass is that I can tell people that I am coming to visit but not tell them how long forNOW, THAT IS SENIOR!

Can you hear me? Ha ha

Superhero illustrations by Donald Soffritti
have a look at to see the mates I go partying with

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

“If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball” ~ Phil Jackson

Although Phil Jackson went onto coach the Lakers, for me I will always associate him with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1998 -
                            Michael Jordan (probably the greatest basketball player that has ever lived), Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (who I later saw playing for Orlando), Bill Cartwright, Will Perdue, Luc Longley (A “Boomer” - Australian national player),  Toni Kukoč,  many great players and of course Dennis Rodman!

For me that decade in NBA were the (excuse the pun) Magic Years and while that was happening Channel 4 took NBA into the living rooms of UK fans – brilliant times!

Jackson_Phil[1] "Once you've done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line. That means not only being brave, but being compassionate towards yourself, your teammates and your opponents."

"Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength."

"If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball."

~ Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson

Born 1945, the NBA Hall of Fame describe him as:

Intellectual, spiritualist, maverick, athlete, coach, modestly successful player in the NBA
A coach that left his footprint on the history of the game
A coaching philosophy heavily influenced by Native American and Eastern philosophy

At the helm of two of the greatest dynasties in NBA history
Coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Guided the Lakers to three straight titles (2000, 2001, 2002)

Tied with the legendary Red Auerbach for first on the all-time list
The fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins.

One of the 10 greatest head coaches in NBA history


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Money makes the world go round ...

“Access not Recess” 

Earlier this year, “Access not Recess” was my slogan for a while.
I have heard opinions expressed that The Recession is not over but only on an upward curve ready for a severe down curve and that is consistent with past patterns of Global Economy.

Money must circulate because it is an energy and energy must flow!

Here is a amusing story that was being shared on Facebook last year

In a small town on the South Coast of France, the holiday season is
in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business
taking place. Everyone is heavily in debt.

Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local
He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter,
takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the
third floor.

The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat
supplier to whom he owes E100. The butcher takes the money and races to
his supplier to pay his debt.

The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay E100 for pigs he purchased
some time ago.

The farmer triumphantly gives the E100 note to a local prostitute who
gave him her services on credit.

The prostitute quickly goes to the hotel, as she was owing the hotel for
her hourly room used to entertain clients.

At that moment, the rich Russian comes down to reception and informs the
hotel owner that the room is unsatisfactory and takes his E100 back and

There was no profit or income.
But everyone no longer has any debt and the small town's people look
optimistically towards their future.

Could this be the solution to the global financial crisis?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Ever Wonder?

Another amusing posting from, which asks some very interesting questions:
  • Why is it the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?questions[1]
  • Why can’t women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
  • Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
  • Why is "abbreviated"is such a long word?
  • Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?
  • Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on "Start"?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
  • Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food?
  • When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?
  • Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
  • Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
  • You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
  • Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
  • Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
  • If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Read more:

Sunday, 26 September 2010


“We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes” ~ John F. Kennedy

Image from

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Overcoming Barriers to Learning

Following on from Ian Dyer’s article Can you Improve your Reading or Spelling?, which I posted on 21st August, this is a second article from my Mentor and Coach Tina Taylor, from her blog at Tina Taylor Training BlogSpot.

This article was first published on 31st August, 2010 and Tina, is the “Tina” that Ian refers to in his article.

I posted Tina’s article about PNI – Psychoneuroimmunology on 24th June 2010

Overcoming Barriers to Learning

image In this day and age there are opportunities for learning all around us; many people say they want a career change and some of these need to learn new skills possibly go back to college or university. Some of these are lucky enough to have companies who will assist them in their quest; the workplace can provide excellent opportunities for learning and continuous personal development.

Many review opportunities and never get started; whilst others start, they begin full of enthusiasm, excited at the prospect of creating a new future then something happens that stops them.
Firstly, let’s examine, what is learning? It is a physical process, some may argue that it is a mental process and this is the traditional way of defining learning. Yet when thoughts occur, something physical happens to us. When external events take place, physical processes take place in our bodies in reaction to them; these processes establish memories, reinforce or create behaviours and beliefs and change our physiology.

Our learning begins before birth, taking place in our development and continues throughout our lives. In the beginning we learn how to control movement, to feed and communicate with others; learning who we are and about the world around us. And it is here that we may learn other things, beliefs about ourselves, things that we inadvertently pick up from those around us.

For example: “I can’t dance”
“I’m not musical/artistic”
“I can’t spell”
“I can’t change”
“I always fail”
“I’m stupid”

These are just a few statements that people may learn about themselves, beliefs that hold them back limiting their self development. Beliefs that were learnt physically then metaphorically into their bodies through individual experience.

Can these beliefs be un-learned? Certainly and generally very quickly using various NLP techniques.
What we believe about ourselves can easily influence our ability to think and learn; this can also be influenced by the mood that we are in, our state. Our states serve as a filter for the information that we receive; when learning our physical and mental state is just as important as the level of training and information delivered. Discovering your learning state and how to access it will enable you to get yourself into the appropriate state as and when required.

As well as having a state that best suits the learning process people have individual learning styles that they have developed. For example some people prefer to be shown how to do something, learning by watching or reading; whereas others prefer to be told how to do something, learning by listening and discussion; and then there are those who learn best by doing, they like to try things out.

From the NLP perspective learning styles can be either paced or lead, as a tutor/trainer the information can be presented in a way that matches the person’s preferred way of learning; as well as helping the person to enrich their learning style by helping them strengthen their other senses. Recognizing peoples natural learning styles is an important skill for all communicators, and can enhance the effectiveness and ease with which they can influence their listeners.

Many people today are discovering that NLP is a powerful tool that can be used for personal development as well as in the business arena. Teaching techniques that enable us to get the best out of others as well as ourselves providing strategies for coping with and managing those difficult moments in life.

Much can be learned from books but NLP is experiential and learning from a skilled trainer is invaluable.
Come along to our practice group to experience NLP for yourself.
Tina Taylor

Posted by Tina Taylor on 31st August. 2010

Tina Taylor

is a Master Trainer of NLP and Clinical Hypnotherapist who has a private Practice in Surrey and also Harley Street, London W1 and she regularly runs certificated Training Courses in NLP as well as designing and running in house training for Companies in the City, using a combination of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Thought Field Therapy (TFT) and Hypnosis in her Private Practice.

Tina says

“I first became interested in NLP and Hypnosis in the 90’s whilst working in the Human Resource sector I attended a Practitioner Training Course.  The techniques learnt on that course enabled me to transform my personal and professional life enabling me to set up my very successful private consultancy and produce internationally acclaimed self help CDs.”


(the “The Art of Sleeping Restfully”, “Healing with Hypnosis” and “Fertility”, are available at


“I have studied the work of Dr Richard Bandler (co-creator of NLP), Dr Milton H Erickson (Milton is accepted as one of the founders of modern hypnotherapy), Paul McKenna, John La Valle (President of the Society of NLP), Frank Farrelly (creator or Provocative Therapy) and Michael Neill.

Since 2000 I have either assisted on or ran the assisting team for Paul McKenna’s NLP courses in the UK, which has given me a unique opportunity to meet and work with Paul McKenna (incredibly talented author, therapist and hypnotist) and Dr Richard Bandler (one of today's genius’s).”

Contact Tina on 01883 345683 or visit for private consultation work

Friday, 24 September 2010

Instant Human – just add coffee

 coffee_god[1]Cousin Elly is the world's worst at getting instructions mixed up. When she got married her husband bought her one of those fancy, electric coffee makers. It had all the latest gadgets on it.

Salesman Riley carefully explained how everything worked; how to plug it in, set the timer, go back to bed, and upon rising, the coffee is ready."

A few weeks later Elly was back in the store and Riley asked her how she liked the coffee maker. "Wonderful!" she replied, "However, there's one thing I don't understand. Why do I have to go to bed every time I want to make a pot of coffee?"


Thursday, 23 September 2010

60 seconds of happiness

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness ~

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American philosopher, lecturer, poet, and essayist


 Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) is best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement. He expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature.

Emerson was considered one of the great lecturers of his time. He had enthusiasm and respected his audience

imageIn 1837, he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar, considered by  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence". He was seen as a champion of individualism and expressed his thinking through dozens of essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the U.S.

Most of his important essays started life as lectures.  His first two collections of essays – Essays: First Series , were published in 1841 and Essays: Second Series in 1844.

source wikipedia

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The beauty of data visualization

imageIn this blog post I have included a fascinating video of David McCandless presenting how he uses visualisation to appreciate information in a very different way.  It is truly enlightening!
In society today, information has reached levels never experienced before - “a Glut”.
David explains that we are now demanding visual aspects to information we are receiving - that we are all visualisers now. He refers to this as the “language of the eyes”.

“Let the dataset change the mindset”

As says
“by turning complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams he can tease out unseen patterns and connections.
Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut  and it may just change the way we see the world.”
From an NLP perspective, when he shows the “bandwidth of our senses measured in computer terms”, as a Practitioner, I begin to rethink how I might deal with clients, because I have never considered the velocity of each of the individual senses before.

David McCandless

in his Facebook page, David says of himself:
“I'm a London-based author, writer and designer. I’ve written for The Guardian, Wired and others. I’m into anything strange and interesting, particularly visualizing information - facts, data, ideas, issues - as excellently as possible.” more from Ted....

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Drunk Idiot (via Free Bar Jokes)

A drunk walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "Drinks for all on me. That is including you, bartender." 
totally-drunk[1]The bartender follows the man's order and says, "That will be $42.50 please."
The drunk says he has no money, and the bartender slaps him around and throws him out.

The next night, the same drunk comes in and orders a drink for everyone in the bar including the bartender. Again, the bartender follows the drunk's instructions and the drunk and the drunk says he has no money. So the bartender slaps him around and throws him out.

On the third night he comes in, the drunk orders drinks for everyone except the bartender. The bartender says, “What, no drink for me?“

“Oh, no. You get violent when you drink.“

via Free Bar Jokes

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sometimes you’re the pigeon…


Sometimes you're the pigeon, and sometimes you're the statue ~ Bernie Bickerstaff

Bernard Tyrone "Bernie" Bickerstaff  
born February 11, 1944 Benham Kentucky

In 2008, Bickerstaff was hired along with long time NBA assistant Bob Ociepka to be an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls. imageHe was hired to aid the team's rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro

On July 27, 2010, Bickerstaff was hired as an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers.

source wikipedi

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Hermann Grid Illusion

In the Hermann Grid Illusion, the white dots at the centre of each square seem to shift from white to grey.


What Do You See?

98px-Ludimar_Hermann[1] The Hermann grid was first discovered by a physiologist named Ludimar Hermann in 1870. When the viewer looks at the grid, the white dots and the centre of each 'corridor' seem to shift between white and grey. When the viewer focused his or her attention on a specific dot, it is obvious that it is white. But as soon as attention is shifted away, the dot shifts to a grey colour.

How Does the Hermann Grid Illusion Work?

So why do people see grey where there should be white? Why do we see something so different from reality?

Researchers have traditionally used what is known as lateral inhibition to explain why people see these grey areas. This phenomena demonstrates a very important principle of perception: we don't always see what's really there. Our perceptions depend upon how our visual system responds to environmental stimuli and how our brain then interprets this information.1

However, there is evidence suggesting that this explanation is likely inaccurate. The fact that the illusion is not dependent upon size, can be seen with contrast reversal and can be negated by slightly distorting the lines have been cited as reasons why the classic theory is wrong. One possible explanation that has been proposed is known as the S1 simple-cell theory.2

image of Hermann

Saturday, 18 September 2010


image A tightwad was convinced by a friend to buy a couple of lottery tickets. But after he won the big prize he didn’t seem happy. “What’s wrong?” the friend asked. “You just became a millionaire!” “I know,” he groaned, “But I can’t imagine why I bought that second ticket!”

Read more:

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Queen of Crime

I came across this quotation and decided to blog it because 
“things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you” clearly describes where I am at ………. Enjoy!

image“I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you” ~ Agatha Christie

An Autobiography, 1977

The Queen of Crime

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time.  She has sold over two billion books worldwide and has been translated into over 45 languages.  In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote eighty novels and short story collections.  She also wrote over a dozen plays, including The Mousetrap, which is now the longest running play in theatrical history.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

NLP and Autism

is article was first published in June 2010 by Michael Carroll in the NLP Academy newsletter.
I met both Michael and Rowan recently. Rowan is a remarkable young man!
He and his father are about to walk the Great Wall of China to raise money for the National Autistic Society
Please read this inspiring story and donate to their cause

Michael and Rowan - a personal story
By Michael Carroll

imaging[1] My son Rowan was diagnosed as a small boy as having Aspergers Syndrome. Aspergers syndrome is a condition that is currently classified as a sub type on the autism spectrum. It affects four times as many boys than girls. Autism is characterised by a triad of impairments including difficulties in communication, social interaction and inflexibility with repetitiveness in activities and interests.  The challenges people who are on the spectrum face are multiple, including perceptual difficulties, hyper/hyposensitivity, social awkwardness and misreading non-verbal communication to name a few. Autism is not a sickness or mental illness, therefore there is no cure. It is a lifelong condition, but with the right coaching and support individuals on the autistic spectrum can lead fulfilled lives.
Rowan and I have decided to walk the Great Wall of China (well part of it) in October 2010 to raise funds for the National Autistic Society. This walk will be the first of the many adventures.  We are calling our project ‘Walking for Autism’.  Our goal is to raise funds and awareness of this condition.  In this article (as well as others) I will share my NLP experiences and my experience as a father. I hope I can help and support other parents guide their children and adults through the challenges that people on the autism spectrum face.  If you would like to support our walk by making a donation, there is a link to our ‘Just Giving’ page at the end of this article.
National Autistic SocietyRaising money for National Autistic Society
Charity Registration No. 269425
The National Autistic Society exists to champion the rights and interests of over half a million people with autism and to ensure that they and their families receive quality services appropriate to their needs.
As a father, I have watched and coached Rowan through primary school, secondary school and college. Now Rowan is 21 there are new challenges such as supporting and guiding a young adult on the autistic spectrum through many social complications and getting a full time job. The frightening fact is only 1 in 5 adults on the spectrum are in full time employment.  Personally this statistic repulses me.  I find it sickening that in a modern and equal society, certain groups still remain marginalised. Anyone who knows me will confirm I am a deeply private person and have until now, never written up my experiences about how I have used NLP to support my son.  This is in part motivated by something quite fundamental in me, and that is a deep commitment for inclusiveness and equality in all parts of society and that includes my family.  After all, I didn’t write up about how I have used NLP with my other three (non autistic children) so why should Rowan be written about publicly or his case study feature in an NLP course?  I have taken a different stand on this now, with Rowan’s permission with the intention of raising awareness and funds.
Rowan is my eldest son, his mother and I were so proud (as we still are) on the day he came into this world on 7 April 1988. To me as a young man, being a Dad was a little scary, yet I was relishing the years ahead. From an NLP perspective, one builds internal representations (a mental future) of the father/son relationship unfolding through the years ahead. Rowan was a quiet baby and toddler. We didn’t realise at the time that this is one sign of autism in a child. Rowan in his early years demonstrated many other attributes associated with autism such as fixation on certain toys and games as well as slow language development.
One of his earliest fixations was Thomas the Tank Engine; he would play for hours with his Thomas the Tank toy and watch the videos many times. Then he got fixated on Mr Men where he could draw, with perfect detail, all the Mr Men characters. There have been many fixations since, the current one is 1970’s comedy shows, particularly Dad’s Army.  Fixations are one pattern that are a feature of autism, and in my opinion as long as they do not become obsessions they are harmless. In fact I take part in Rowan’s fixations; he is delighted when I watch Dad’s Army with him. Captain Mainwaring and his crew give us many useful discussion opportunities that I can map to real world situations.  In NLP this is an example of pacing and leading, an essential NLP skill.
Diagnosis of autism is a slow and complicated process and in some cases takes as long as 4 years.  We wanted a diagnosis so that Rowan could be eligible for extra support at school. However, we never used the label at home and Rowan and his younger siblings did not know what autism was for many years.  This was a personal choice that we made as parents. Labelling is only useful in helping parents research the condition to find support.  Labelling, if parents/family and teachers use the label to box the child or young person, becomes a constraint.
Acceptance is the most important element for a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum. The ‘state’ of accepting isn’t always easy for parents who have created in their minds (prior to diagnosis) what they perceive their relationship with their child might be like. Many parental expectations will change when a child is diagnosed. People on the autistic spectrum often enjoy their own company and may not want the rough and tumble of kicking a ball around a park with Dad, or other activities their parents consider to be normal. I think it is important as a parent to accept your child (whether autistic or not) for what that child is and not try to change your child for your own benefit to what you wish him/her to be.  By opening up and accepting, a rewarding parent/child relationship can emerge.  One father of a boy on the autistic spectrum told me he felt embarrassed with the way his son interacted publicly; I reframed this with an NLP ‘apply to self’ pattern, in that his son should be embarrassed to have such a Dad.  His eyes welled up with tears, this man wasn’t a bad man, he just wasn’t accepting his son and was overly concerned with social norms. As a parent of child with autism you have to accept that there will be social faux pas along the way, and your job is to educate and teach the social norms (if there such things ) and never be critical. A state of congruence, and not being overly bothered about what others think is useful here.
Since the mid 1980s one psychological explanation - the theory of mind (ToM) approach has been particularly influential in the diagnosis and creating interventions for autism. The theory of mind is said to be a person’s capability to interpret another’s emotions, beliefs and states. The philosopher Daniel Dennett’s (1978) pointed out that if a person was unable to recognise other people’s thoughts, beliefs and intentions, social interaction and communication would remain a mystery.  Many people on the autistic spectrum do find social interaction and communication a mystery. It has been said that people on the autistic spectrum are challenged with ToM and thus are less able to interpret another’s mental life. People on the spectrum are usually tested in ToM tasks as a part of their diagnosis.  From an NLP perspective ToM technically is the interpretation of another’s perspective from your first position (self). Another point of view is Hobson’s theory (1993). Peter Hobson argues that rather than processing information to derive conclusions about the thoughts and emotions of others (as in ToM), typically, developing children have an intuitive understanding of others feelings (Roth 2009). Hobson’s theory states for people to empathise they ‘feel for and with’ the other person.  So part of recognising an emotion involves experiencing something like they feel. Hobson’s theory fits well with NLP rapport, second position and micro muscle mirroring. 
Multiple perceptual positions is a useful NLP tool for helping people access and experience the world in the perspective of another.  It fits with both the ToM approach and Hobson’s theory.  Second position, (stepping into another’s shoes) is a superb way to get empathy. At home, when our family was very young we used to play a family game called impersonations.  The only rule was that everyone had to play full out with the mimicry. I would lead off with an impersonation of a distant relative or friend who we don’t see much. Whoever guessed correctly would take a turn impersonating someone outside of the immediate family. As you can imagine, this was great fun. Slowly we would work in to closer relatives and friends and the final impressions were of immediate family members. The children would impersonate a whole host of people including siblings and parents.  I found these games fascinating, my kids perceptions of me was real eye opener.  From an NLP perspective we were all accessing different perceptual filters. In each new character we changed physiology, voice tone, breathing patterns and so on. This game was of great assistance in helping Rowan (and my other kids) develop their interpretation of others’ internal processes and develop empathy skills. It was also a great way for us as a family to get precise feedback of how other family members perceived our individual behaviour. Moving forward 15 years or so Rowan has superb empathy skills that he puts to use regularly in his volunteer work, family and social life.
In the impersonations game, Rowan also accessed increased communication capabilities through tonal variation and intonation when in a different character.  The family always thought we were just playing, which we were, but we were playing with a purpose in mind. The intervention was created to work on multiple levels but the design was a game that we were all a part of. We all learned about ourselves and others in the game. Rowan wasn’t singled out for sessions with his NLP Dad or surrogate Uncle,  John Grinder, if he was singled out he would have resisted, and rightly so.
In NLP we have a Meta program called chunk size.  Meta programs can be seen as filters that determine how we unconsciously select what we pay attention to.  With chunk size filters, some people like the just the big picture, some people like the detail. Some people like the detail first which seems to be less frequent. Uta Frith, a leading developmental psychologist working at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London , was one of the first to propose that a strong bias towards detail could be a core processing deficit in autism in 1989 . She suggests the majority of people focus on form and meaning rather than specific details. So if recalling a film, most people will talk about the theme or gist and not exact details about what a character said. Frith called the focus on form and meaning as ‘central coherence’. People on the autism spectrum, often are said to pay attention to detail at the expense of the overall form and meaning, and this processing style is known as ‘weak central coherence’.
I am amazed at the level of detail Rowan can describe to me about a given event he has attended. He can recall specific details, that occurred on specific dates at specific times going back years. The challenge is that the details do not always connect. A person on the autistic spectrum will often be fascinated with details, for example they might stare at the micro patterns on a painted wall for ages. Others will enjoy specific details in their favourite books or films. I don’t think a tendency for detail needs to be seen as a deficit as Uta Frith suggests. I propose teaching people flexibility, which in this case would mean stepping back and seeing the form and the meaning or connecting the details to create form and meaning.
In NLP taking a third position, stepping back and viewing the relationships between people and events helps people connect to the big picture, or as Frith would say - develop central coherence. Chunking up questions is useful as well,  including the intention frame for self and others, what is my intention here, what is your intention?  Or, what are examples of this?  When I taught Rowan the intention questions, I did so on the premise that it was a way of establishing where other people were coming from.  He used the intention question routinely for a while. I would be overly caught in the detail deliberately, so he could use the intention question on me.  In the responses he received from other people he was unconsciously learning to ‘chunk up’ and recognise how details relate to form and meaning.  This was a particularly useful way of creating a context where my son could learn new skills without ever empathising , what could be perceived by Frith as a processing deficit (weak central coherence). In addition, the intention questions deliver information from detail to overall form from another’s perspective, this would have helped Rowan with his theory of mind skills. 
I want to emphasise that my relationship with Rowan is a two way learning exchange, I have learnt so much from Rowan. He is a beautiful young man who is intelligent, tender and loving. He volunteers in an organisation assisting children who have severe learning and physical difficulties.  He also volunteers at Age Concern.  Both of these jobs require an ability to utilise the skills I have written about in this article (and many more) i.e. being able empathise and experience the world from multiple perspectives and see the big picture.
In this article, I have shared how two NLP formats, perceptual positions and chunking up can be used with a child on the autistic spectrum.  I did not use these NLP formats in a standard way, I rarely do. The tools are much more powerful when deployed covertly. In future articles, I will write about state interventions, language and breaking patterns. I have a lot to share and hopefully the information can be of use to other parents, carers and teachers.
Rowan and I will be walking the Great Wall of China on 23 - 30th October. We are raising funds for the National Autistic Society. Your support would be truly appreciated. You can donate on our Just Giving page
Dennett, D (1978) Brainstorms; Philosophical essays on mind and psychology. Montgomery, VT, Bradford Books and Hassocks, Sussex, Harvester
Frith, U (1989), Autism: explaining the enigma: Oxford Blackwell Publishing
Roth, I (2009) The Autism Spectrum in the 21st Century:  The Open University, Milton Keynes
About The Author
Michael Carroll is the founder and course director of the NLP Academy and co-founder with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair of the International Trainers Academy of NLP. He is the only NLP Master Trainer in the world certified by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair and he works closely with them in developing and delivering high quality NLP training.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Magical Parrot

image A man who worked in a cruise liner as a magician had a parrot and every time the man did a trick the parrot yelled, “it’s in the pocket,” “it’s in the pocket,” the magician would do another trick and the parrot yelled, “it’s in the hat”, “it’s in the hat.”
One day during his act the cruise liner had a problem and the ship sunk. The parrot came up from the water and looking confused said; “NOW WHERE DID HE HIDE THE SHIP
Read more:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Are you waiting to do something?



“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” ~
C. Northcote Parkinson






image  Cyril Northcote Parkinson (30 July 1909 – 9 March 1993)  British naval historian and author including the bestseller Parkinson's Law

sources and

Monday, 13 September 2010

Learn How Your Inner Cynic Can Help You Create The Life You Want

This articles appears at and originates from Cath Duncan’s Agile Living blog site at

imageCath is a qualified and experienced Social Worker, Neuro-linguistic Psychology Master Practitioner and Martha Beck Life Coach who helps entrepreneurs and professionals to get more of the 4 M's in their work: Motivation, Mastery, Meaning and Money.

Learn How Your Inner Cynic Can Help You Create The Life You Want

The positive psychology movement has helped to bring psychology out of the mental wards and into the hands of the average healthy and relatively successful person. For the most part, positive psychologies offer a much more healthy view of humanity than previous models.
But we have a problem. A lot of 'gurus' in the positive psychology movement these days perpetuate a message that you shouldn't allow yourself to have fears or "negative" thoughts and feelings. The advice is geared towards a belief that you should doggedly focus on your vision and you should never entertain thoughts about potential obstacles because you'll then falter. I disagree. There’s a time and a place to shine the light on fears, negative thoughts and feelings, obstacles and problems. So I'm here to ask you to consider welcoming your inner negative cynic back. S/he's incredibly resourceful and has your best interests at heart, after all.
Here are some of the resources that your inner cynic has to offer that will help you to create more of the life you want:

Your inner cynic can point you to what you really value

When you're judgmental, annoyed or angry in response to someone else, it's because you perceive that something that you value is being, or could be, violated or blocked in some way. Rather than blocking out or denying your annoyance because it's "negative," sit with it a bit and ask yourself, "What does this tell me about what I truly value?" and "How am I like this person that's annoying me?" And then consider how you can take action to align your life a little more with what you truly value and who you really want to be.

Your inner cynic can help you to focus your problem-solving efforts

The first step in a successful problem-solving process is identifying the problem. This might sound easy, but identifying the right problem to work on can be tricky and for complex problems, can require extensive, in-depth scrutiny of the problem. Figuring out what you don't want, what's a problem for you, and why it's a problem can help you to clarify what you want instead and to develop an effective plan to solve the problem. Don't be afraid to spend time getting to know your problems.

Your inner cynic can accelerate your learning

Daniel Coyle gives a useful account of the process of accelerated learning and talent development in his book, The Talent Code. He talks about the necessity of doing "error-focused" deep practice - a form of practice that involves ruthlessly looking for the mistakes, imperfections and things that aren't working, so that you can gradually eliminate them from your practice. Rather than focusing solely on your strengths and hoping that positive affirmation will drive your motivation, learning and performance, Coyle says you'll learn faster if you (and your coach, if you have one) have a keen eye for identifying your errors as you practice.

Your inner cynic can protect you and alert you to BS

In our abundant world, we're faced with a lot of persuasive sales material everyday. And with the growing research into the psychology of influence, the persuasion tactics that we're subjected to are increasingly subtle and effective. But nothing beats your built-in, natural, intuitive bull-shit detector… if you listen to it. One of the reasons why magical-thinking movies like The Secret were so popular is because the audience is taught to focus only on thoughts that feel good (lest they attract bad stuff into their lives!), which quietens the inner cynic and BS detector. Without your inner cynic, you could get sucked into all sorts of BS schemes that serve other people's agendas and crazy ideas, and other dangerous situations. So don't be shy to let your inner cynic do what it does best.

Your inner cynic can help you to observe reality more accurately

Focusing on only the positive aspects of your life might feel a bit better, but you're not getting an accurate picture of your reality. Reality is diverse, and so accurately observing reality means noticing both the good and the bad. In order to create a relevant and effective plan to deal with a problem or improve your reality, you need to know what kind of reality you're dealing with and what your starting point is, so let your inner cynic show you the parts that your optimistic self has not noticed yet.

Your inner cynic can help you to decide your next steps and improve your plans

A lot of people know what they want but get stuck and don't go forward because they aren't sure what to do next or how to make plans for complex projects. Your inner cynic can be a great help in deciding your next steps and creating a solid plan to make the changes you want. Think of a change you want to make or a goal you want to achieve. Now put on your cynical, negative hat and brainstorm all the things that could possibly go wrong as you try to make your changes. List all your fears and perceived obstacles and let your inner cynic go wild. These fears and obstacles are all pointing you to gaps in your plan that need to be addressed - what valuable information! Now you can go through your list of fears and obstacles and brainstorm potential solutions for each one, choose your preferred solutions, add deadlines for completing each action step, and hey presto, you have your plan!

image Written on 14th August 2010 by Cath Duncan. Through projects like The Bottom-line Bookclub, and Agile Living, Cath is helping people to cut through information overload, and to find and use the most effective tools for working, changing, creating and thriving in these fast-paced, high-change times.

Hoodie image

Sunday, 12 September 2010

3 sheets to the wind

  This guy goes to a bar that's on the tenth floor of a hotel. He sits down and has a couple of drinks, then stands up, announces loudly that he has had enough, and goes over and jumps out the window. imageNow, there are two men who are sitting at a window table, and having that natural human curiosity about the grotesque, watch as this man plummets to certain death.

However, just as he is about to hit the ground, he rights himself, pulls his feet underneath himself,and lands gracefully. He then turns and comes back into the building. Naturally, the two men are amazed. The guy comes back into the bar, orders a few drinks, then repeats the process. The two men at the window seat are astounded! When the guy returns and repeats the procedure AGAIN, the two men stop him before he jumps and ask him how on earth he does that. He replies "It's simple, really. There's an air vent down by the ground, and if you catch the updraft, you can right yourself and land on the ground with no problems." Then he proceeded to jump out the window again. Well, these two men decided that they just HAD to try this, so they jumped out the window, and SPLAT! -- made a mess hitting all over the ground.

Meanwhile, the first guy has made it back up to the bar. imageWhen he sits down to order his drinks, the bartender says "Superman, you can be a real @?£$%^ when you're drunk!"


Saturday, 11 September 2010

One more for the seniors?

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

~ Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach


Baroness Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (September 13, 1830 - March 12, 1916) was an Austrian writer. Noted for her excellent psychological novels, she is regarded—as one of the most important German-language writers of the latter portion of the 19th century.

She was born at the castle of Dubský (Graf von Třebomyslice) family in Zdislavice near Kroměříž in Moravia, Czech Republic, and died in Vienna, Austria.

She is credited with the famous aphorism "even a stopped clock is right twice a day."


Source and image

Friday, 10 September 2010

Are you in the System?

I went to see Neale Donald Walsch some years ago and he was talking about who and what runs the world.
Whose turn would it be next?
We have had the Churches rule, then Governments and as it was then, Money but then we went into Recession.

Now it is probably Systems ………..”Your call is important to us ……………

“The chief product of an automated society is a widespread and deepening sense of boredom.” ~ C. Northcote Parkinson





image Cyril Northcote Parkinson (30 July 1909 – 9 March 1993)  British naval historian and author including the bestseller Parkinson's Law

sources AyPee, and

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Seeing the funny side of things keeps you alive

I enjoy Phyllis Diller’s one liners!

In point of fact I posted  “Health – what my friends are always drinking to before they fall down” on  31st May.

My favourite is

image A smile is the curve that sets everything straight

       She also, so truthfully said

Look at Bob Hope. Look at Milton Berle, George Burns. Look how long they lived! Seeing the funny side of things keeps you alive


image Phyllis Diller was concise and sharp both as a comedienne and comedy writer.

She discovered and read  "The Magic of Believing" many times, which gave her confidence to believe in herself and change her life. She learned how to focus on one task at a time

 "The Magic of Believing" was published in 1948
by Claude M. Bristol   (1891-1951)

source image quotes

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Satir Modes

41LRKhOfEmL._SL500_AA300_[1]Virginia Satir was an American Psychologist and Educator and probably best recognised as The Family Therapist.
Her notion was that the "presenting issue" was seldom the real problem and more to do with how people coped.

She published her first book, Conjoint Family Therapy, in 1964 and went on to become an international speaker on her methods.
A Diplomate of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and received the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's Distinguished Service Award and probably one of the first Social Networkers.

She founded Beautiful People (The International Human Learning Resources Network) in 1970 and the Avanta Network in 1977

 source Wikipedia


image “I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”

Virginia Satir 26 June 1916 - 10 September 1988


imageThis article is taken from (aka Miranda Shaw). 
  I found it interesting because I am about to start reading Virginia Satir’s book Peoplemaking , as part of a diploma that I am studying:

Satir modes refer to common types of verbal behaviour patterns. Understanding the five most common will be our first step in recognizing the verbal atmosphere around us

The Placater

Even though the Placater doesn't dare admit it, s/he is frightened that other people will become angry, go away, and never come back.

Typical Placater speech:

·         "Oh you know me--I don't care!

·         "Whatever anybody else wants to do is fine with me."

·         "Whatever you say, darling; I don't mind."

·         "Oh, nothing bothers me! Do whatever you want."

·         "What do I want to do? Oh, I don't know--what do you like to do?"

Hopeless conversation: Two Placaters trying to make a decision.

The Blamer

Because the Blamer feels that everyone is indifferent to his/her needs and feelings, s/he uses a verbal behaviour pattern that declares that s/he is the one in charge.

Typical Blamer speech:

·         "You never consider my feelings."

·         "Nobody around here ever pays any attention to me."

·         "Do you always have to put yourself first?"

·         "Why don't you ever think about what I might want? I've had all of this I am going to take!"

·         "Why do you always insist on having your own way, no matter how much it hurts other people?"

Two Blamers talking to each other usually ends in a very nasty screaming match.

The Computer

Think of Data or Spock, and you have a good reference for the Computer. The Computer is terrified that someone will find out what his or her feelings are. S/he wishes to give the impression that s/he has no feelings at all.

Typical Computer speech:

·         "There is undoubtedly a simple solution to the problem."

·         "It's obvious that no real difficulty exists here."

·         "No rational person would be alarmed by this crisis."

·         "Clearly the advantages of this activity have been exaggerated."

·         "Preferences of the kind you describe are rather common in this area."

Computers work hard at never saying "I", unless they qualify it heavily, as in "I suppose it is at least possible that..." They also use a very limited set of hand movements and facial expressions.

The Distractor

The Distractor will cycle rapidly through the other Satir Modes. The underlying feeling of the Distractor is panic: "I don't know what to say, but I've got to say something and the quicker the better!"

The Leveller

The Leveller is either the easiest or the most difficult to handle. A genuine Leveller is the easiest to deal with--just level back and tell them how you feel about their statement. One of the greatest ironies of verbal interaction is that many people mistake the statements of a Leveller for verbal violence and never suspect that the nice guy/gal down the hall is the one who is really giving them a hard time. Sometimes the difference between a Blamer attack and a Leveller’s statement of fact is the heavy stresses placed on the words by the Blamer:


    "Why do you always smoke so much when you're driving?"


    "WHY do you ALways SMOKE so much when you're driving?"

A phony Leveller, however, is the most dangerous than all the other categories put together and very hard to spot. They still use the attack patterns that will be described, with the proper vocal stresses present, but with a different vocabulary, so their attack is not as obvious. Their goal is to deceive you, lure you into a position of trust and vulnerability, and then sock it to you.

One of the best ways to spot a phony Leveller is to look for signs that they are lying. Most of what people "know" about lying is folklore. The two main rules for detecting lying are:

·         Watch for mismatches between their words and their actions.

·         When looking for mismatches, pay attention to the parts of language behaviour that are the hardest to control.

The face (eyes included) is the easiest thing for a person to control, and therefore, the most unreliable focus for detecting lying. Remember, phony Levellers are expert liars. When trying to detect lies, pay first attention to the speaker's voice, then their body, then their face, and least of all their words.

For a more detailed description of what to be alert for, read the section on phony Levellers, in Chapter 10 of Elgin's The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defence. I am not detailing this here because when dealing with most people, the signs are a lot clearer.

Pay attention to your gut. Sometimes your subconscious will pick up on clues your conscious mind will miss. If you suspect you are indeed dealing with a phony Leveller, PLEASE read Elgin's books yourself. The best defines against a phony Leveller is knowledge, and there is no way I could give you enough of that on this website.

Although most people have a preferred Satir Mode when they are under stress, they are not confined to it. They can choose to use any of the other modes to meet the needs of the situation. The classic mismatch between inner feeling and outer expression may not exist at all. In my (Fribble) humble opinion, you should only suspect the internal conflicts listed, when the person you're dealing with uses a particular Satir Mode or two, most of the time--especially in relaxed situations.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Labor Day 6th September, 2010

Labor Day is a US Federal Holiday held on the first Monday in September and this year’s celebration occurs today.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City and it became a federal holiday in 1894. image

To appease the labour movement, President Grover Cleveland made the event a Federal Holiday and was able to progress legislation through Congress in only 6 days!  This followed the deaths of strikers by the US Military and US Marshalls during the Pullman Strike in 1894, in protest at having their wages reduced.

The strike which had began in Pullman, Illinois, brought the rail services west of Chicago to a halt and at its peak 250,000 workers were involved in 27 states. Cleveland had ordered troops to Chicago to end the strike

September was chosen to avoid aligning an American labour holiday with the existing international May Day celebrations and also to avoid linking the event the Haymarket Affair.  All 50 U.S. states celebrate Labor Day a state holiday.

Labor Day consists of a street parade to exhibit the strength and spirit of the trade and labour organizations, followed by a festival for the workers and their families. image Speeches by prominent individuals have subsequently been introduced and the emphasis moved to the economic and civil significance of the holiday.

The American Federation of Labor convention, in 1909,  deemed the Sunday preceding Labor Day as Labor Sunday and is dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the end of the summer and regarded as a day of rest. Labor Day is also the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons; NFL starting the week before and NCAA the Thursday following Labor Day.

Up to 2004 the Southern 500 NASCAR race was held on Labor Day.

source Wikipedia images, and La Follette's Labor Day Address in 1924 from