The Power of Attention

Jeff Klein The Power of Attention

Summary: Real attention leads to connection and the converse is true.

This is a summary of a Youtube video by Jeff who died fairly shortly after recording this TED talk. I guess this simply sums up the NLP notion of Rapport and the greatest gift that you can bestow on others is to pay complete attention to them. And indeed to any task you are attending to right now. This does not happen very often in life and relationships. See my other post about how we listen to ourselves and others. What is our outcome when listening? is it simply to wait for a gap to insert our already known knowledge and to impress?

“If you want me to move you have to connect with me first” – Jeff’s Daughter

An instant lesson in the power of attention to foster the power of connection.

Are you paying attention? Connection will only follow if you are. Of course this may be paying attention to yourself as well as to others.


Attention is powerful.

The acronym RAIN has its origins in Mindfulness and is often associated with dealing with strong emotions. Here we have a version relating to nicotine addiction.

Recognise the craving

Accept it and let it be Okay

Investigate the cravings

Notice how these cravings change

Before a meeting perhaps ask “What has your attention at this moment?”

How to open a closed door – even a little bit

“What a shame!” I thought. She has limited her life in so many ways, simply by making up her mind about what is possible and not possible for her. It’s like walking down a corridor and deliberately closing many of the doors, locking them and throwing away the key.” This quote is from Shelle Rose Charvet on her blog.

Perhaps you are dealing with someone who is stuck and you feel they will never change?

So if it’s Okay with you I’d like to summarise her post and give you a slightly different view on the subject? This could be a simple approach that is easy to weave into a conversation and will give them the opportunity to offer their opinion on the suggestion. What do you think about that?

So what do you do when you notice that you or someone else have closed a bunch of doors?

Firstget permission. There is little point talking to a closed door.
“Could I give you a slightly different perspective on that?” may open the door a crack.

Check again to pry it open a little wider: “I had an idea about this and I’d like to find out what you think.”

If the person expresses or shows some curiosity, now they are peeking out to see what else might be out there. Good start!

Second: State your door opening idea as a possibility or a suggestion and then give the benefit of the suggestion and the problem it solves.


“I was just thinking what if you broke down this desire into some steps and put them in your calendar as “to do’s” each week (suggestion)? Then it would be clearer, what you needed to do and you could follow your plan (benefit). That way you wouldn’t be stuck in the same place any longer. (problem solved – moving away from the problem).”

Lastly, after they have thought about it or discussed it, help them take a first step through the door. “If X were possible, I’m wondering what the first step might be.”

Example: “If you were to think about making this desire happen, what might be the first step?”

To really help someone open and pass through a door that they had closed, it is important toend on a concrete step, a procedure.

If you end a conversation on all the options, they may still be stuck, because they first have to choose which option to take.

The next time I catch myself deciding something is too difficult, not within my capabilities or not likely to happen, I will:

  1. Ask myself if I would like to consider another possibility (permission).
  2. Ask if it were possible/desirable, what would be the point (benefit) and what issue would it solve for me (problem solved and moved away from)
  3. What would be the first step?

How much fun are you having today?

How much fun are you having today?

An article by Matt Fox which is a story aiming to influence the reader to buy his latest product.

I joke that if Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth” then any Walmart is the “most miserable place on earth.”

Walmart is the butt of many jokes.

I had to stop in one the other day (don’t judge, it happens).

As I was putting items on the belt to checkout I noticed the man had the typical “I can’t believe how miserable this job is” look across his face.

I wonder if it’s a requirement to work there.

The lady in front of me separated her basket of items into three different purchases.

His scowl was extra scowly after this.

As the lady put the last bag in her cart, she ignored the man. She didn’t say anything. She turned away and started yelling at her kid to stop running around.

I walked up and looked at the man, I matched his expression as he stared at the lady leaving. I took a breath. And took the opportunity to put that lady’s situation behind us. I put a grin on my face and asked him:

“How much fun are YOU having today?”

He chuckled and said, “Well, I’m at work but it’s not that bad.”

I replied, “Yeah, it seems busy today. That’s nice. It makes the time go by quickly so you can have more fun later, no?”

He agreed and started ringing up my items. As he put the first items into a bag I started to grab the bag to put it into my cart.

He stopped me and said, “No wait. I’ll do that for you.” He came around the counter, took my cart to his side, then bagged and put the items in the cart.

I’ve NEVER had someone at Walmart be that helpful (Okay, I admit I’ve been to Walmart more than once).

He didn’t do it for the lady before me. He didn’t do it for the people behind me either. I looked back as I was leaving the store.

It was a very brief interaction but it’s what counts. These small moments can have a huge impact.

When you take the time to shed a little light into someone’s dark world, they’ll go out of their way to help you.

Most people live their life being swept from one emotion to another with no real control. You have the ability to plant seeds of growth and make someone feel good for absolutely no reason. Why not do it often?

It costs you nothing to make someone feel good.

And it usually only takes a few minutes to do. The quickest way is to start with something that’s unexpected.

I didn’t ask, “How are you?” That’s what everyone says. You wouldn’t really think about your answer and would spit out, “Good,” or, “Not too bad.”

I love to ask, “How much fun are YOU having today?” and watch their expression.

The reactions will vary drastically. Some people will roll their eyes and look at you like you’re crazy. Others will chuckle or tell you they’re having a lot of fun. Most will be somewhere between the two extremes.

If you’re going to use your influence skills, do it every day and in every situation.

Practice making people feel good.

It doesn’t cost you anything.

And, as Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Want to quickly make people feel good?


A great START to the New Year


Probably heard of SMART goals – well this is smarter!

Sources: Phil Chambers



The New Year is a time for setting targets, making resolutions and beginning anew. You can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals in 2015 if you have a system in place. START as you mean to go on. Follow the acronym below…

State your goals clearly

It is very important to define what you want to achieve (see quote of the month above). If you have an ill-defined question or goal, this can have several detrimental effects: By devoting time and effort to solving a side issue you are not making good use of your resources. If you believe you have solved the problem but have not tackled the root cause it may well escalate while you attention is elsewhere. If you solve the wrong problem you may exacerbate the situation.

You have probably heard of SMART goals, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. The trouble with goals that are ‘Achievable’ and ‘Realistic’ is that they are limited and uninspiring. If you’re not inspired and passionate about your goals you are far less likely to achieve them. By setting small ‘achievable’ goals we are actually setting ourselves up to fail. Bad experiences and fear of failure lead you to set goals that are even smaller or worse, just give up. You find yourself on a downward spiral to mediocrity. American pastor and motivational speaker Robert H Schuller said, “What would you do if you knew you could not  fail?” I agree with this sentiment – set massive audacious goals and then break them down into achievable and realistic steps.

Write your goals down and share them with a friend so that you have someone to hold you to account. It is often quoted that Yale (or Harvard Business School) conducted a study on the efficacy of clear written goals. This is actually an urban myth but some empirical research verifying this has been conducted by a group at Dominican University, Illinois.

Even better, create a Mind Map of your goals with plenty of vivid images. Don’t worry if you are not confident of your artistic abilities. You can use software such as iMindMap and import clip art or images from the internet. If drawing by hand you can scan into the computer and add images or even paste appropriate images onto your paper Mind Map.

Take action – Test

Having broken your goals down into manageable steps take action to achieve these. There will be instances when the action is not successful but it should be seen as a scientific experiment.
Regardless of the outcome you will get valuable data. Sir Humphry Davy, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century – perhaps ever, said, “I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.”

Analyse the results you got

Having conducted your test look at the results. Did you get the outcome you expected? If not, can you see why this may have been the case? What can you learn from your mistakes? Are there other factors you need to take into account? Were you working with false assumptions? You can once again use a Mind Map to draw together the results and possibly gain new  insights.

Refine the approach

Having analysed what happened, decide what you need to do differently. Small refinements make a big difference overall. This is the basis of Japanese principle of ‘Kaizen’. At Toyota they organize regular “Kaizen events,” where a team spends a day working to come up with
improvements, and then implement them. Employees are encouraged look for improvement opportunities, so they can have something to suggest to the team at the next event. This forms a culture of continuous improvement made up of many small steps.

Try again

Armed with your new insights and refinements to the original test, try again. The key to success is to take an iterative approach. Keep trying and improving, never giving up. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

START the year with these principles but remember that the same approach can be used to for any new project.

Chunking or the Hierarchy of ideas

Taken from Andy Smith Podcasts Practical NLP Podcasts

Because we can only process 3 or 4 chunks of information at any one time we have to make preferences for the level of information that we choose to hold at any one time. Personal levels of chunking.

Metaprogram: Specific (Concrete) or General (Abstract)

Chunking up questions to get to the big picture or what’s really important may include: What is that/this an example of? In general there is more agreement at the higher level of abstract because it is easier for people to remember the broad principals that they are in agreement with. What is this an example of? What is this part of? For what purpose?Why is that important to you? Chunks up to the intention or values involved. When you hear an abstract comment or phrase you have to go inside to make sense of it. Almost a trance state. Mentioning “Learnings and Resources” was a great way for ME to allow the client to select the best that they had.

Questions to investigate more detail about a subject may include: Give me an example of that or types of this. What are examples of this? What part of the ………. When discovering what an abstract thought means to somebody like say “Better Productivity” it could be useful to ask What does this mean to you? What will this mean in practise?

The lower and more detailed you get the greater the chance of disagreement and scope for contradiction.

Higher levels are more powerful because they include and involve all the lower levels as well! More leverage and more choice and more flexibility are key to eanring more money.

Feel Felt Found

That old classic ..

Andy Smith

The standard formulation of the objection handling technique goes like this:

  1. Tell them “I understand how you feel”. This is intended to tell the customer that you have heard them, and can empathise.
  2. Tell them about someone else who felt the same way initially. You’re telling the customer that they are not alone, and that things can change.
  3. Then tell them how that person found that when they did what you wanted/bought the product, they got what they wanted. 

For example:  ”I understand you feel that there are cheaper competitors around. One of our biggest customers felt that way initially, but when they tried the service they foundthat they saved 55% on their cost base.”


“Some people feel Mercury in Retrograde is the cause of all kinds of weirdness.”

 “I know a lot of people felt that way until they decided to take charge of their future no matter what obstacles present…”

…and found that no matter how much random weirdness occurred, it was still up to us to follow through on all our responsibilities and promises.”

In order to craft ‘Feel, Felt, Found’ patterns effectively, you have to accurately identify what it is that the person is feeling or believing (‘Mercury in retrograde’ in the first part of the pattern) and identify something else they want or believe that is more empowering or useful (follow through on your responsibilities) for what was ‘found’. Effectively you are building a bridge from the objection to a more useful expectation. The belief or desire in the ‘found’ section has to be important to the person for this pattern to work. If they don’t value it, if it doesn’t carry some kind of emotional charge, the pattern will have no power.

useful tip for strengthening the ‘found’ part of the pattern, particularly in a business context, which is to personalise the ‘found’ example with real life statistics and figures relevant to the customer, so that they can form a clearer, sharper picture of exactly what they could gain if they go with your product or service.

A possible alternative is to
use Think – Thought – Found, for that group of people who use
rationalising strategies rather than feelings (in appropriate contexts).

Behaviour Breeds Behaviour right?

There’s an old saying within the Cabin Crew World that goes like this:

“Behaviour Breeds Behaviour” and I’m not really sure where it came from so I thought I’d have a deeper look at it for my own amusement.

I guess if we consider the blueprint of behaviour then of course two people or more in a dialogue must influence the others by their behaviour. The way people rect to our behaviour will depend therefore on their state, physiology and map of the world.

Check out Shelle’s “The Customer is bothering me”.
Diane’s work on not getting on with somebody.
Disassociation and dissociation.
10 questions may help.

Displayed behaviour: aggression , negativity, feeling disrespected and belittled if we slip into a defensive approach.

What to be aware of: your own state and posture. Your initial reaction. Your outcome. To be dissociated from your emotions will help to keep calm. This will send signals that you are a leader and can actually help out here. Be aware of the big picture time wise and how this episode fits into the big scheme of things.

What to avoid : sounding patronising, being defensive and trying to explain the situation which come as a knee jerk reaction by most folk who care about what they are doing. These customers seem to hit our hotspots which automatically generates a defensive response. Suggesting that they “keep calm” which will possibly exacerbate the situation.

What the customer needs: To feel validated and listened to. To be heard out and to feel that their pain has been has been acknowledged.

How to behave : be compassionate for a few minutes which will calm them down.
Where are you from?
How long have you been “x” ?

Awareness of negative people


What can you learn about them?

Refrain from becoming the rescuer. While people can try to get you down, you’ve a choice in how you react to them.

Find something about them that you find attractive, worthy of praise or that simply that you like.

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” ~Shirley MacLaine

As Jim Rohn puts it – “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. What this quote means is that who you spend your time with has an impact on the person you eventually become.

“The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” ~Peaceful Warrior

Think positive thoughts yourself. Reflect back the light in your heart. Because if you offer the slightest glimpse of negativity towards them, they will feed off that energy. Try coming at them with the positive mindset you wish they had. Expect the best in them. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them now.

Respond rather than react. Keep away from Rescuer mode.

Negative people often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily offer compassion or get outraged or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger or sadness.

People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing.

Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact. If you’re dealing with a rude or angry person, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

OK Coral – ask yourself why you are  interacting with this person.

Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves.

“Being positive is like going up a mountain. Being negative is like sliding down a hill. A lot of times, people want to take the easy way out, because it’s basically what they’ve understood throughout their lives.” — Chuck D.

Being negative does seem like the easy way out sometimes, doesn’t it? It’s so easy to tear down, criticize, feel hopeless, and identify what’s wrong with the world. (Wow! Even just writing that sentence bummed me out!)

The truth is that our culture has elevated negativity to an art form. It’s clever and hip to find the flaws, to poke holes in or fun at what others are trying to create. As soon as a new program, policy or fashion comes out, critics race to see who can create the most scathing review.

Our news is filled with everything that is wrong in the world from crime to civil unrest to the latest scandal in Hollywood. Even people with the best intentions “wage war” on drugs, childhood obesity or global warming — using fear, disgust and hate to fulfill a well-meaning agenda.

The truth is that we’re all wired to be negative people.

The most primitive part of our brains, the amygdala, is a bad news genius. It ferrets out every little bit of possible negativity and brings it to our attention. Why? Because it’s tasked with securing our survival and acts as our early warning signal for potential threats. So whether it’s the loudmouth at the bar or unrest in a foreign country, our brain will bring its laser focus to anything that has the remotest possibility of harming us.

And our brain will chew on that negativity like a dog with a favorite bone. We’ll even feel a kind of satisfaction as we do it — because our primitive brain is telling us that this focus is making us safe.

Many of us have worked to gain control over this propensity to slip into the negative. We know that constant negativity impacts everything from our physical health to our financial success.

But when we’re around particularly negative people, it’s easy to get sucked in! Like hanging out with people who are sick with a virus or cold, it takes a strong immune system to ward off the effects of negativity.

So how do you build that strong immune system to avoid being infected by negative people?

First, release your own toxins. This means releasing your emotional baggage, the triggers that make you susceptible to negative energy around you. Maybe you’re still hurting from a relationship that ended badly. When you’re around a person who constantly complains about his spouse, you fall into a deep funk. Your reaction is caused, not so much by that negative complainer, but by your own unhealed wound.

So start building up your emotional immune system by releasing any past negative emotions like anger, fear, sadness and guilt. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), I teach people to use techniques like the Mental Emotional Release process to do this.

Does healing old wounds remove all negative emotion from your life? Of course not! But it releases the ancient baggage that caused you to be overly sensitive to negativity in your present experience. It allows you to respond appropriately rather than becoming infected with the negative emotions around you.

Next, try some reframing. Reframing simply means to see something in a different way. For example, you might see critics as a powerful judges of your worth. But another way to see them is like poet Brendan Behan views them: “Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.”

How about a reframe around those who claim that the sky is falling? I have chosen not to watch the news for years now. But my son was recently following the events in Ukraine. “Dad, we’re about to go into World War III!” After a few discussions about whether this was really happening or not, I said to him, “Ethan, it may or may not be true. But I can’t do anything about it. So my plan is to keep living my life in the best way I can. If I spend my time worrying, I won’t be able to do my best. So I choose to not worry about it.”

Once you have cleared your old baggage and used some reframing to change your perspective, you may feel centered enough to address the other person’s negativity. It’s okay to come out and respectfully say, “I appreciate your opinions on this. But I just don’t see it that way and would like to change the subject to something more uplifting.” Does this always work? No. But when it does, it can open up new possibilities for both of you.

But what do you do if you’ve cleared your own negative baggage, used your best reframing, and told the other person how you feel, yet you still find yourself dragged down when you’re around that person? Here’s where you make a choice.

As I mentioned, I’ve chosen to not read or watch the news. I’ve also chosen to limit my time with certain people in my life. Just like I no longer eat junk food and no longer hang onto old grudges or bitterness, I’m conscious of the company I keep on a regular basis. Even though my emotional immune system is pretty strong, if I’m going to become infected by someone else’s mood, I prefer to be infected by optimism, confidence and joy.


“Rather than pointing fingers at those horrible cheaters “out there,” it’s time to own up to the cheating we do in our own lives. Because when we cheat, we’re basically saying, “I’m not good enough on my own. I can’t do this thing.” We’ve given up on ourselves and our potential to stretch to meet the challenge in front of us. We’ve decided that winning is more important than the person we could become by striving.”

Dealing with limiting beliefs


Basically two types of structure:
He’s late so he doesn’t care.
People who work hard at school get on better in life.
A means B
A causes B
Chunk down and ask a question.
If you don’t control people things won’t turn out well.
And how do you control their heart rate?
Language patterns – words.
A because B seek out the verb and turn it back to the belief itself.
If A then B.
If you don’t look out for yourself nobody else will.
How’s that working for you?
How’s that belief looking out for you?
Use time frame. When you were born/were a child? When you are not there. When you are dead?
Ooh I can’t do that ! (Only one side of the equation)
So why is it like that?
How do you know?
How is this a problem for you? Will all give more information.
What purpose has this belief been serving up until now? A nice presupposition and will hopefully unearth the positive intention.
I’m shy. I’m crap at learning.
I know that sometimes you …….
feel shy in new situations but
I know that you sometimes feel that you don’t learn as quickly as others but



“We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.” -Louise L. Hay
Last month, I talked about limiting decisions, how they can be formed and how they negatively impact our lives. (If you missed that article, check it out) I asked you to start unearthing your own limiting decisions by asking yourself a few questions:

What are the results you’ve produced in the various areas of your life?
Where are your results not in alignment with what you really want to be, do or have?
What area of your life have you really tried to improve but, no matter what, things just didn’t get better?
Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want.
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do. They have prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying at all. Time to bring them out of hiding! Once you do that, you have choice.

So how to identify those pesky devils? First, what do you say to yourself about that area? For example, if you’re having trouble finding a relationship, maybe you explain it with something like, “Women only want men who have a lot of money” or “Guys are only interested in younger women.” Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.

Will that belief sound true to you? Of course! It will sound perfectly reasonable and valid and you probably can come up with lots of evidence supporting it! But it’s still a belief that is getting in the way of what you want. So unless you’re willing to totally give up on your goals and desires, it’s a limiting decision that you don’t want to keep around.

Sometimes limiting decisions are not that conscious. Maybe you’ve learned to squelch your negative thoughts before they get revv’d up, and you’ve have gotten good at positive self-talk. So you don’t hear any limiting beliefs in your head. But you’ll know you’ve still got a limiting decision lurking if your emotions are negative about that area.

For example, if you’re bogged down with financial pressures, how do you feel about it? Anxious? Angry? Hopeless? If you stay with that emotion and acknowledge it for a moment, you’ll find the limiting belief right beneath it. For example, anxiety might be saying, “What will people think of me?” Anger might reflect “Life isn’t fair to people like me.” Underneath hopelessness might be, “I’m just not strong enough or smart enough to figure this out.”

Now that you’ve dragged some of those limiting beliefs out of the closet, what do you do with them? In the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) I teach, we have several specific processes to unearth and eliminate limiting beliefs. I can’t teach them fully in this article, but here are some steps to get you started:

Step 1: Write the limiting belief down. Play detective and follow your thoughts and emotions to discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back. Put them on paper and stare them in the face! You might note how strong each belief is and what emotions they elicit in you.

Step 2: Acknowledge that these are beliefs, not truths! This is often the hardest step. “But, but, my limitations are real!” Here’s the place where choice comes in. Which are you more interested in: defending your limitations to the death or achieving your goals and desires? As author Evelyn Waugh wrote, “When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.” You choose.

Step 3: Try on a different belief. Use your imagination and try on a belief that is aligned with what you want. It might be something like, “My financial difficulties in the past have taught me so much that I’m fully prepared to handle them now!” Or, “Now that I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship I’ve learned what to look for in a happy, loving partner!”

The trick is to go beyond just saying it. You want to really step into this new belief and feel how it feels. Done thoroughly, Steps 2 and 3 will go a long way to dismantling your old limiting decision.

Step 4: Take different action. This might feel scary, but act as if your new belief is true. In other words, if you really are the kind of man women adore, how would you act at parties? Who might you ask out? If you really are capable and have learned a tremendous amount from past financial difficulties, what steps would you take? If you really are the kind of person who eats healthy food, what will you put in your grocery cart?

If you avoid taking any steps based on your new belief, you will just feed your old limiting belief. Taking action, even the smallest step, will help solidify your new un-limiting decision. Your first steps don’t have to be perfect, just headed in the right direction. And be sure to acknowledge yourself when you’ve taken that step.