what do you know and how do you know it?

knowing NLP filters truth map
Do you know what you know because you read it? Maybe in a text book, an academic study, a newspaper report, on-line in a blog or on social media?

Do you know what you know because someone told you it was true?

These are both verbal exchanges. Auditory. They are spoken, written, heard or read. Stories if you will. The exchange of knowledge through written or spoken communication. Someone else provides their knowing and we hear or read it and accept it as knowledge we will also hold to be true. It is, in a sense, second or third hand knowledge. Knowing we agree to add to our own knowing. Or not.

Our acceptance of this knowing involves an unseen process of convincing. Maybe I accept it because I trust the author. Maybe I trust the method by which their knowledge was acquired? Maybe I trust the method of conveying the knowledge to me?

Do you know what you know because that’s the widely accepted truth?

It’s the word of the society, culture, religion, community, organisation… the word of the system if you will. In a sense, story, tale, myth, evidence become fact, truth, reality through the weight or volume of saying it. If enough people speak something, it tends to absorb a validity or truth amongst others. This is how customs and culture are formed.

Maybe I am convinced of this knowing because I have heard it many times from different sources within the system? Maybe I accept it because doing so affirms my belonging to the group? Maybe the groups I belong to therefore narrow my ability to know?

Do you know what you know because you have assembled a truth, through collecting, filing, connecting new data, new knowing, into your own existing knowing?

I know for example that many people see images in their heads. I know this because I have read about it, I have heard about it in training sessions, I have experienced it through coaching many people who can vividly describe the videos or stills in their mind’s eye, I have personally seen pictures in my own head. I have experimented with this knowing to extend, broaden, widen and deepen it. I have purposefully sought out additional knowing, making sense, making patterns and making new neural connections to create an enriched personal knowing.

Maybe I readily accept this knowing? Convinced because it fits with other knowing I already have?

Maybe what I know already, informs what I seek to know? I am, in a sense, blind to new knowing because my existing knowledge guides and channels me to seek knowing which corroborates knowing I already have.

Do you know what you know because you have experienced it and therefore know it to be true? Do you know what you know because you have seen it? Seen it with your own eyes? Tasted it with your own tongue?

I have tried coriander, and I know I don’t like the taste. I have in a sense created my own personal knowing. Others may also have this knowing; but a hundred, or a thousand people not liking coriander doesn’t make coriander something nobody eats, a poisonous food. We are happy to create our own version of knowing, a personal truth.

In fact through all of these methods, we create our own version of truth, our own subset of knowing.

Whether our knowing comes from historic sages, from trusted texts, from reliable friends, from assembled self knowing, from tasted, smelled or observed personal experience, our knowing comes through a hidden process of filtering, selection and trust which makes our knowing personally true. Often this process makes others’ knowing false as a result. That’s how arguments, wars start.

We should be curious about our own personal process of knowing.

How we know what we know. Our hidden process of validation and acceptance. Our process of exploring knowing to expand and develop it. Learning, if you will. This matters, because if our personal process is flawed, broken in some way; if we are blind to certain pieces of knowing, closed to experiencing certain knowing or inexperienced in different ways of assembling knowing… then we are limited.

If we are limited, we are not fulfilling our human potential.

… and that’s worth knowing.

weighty language

visual, auditory and kinaesthetic NLP
The other evening a television news reporter began his report from Jerusalem…

“This is often a very heavy city and the weight of its history hangs over it…”

This kinaesthetic language helps you ‘feel’ the experience of being in this city steeped in history and rich with turmoil. The phrases ‘heavy’, ‘weight’ and ‘hangs over’ describe felt sensations and help the listener sense the mood in the city.

They work in much the same way as idioms such as ‘hold their feet to the fire’, ‘head over heels in love’, ‘hot under the collar’, ‘it makes your flesh crawl’, ‘ants in his pants’ or ‘the weight of expectation’. Each describes a physical sensation which brings the experience more to life.

Auditory language might talk about ‘the staccato popping of distant gunfire…’ Visual language might describe ‘the ghostly pall of smoke painting a blue grey background to the skirmish…’

How would you describe the picture on this blog post?

‘the twisted trunk and aching branches pained by years of tortured weather…’?
‘the crispy leaves and creaking branches rustling in the moaning wind…’?
‘the distant dark copse framing the monochrome tree in stark parchment sepia…’?

Be curious about your language and how it describes your inner world.

does this make sense to you?

senses NLP
We experience life through our senses. We see, hear, feel, smell and taste our experiences.

Our brains code them in this way. Our memories are accessible through our senses and, when recalled, we experience, represent or rather ‘re-present’ them through our senses.

If you recall now something that happened to you last week, you will be doing so either by seeing the situation in your mind’s eye, or by re-feeling how you felt then, or by hearing the conversation again, maybe even smelling something…

This process works both ways. We ‘think’ of a memory and re-present it through our senses. Or, we have a sensory experience today and that triggers another memory where the sensory experience was similar. Have you ever had the experience of a smell taking you back to a childhood memory?

This process also works for the future – imagined future experiences are presented to us through our senses. We can imagine our holiday or that difficult conversation we have next week and we can create images, feelings, internal dialogue predicting that future experience.

We all have favourite senses to use for this. I wrote about this some weeks ago when I asked How do you think? and hypothesised that without our senses we have no experience.

We often have a primary sense, for many that is visual, but might be auditory or feeling, backed up by one or two other senses that create our experience. Some senses are less available to us in this process.

Our language reveals our preference. It shows on the outside, the way we are coding our experience on the inside.

“I hear what you say” is different to “I see what you mean”.

There are many idioms in English that we use to signal our sensory preferences for coding our own experience. Often we’re not consciously aware, nor are those around us. But it can be useful to know.

Do phrases such as these appear in the way you describe things? “Let’s get a different perspective” or “Let’s take a closer look at this”? These might be examples of a visual storage system. Whereas, “That doesn’t sound right to me”, “This really speaks to me” or “Once we get into the rhythm of the meeting” might suggest an auditory preference. Those who work with feeling, or kinaesthetically, might say “I need to take the pressure off” or “I’m aching to get on with this”…

This will be a recurring theme on this blog in coming weeks, so be curious about your practice and about what makes sense to you.