Becoming Quickly Aware - Utilization

Kalliope Barlis

One famous comedian said about another, “He has a boldness, a fearlessness. If I’m quick, he’s quicker.” During an interview, Robin Williams was asked “Please explain your lightening speed mental reflexes that Billy Crystal is referring to. Do you really think faster than the rest of us”.

Robin’s first response was a humble gesture of bowing his chin. Then he smiled and shrewdly proceeded into a comedic spree of characters, starting with a glance toward a woman sitting in the front row. He grabbed her scarf and wrapped it around himself like a sari and began to speak with a Punjabi accent: “Slim G, what do you think of a Western civilization? Gandhi said “I think it would be great idea.” WIth the same Punjabi accent Robin said “I’m a director of the new film, Who’s Sari Now”. 

Then Robin put the scarf around his head and face with only his eyes showing and said, “I’m from Iran, help me.” Next, he put the scarf around his waist and said he was the Iron Chef. Without another word, he held the scarf in front of his face with the tassels hanging below his chin and slowly moved the scarf upward, swooshing the threads back and forth while the audience laughed and laughed. This impression of a carwash concluded his improv.

Robin then told the interviewer, “That’s as close as I can explain.” A woman in the audience broke out in laughter, and Robin’s attention pinpointed where she was sitting. He said, “That’s comedy, her laughing. If we don’t have laughter, what would there be?”

Robin utilized his audience the best he could in his most gifted manner. He was aware of his surroundings, what he could use from them, and how he could make the most of them to engage his audience into comedic-trance hysteria. In the same way, as an NLP practitioner, you listen to what your client is saying, deeply and with interest, in order to utilize what they are saying for change.

A client said to me, “I’m afraid of flying,” and I replied, “Well, it’s a good thing they didn’t leave the invention of flying up to you because it never would’ve happened. Think of all the families who wouldn’t be united for the holidays and all the inventors of our time unable to invent the things they did in the areas where their inventions exist today. How much of life do you feel like you’re missing out on—a lot? Are you saying you’re afraid you’re gonna suck in all the air from the empty space in the sky, and it’s going to blow out of your ass?”

The client laughed. This was the beginning of shredding the fear and basking in a new understanding. I utilized the client’s own belief to eventually make her laugh about it to make room for the change that was already beginning to happen. 

When laughter becomes the new response to a given situation, it changes the neural pathway of the response, creating a new response on a neurological level that makes the change a lasting one. Dr. Richard Bandler is credited with this skill of challenging beliefs for change and other NLP techniques further mentioned, although the experience I have is my own. 

Maintaining awareness is key in facilitating change. NLP teaches us to become more and more aware, through the use of listening, watching, and sometimes feeling what the client is expressing while maintaining a distance from it all, so that we can sense what needs to happen to give the client the outcome they want. It is a holistic approach that also includes having a positive influence in all aspects of our clients lives. 

In this case, after some feel-good feelings were created and oxytocin was released, coating the whole experience for new learnings, the client was guided to see herself freaking out in the plane and how silly she looked. 

I asked her, “If I had to be you sitting there, losing my cool and blowing farts out of my ass, what would I do and how would I be?” After she described this scenario, I acted it all out so that she could see for herself. I even puffed a few out of my upper orifice to make it seem like I farted. I said to her at one point, “You know, I’m gonna try being you again, but this time, suddenly the pilot is sick and the only person who is able to fly the plane is me. Now, I have to be the one flying the plane.” And as I acted her out, I suddenly came to my senses and realized that for me to be the pilot, I had to stay calm. This client got the message of this very quickly, and all in good fun. 

Next, I guided her through the Fast Phobia Cure with her eyes closed and her mind in a relaxed state. Lastly, we future paced her to test that the change had worked so that she could now see herself in comfort while flying. And she did, which gave her hope to take a flight to be with her family for the holidays. 

Consciousness is your greatest force. And in growing your awareness and utilizing what people say and do, you too can become quick in creating quick change in your clients with pleasure and ease. It is a constant practice. Then, when you are complimented for your NLP skills, you too can give a quick show of what you do so well in your most gifted manner—all with in good humor and true change.