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Do You Defuse Bombs For A Living?


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One puzzling idea from NLP is the idea that there is “no such thing as failure, only feedback.”

This is one that people tend to have the most issues with.

Partly because it is the most ill-defined “truism” or “presupposition” from NLP.

Because “feedback” and “failure” are both MEANINGS given to EVENTS.

And since another idea INSIDE NLP is the ability to change meanings of events, this idea is problematic.

It’s more of a recommendation than a rule.

Kind of like looking both ways before you cross the street.

If it’s quiet, and you don’t hear any cars approaching, you’re in pretty good shape.

So, what’s the real difference between “feedback” and “failure?”

If you are trying to defuse a bomb, and you clip the wrong wire, it’s not really feedback, since you’re blown to bits.

On the other hand, your example can be used to teach future bomb-defusers what NOT to do.

From your perspective, it’s hard to see it as anything BUT a failure.

But from people who later study your failure, it’s clearly feedback.

The trick is to turn what we INITIALLY would define as “failure” and be able to redefine it as feedback.

For some things, this happens naturally.

Practicing sports, for example.

If you’re standing there shooting free throws, you won’t sulk and become miserable every time you miss.

Especially if you FRAME the sequence of shots as PRACTICE.

This is a big clue.

By framing how we interpret things BEFORE we go into them, it’s much easier to recognize events as “feedback.”

Why do we practice anything?

To get better.

This means that pretty much ANYTHING you do (except defusing bombs) can be seen within a much larger goal.

This is very easy if you have HORIZON goals, and not specific goals.

Most goal setting books tell you to set SPECIFIC goals.

Not only specifically defined, but at a specific time.

This is actually pretty dangerous.

Because if you have a specific goal at a specific time, then each step on the way there is going to be much more important.

You won’t get the goal unless ALL the intermediary steps are completed on time.

With a horizon goal, there’s much less pressure.

A specific goal, for example is to make 50% more money in a year.

The closer to you get to your target, the more each intermediary goal will seem like a bomb-defusing situation.

Do or die.

But with a horizon goal, each step is will be EASIER to see as feedback.

For example, instead of demanding you make 50% more in a year, have a much broader horizon goal.

For example, your money horizon goal can be “I’ll be making a lot more money in a year than I’m making now.”

So each thing you try on the way will be easier to get information.

And all information, good or bad, can help you to make more money than you are now.

This is a key element of success that isn’t usually taught.

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