Have you ever had a dream so vivid that when you woke your body was still responding as though it had really happened? Or perhaps there has been a time when you thought someone did something that really upset you, and was angry all day, only to realize that they didn’t actually do the thing in question…
Isn’t amazing that when we have these types of ‘imagined’ experiences our body responds as if the thing really happened. We truly feel the fear, anger, excitement, happiness, etc. as if the thing had really happened, even though it is just in our imagination!
In the fields of Neuro-Linguistic programming and Neuro-Semantics we learn how to use this natural human response to our benefit. One of the presuppositional beliefs of NLP states:
The fact that we use the same neurological circuits when we remember or imagine, we can use these to create new programs, skills, ways of thinking, and behaviors.
A Presupposition of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
In fact this occurs every time that you ‘think’, including when you think about what is going to happen in the future.
Have you ever thought about a future event that you have coming and imagine all of the things that could go wrong?
For me it is always interesting when me or someone else says something along the lines of “I know I am not going to be able to pass that test”. In order to put together a statement like that you have to imagine a future scenario so ‘realistically’ to the point that you couldn’t even entertain the idea of another possibility occurring.
In a way these kinds of ideas act as hypnotic commands to yourself which restrict possibilities. And as we saw above, when you imagine things in that way your body reacts as if it was ‘real’.
What is NLP Future Pacing
A positive way that we apply this principle as Neuro-Linguistic programmers and Neuro-Semanticists is in a process we refer to as ‘future pacing’.
Future pacing in NLP typically refers to bringing a change into someone’s imagined future. This is done as a way of ‘remapping’ our future ‘timeline’ and/or ‘installing’ a change.
In fact, this is one of many ‘installation’ methods one can use to bring ecological change into their future, as well as to spread the change around into different contexts.
NLP Future Pace Examples
Some examples of future pacing in a coaching context:
“Imagine moving out into your future “as if” you were about to handle this situation at your most resourceful self. How does this change things?”
“Imagine moving out through the rest of today, tomorrow, and the weeks, months and years into the future having access to these resources… will this make a difference?
“When would you like to be able to handle this situation in the future? Imagine you are there now, but this time you have access to these new ways of thinking and feeling… How is it now? Where else in your life will this make a difference?
Like I said earlier, future pacing is something we do all of the time naturally. Actually many of the times that you think about ‘the future’ you are doing some form of future pacing i.e. installing scenarios into your imagined future”, so be aware of your thoughts/statements about the future and how they are influencing your neurology.
If an imagined future doesn’t serve you, you can always re-imagine it for the better!
But remember, we are not aiming to change ‘the outside world’ with these kinds of techniques. Those events are not in our direct power. However we can imagine ourselves as different which transforms our response to the events of the world, leaving us more empowered and resourceful to respond at our best.
As always feel free to leave your questions, comments and contributions and I wish you an amazingly empowered future!
Would you like to receive my best articles delivered directly to your inbox?Sign up for my newsletter here: https://perceptionacademy.com/free-nlp-training/
Originally published at https://perceptionacademy.com on April 1, 2020.