The text arrived unceremoniously. It was just a beep and some words saying that I had won a contest. I was skeptical at first, but then I remembered that I had gone to a conference the weekend before and had surprised myself by talking to almost every vendor and entered almost every drawing at the place. But I didn’t remember this vendor. Anyway, I had won an hour session of NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming. I had heard of NLP before, but wasn’t really sure what it was. I researched it a bit, and talked to someone who knows about it, and I decided to go for it. So I made an appointment for the following week to redeem my one hour session.
When the day arrived, my GPS brought me to the address of a business complex. I was pulling into the parking lot when I got a text from the NLP guy saying that he was running 5 minutes late. I had assumed that this was where the company was located, but as I went in the building, I realized that this was a place that you could rent a conference room for an hour or two at a time. I sat down in the lobby next to a guy that was muttering to himself. I thought of the strangeness of what I was doing. I was meeting a guy that I didn’t even know his last name, at a place that wasn’t really his office, and he was going to do some mind mumbo jumbo to me for an hour, and then probably try to get me to sign up for more of his services. What was I thinking? Was it too late to leave?
Just then my contact walked in and introduced himself. He seemed normal enough. He showed me into one of the rooms and pulled the thick curtain across the glass hallway windows so no one would be able to see us inside. He asked me what I knew about NLP and then asked about areas of my life that I was struggling with. I decided to go ahead and tell this guy that I had just met about some of my deep rooted problems. He took notes as we talked about finances and success and lack of confidence. He said he was an expert on body language and I quickly sat up and turned my legs away from pointing to the door. We did a Myers-Briggs personality test where he asked me questions about what I would do or prefer in certain situations. As I answered the questions, I noticed that he would nod his head knowingly as if he already knew the answers. In fact, he marked down some of the answers before I even answered them.
After the assessment, we did some mental exercises where he told me to just answer the first thing that popped into my head as we went along and not to over analyze things. He said that our subconscious minds work differently from our conscious thinking mind and that was where the issues were.
One of the exercises that he had me do was to picture something that I was 100% confident of. He gave the example of knowing that the sun would rise in the morning. I told him I was only about 99% sure that the sun would rise, so I chose something else. He then asked me to picture this belief and asked me if it was black and white or in color.
He asked if it had a lot of detail.
He asked where the belief was in relation to me.
“Right in front of me.”
Was it a picture inside of a frame or was it panoramic around me?
Could I see myself in the picture (third person), or was I viewing it through my eyes as though I was in the picture?
“I was viewing it through my eyes.”
He said this was good and then asked me to picture myself as a successful business person. I did my best and he asked similar questions about that image. I was surprised to tell him that the picture that I had conjured up (of me as a successful business person) was a black and white line drawing of myself without much detail on a single sheet of paper floating quite a distance away from me.
He nodded and then explained that he now wanted me to try to move that image up to be on the same visual plane as the first one–to add color and details, and see it as panoramic–like I did the other image. I tried and briefly saw it that way.
He asked me if this image had held. If I believed it. I said no. He then asked what I needed to make it hold?
“A book,” I told him–surprised by my own words.
“Yes. Some sort of book that will give me permission or authority to be successful.”
He nodded as though I had said the right answer.
I told him how, in the past, I had read various books on different subjects and then afterward felt like I now understood the rules or how things worked. I realized that I felt like I needed authority or permission from a book before I could be successful. (Which I knew was stupid, and seemed odd to me, because I’ve read several books on being successful and even being confident.)
“Well, that is your homework, then.”
He asked me to let him know what book I ended up getting. He was curious and so was I. But I knew, even while saying goodbye to him, I knew that I needed to go directly to the Deseret Industries thrift store down the street. There I would find my book. The book that would give me confidence and grant me authority. The book that would change my life.
I walked into the thrift store and headed directly toward the book section. Intuitively I knew that my book would be on the second aisle. As I walked down that aisle, I knew which 4 foot section it would be in. And as I stood in front of that section, I knew which shelf it would be on. My eyes scanned across the books on that shelf. On the very far right was one book pushed in further than the others. I knew that was the book that I had come for. I hesitated and then pulled it out and read the title: Book of Useless Information: Thousands of things you didn’t think you needed to know… and probably don’t.
I laughed to myself as the message was loud and clear: You don’t need a book to give you authority or confidence, but if you really want one then here it is.
I purchased the book for two dollars.
I don’t intend on reading it, but I view it sort of like a diploma from a university. Maybe I will get it framed and hang it on the wall.