Before we take the next step into exploring and setting our SMART goals, let's have a quick look at logical levels.
Logical (Neurological) Levels as a concept forms a key component of NLP and is often integrated with many different techniques of NLP. It describes different levels of our being or our make-up (not the stuff at the make-up counter) grouped into key areas as it applies to change within us.
Similar to our Keys to Success we looked at over the past few months, focusing on any one specific area only, does not mean that we will fail in achieving our goals. However, when we are able to reach a balance between all the keys, and likewise reach a balance in our logical levels, the journey and outcome can be so much more rewarding.
As we ask ourselves certain questions, we will identify barriers within each of the logical levels that need to be addressed, and removed in order for us to be able to move forward on our journey. Make sure you do not only look for barriers but also those things you can improve on and incorporate into each of the logical levels.
Level 1 - Environment
Where? When? With Whom? External Factors
The first logical level deals with external factors. Factors that we may appear to have little control over. These factors when we are looking at obstacles could be your boss, a negative friend, or even your workplace.
Do any of these questions sound familiar?
“If you would just stop criticizing me, I wouldn’t have to feel this way.”
“If my boss would get off my back I could do much better at work.”
“If I had more money, I could go to college. Then I wouldn’t be trapped in this rubbish job.”
“If we didn’t live in this boring town, I wouldn’t have to drink.”
As we seek to identify obstacles, we need to look at our relationships, the places we spend time, and any external factors that form part of our current routines and habits.
What can we change? Do you find that working in a certain location prevents you from focusing on your work? Do you have certain friends that drag you away for a quick beer when your attention should be focused elsewhere?
Take some time and reflect on your environment as it relates to the achievement of your goal. Make a list of the people, places, and daily events that currently impact your goal's progress. Do they add or detract value from your goal (or life)? Is there something missing that could add value? Can you bring that thing or person into your environment?
Be sure to write your observations down since we want to ensure that all the levels are aligned, and having it handy will help you as you progress through each of the next levels.
While eliminating these blocks/hurdles in our environment and bringing in new aspects there is now a need to change your habits and behaviours, which leads us on to our next logical level.
Level 2 - Behaviour
What you say and/or do? Actions
From the start of our discussions on NLP and the power that our mind has over the direction our life can take as we pursue our goals, we now understand that what we think, we become. James Alen in his book "As a Man Thinketh" opens with the line "As a man thinketh, so is he".
Our behaviour thus includes our thought patterns and thought behaviour. If we can change the way we think, we can change our habits and our physical behaviour. It is however often the case that the behaviour we need to adjust is not behaviour we choose, but more behaviour that chooses as.
Before you start scratching your head thinking there is some voodoo at play, let me explain.
The behaviour we choose is our conscious behaviour. This means that before acting you have reflected and made a conscious decision on what your behaviour is going to be. Here's an example of behaviour you choose. You are driving along the highway on a sunny day listening to your favourite music, and suddenly realise you have been speeding.
Before you can slow down to the speed limit a traffic officer pops into the road and pulls you over. As you slow down, you tell yourself to be calm, not to lash out at him as he is simply doing his job. You decide how you will respond to his questioning, including an apology. You CHOSE your behaviour.
On the flip-side, we have the behaviour that chooses us. This is our unconscious behaviour. Example... You are driving along the highway on a sunny day listening to your favourite music, without realising you slowly creep past the speed limit. Seemingly from nowhere a traffic officer appears in the road in front of you waving his arms to pull you over. You hit the brakes and come to a screeching stop a few meters past the now flustered policeman.
As he approaches, you hang out the window and start defending yourself and accusing him of being irresponsible and that you could have killed him. From the moment you hit the brake up to your little tirade, you were not in control of your behaviour. Your subconscious mind responded to a situation it learnt from past experiences or past exposure to similar situations.
Behaviour that has been ingrained by our interactions and exposure to past events in our environment logical level (can you identify behaviour that has developed from your environment?) dictate our behaviours and responses to pressure moments. The good news is, that we can change our behaviour by applying conscious efforts and being intentional about change.
If your goal is worthwhile, it is almost guaranteed to not be a walk in the park. Take the time time to identify your bad habits and behaviour so you can eliminate the ones that are an obstacle, and focus on making the new good habits that support your goal your new unconscious behaviour.
These first two levels are in my opinion the easiest to understand, and also the easiest to change/work on.
What we need to keep in mind though is that when we look at the 6 levels in the pyramid there is a top-down influential relationship. What I mean by that is that if we make a change at the bottom, the effect of the change will not necessarily have a direct impact on the levels above it, without some serious effort and intentionality from ourselves.
If however, we address an upper level, there is an inherent effect on the levels below it. This will become more clear as we proceed through the next four levels. You will then be able to see how making the more difficult changes on the higher levels will have a direct, unconscious effect on the lower levels.
Take some time today and reflect on these first two levels. Ask the "Where? When? With Whom?" questions addressing the external factors, as well as the "What you say and/or do?" question dealing with your behaviour. Look not only for the negatives but also your areas of strength or the positive areas. These are always easier to build on than it is to change areas where you need to get rid of bad habits and negative things in your environment.
A Biblical View
With our continued quest to improve ourselves and work towards our goals, it is important to constantly and consistently ask for guidance from above. In some of my earlier posts, I spoke about having blind faith in God. God never fails us. He never forsakes us and as long as we walk in His will for our lives, we can rest assured that His hands will cover us. Do not try to find your comfort within yourself or from others.
Philippians 4:6-8 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we face inevitable change and need to reflect on those things we need to remove from our lives in order to move forward (breaking spiritual ties is also part of that) it is inevitable that we will face moments of self-doubt. That is perfectly normal and almost natural. After all, we are only human and placing our faith, hope and trust in humans almost guarantee our failure and disappointment.
Why not turn to God? If we ask the Lord to guide us in making those tough decisions of removing things from our environment and changing some of those terrible worldly habits we need to get rid of, and trust in Him we truly can "be anxious for nothing".