Living on auto-pilot or living with clarityLiving on auto pilot

On our NLP courses we also explore a number of ‘non-NLP’ concepts.

And we then use NLP to ‘model’, or unpack and examine, these because

  1. They are valuable life tools
  2. Using NLP to figure out how they work demonstrates that there’s a lot more to NLP than a few techniques.

10% New

Take for instance one of our favourite ‘quick insights’ – The 10% New Model. Ar first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to this little model yet people who adopt it as an attitude report that it can be life changing…

(See also: Beware of what you get used to, too)

Avoiding ‘being stuck in a rut’

The idea is that you avoid getting into a rut with your life or your work by introducing frequent small changes i.e. 10% New so that we are living with clarity – with awareness of when it’s useful to be on auto-pilot and when it may be best to switch to ‘manual control’ – to choice-ful living.

The alternative to 10% New is what a lot of us do. We allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut. We allow ourselves to get set in our ways. We allow our lives to become routine, tedious, samey, predictable:

  • It’s Monday so I go to work
  • It’s Wednesday – I go out with my friends
  • It’s Friday – time to eat out in that restaurant
  • It’s Saturday – we do the shopping
  • It’s holiday time – we go to the same destination every year, stay in the same hotel, go to the same places….

Living efficiently – on ‘auto pilot’

We’re on autopilot. And this is a very efficient way of living since we don’t have to think about things. We are living on auto pilot – lazily and efficiently!

But it can be tedious and, over the years, the brain stops thinking afresh.  It is also very attractive — because auto-pilot living appeals to our innate laziness.  Lots of sameness means no need to No need to think, stretch, plan.

And sameness means safe and cosy. Just effortlessly go from one thing to the next.

Efficient it may be but there is an insidious downside to a life of sameness – to living our lives in our Comfort Zone.

The downside is that if you spend a lot of your life in your Comfort Zone, and little of your time in your Stretch Zone, the unusual becomes scary – anything out of the ordinary becomes unpalatable; even things you want to do such as going on holiday, going for a new job, exploring new food, making new friends, etc.

Beware of what you get used to

You become so used to the comfortable prison of your Comfort Zone that you shun newness.

This is one of the reasons why so many elderly people get “set in their ways”, reject newness, hate the unexpected, and get stressed by anything that’s out of the ordinary!

And they don’t suddenly wake up one morning with this attitude;  they have been developing it since their 20s or 30s.

It’s worth thinking about…


4 thoughts on “Beware of what you get used to”

  1. As someone who is acting as a part-timer carer for my parents, I find this one can be a killer….I end up living in THEIR very limited comfort zone. If I don’t do the exact same things for them on the exact same day of the week, at the exact same time, they become anxious, agitated and upset. It’s a challenge not allowing my own life to become smaller and smaller as a consequence. Without NLP I might not have the tools or the self-awareness to stop this happening. 10% stretch for me is thinking/doing something/behaving in a new way every day, taking a few risks, doing something just because I want to (something I used to think was too selfish even to contemplate!), and modelling people who are generally happy and optimistic!

  2. I once had a friend who described her life as being ‘stuck in a fur lined groove’ – and that can all too often sum it up. 10% new is such a great concept – I can’t believe how much wider my comfort zone has become in the last year from just that simple concept…..Now off to prepare slides for my Thursday audience of 70+. Am I nervous? Not really – I had 100 last week, and that was fine, in the end.

    Thank heavens for expanding comfort zones

  3. Hi Clare: That’d certainly be a stretch for me – to have to adhere to parents’ strict agenda. Even though it is their way of handling things.

    Have you tried a mixture of very small deviations from their norm mixed with gentle humour which enables them to see the funny side on their timetables?

    Not easy, I’d agree. Only things is that, if you follow their strictures, you’re rewarding these and therefore they are likely to become even more inflexible.

  4. Hi Caron: I love people who can come up with such evocative descriptions – “stuck in a fur-lined groove”. Wonderful. And, at the same time, scary.

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