Driving your own bus

Driving your own bus

Driving your own bus? Or back-seat passenger?

Bad times or learning opportunities?

What’s your favourite screw-up, setback, mistake, weak spot, etc.

What’s pretty well guaranteed to have you in an unpleasant mood?  For example:

  • Do you forget things? And then give yourself a hard time about it.
  • Do you get irritable? And then blame yourself or others for causing the mood change?
  • Do you fret unnecessarily about things – which later turn out okay?
  • Do you blame others for not behaving as you’d like them to – and then use guilt to try and mould their behaviour?
  • Do you feel sorry for yourself because the world isn’t as it should be – but do nothing to make things right for yourself?

What’s common to these?

The common factor in all of these questions is the implication that unpleasant moods don’t happen to us – instead we cooperate in making them happen in us.

And, therefore, the implication is that we cause our own moods by how we react; by how we think, respond and/or interpret what’s happening in and around us.

“I don’t want to hear this!”

This is a message which many people do not want to hear. It’s a lot easier to blame others for when we feel bad.

Then we don’t have to take responsibility for the bad mood: we can just blame them. And intimidate them through anger or guilt into getting their act together and behaving as we think they should!

But, if we look at things calmly and rationally, no-one is able to get in there and actually change how our brain cells and body chemicals function to produce the mood. It’s our own thinking which does that! We create our own negative moods.

Walking the NLP Talk next year

Recognising this and acting upon it is central to real NLP.  That’s why it amazes me whenever I come across NLP fans – and even NLP Practitioners – blaming others for their own moods.

So, as a thought to ponder, as it is the end of one year and the beginning of another, could the coming year be

the year for driving our own emotional bus?

the year in which to begin looking at how we create our own unpleasant moods?

the year for giving others the freedom to behave as they wish – even if we don’t approve?

Ralph Waldo Emerson (an NLPer long before NLP was invented) suggested “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

So think about it…

What if every ‘down’ mood were to be treated as an opportunity to learn more about how we create our bad moods – and, therefore, how we can create them less often?

We could even begin to welcome ‘down’ moods as learning opportunities.

Want to take this further?

(Click here https://www.nlp-now.co.uk/nlp_what_you_want.htm for more articles dealing Driving Your Own Bus.)


You might also want to check out our related articles:













  1. Iain Menzies on 1st January 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I’m currently studying psychology with particular emphasis on Cognative Behavioural Therapy. CBT and NLP seem to share many common core values. I love the idea that as individuals, we create the Universe we live in. Our World is defined by how we process information from the environment around us. If we can awaken to this concept and take responsibility, it follows we can ensure much more positive outcomes and experiences. Now that’s real power.

  2. Jonny on 2nd January 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Great Blog Reg! I have been thinking about the ‘New Year’ and the meaning it has for me / us. I noticed a pattern which I had followed which resulted in my ‘raising the bar’ strategy, with regards to New year resolutions, overwhelming myself with all the ‘new things’ I absolutely have to do – now!, also reflected on many things throughout 2010 which were not so positive, of course managing to forget the great things that happened, now that would just be silly 🙂 All in all this results in me then sat in bed at night thinking all sorts of stuff, not sleeping well, and hey presto! I feel slighty withdrawn, tired, and bit down in the dumps, who would have thought it hey!

    I am finding that by trying to ‘boil the ocean’ is not the most resourcefull way at getting things done. Maybe having three things to work on at any onetime may help, or just even being flexiable thoughtout the year.

    As I write this, I am also aware of how my state is simply shifting. Sometimes it can help just to stop for a minute, adn ask the question, what can I do right now to get to where I want to be? It maybe a walk, writing on a blog, doing a headstand, whatever. I am starting to realise more and more, being in the right place with me is so important, good old rapport again! I forget this so often! Being in rapport with me, being reassuring, having respect, and recognising. Another great sign I find is if I am being ‘narky’ with others, just to check-in with myself, usually what I want other to mirror my own negativity, I great indicator of what is going on inside.

    Off to do some thinking!

  3. Reg on 2nd January 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Hi Iain: yes, there are lots of similarities in the CBT approach and that of NLP. I wonder which came first? 🙂

    I think the important thing is they both work with the cognitions, or mental processes, which produce the emotions rather than attempting to deal directly with the emotions.

    Getting this concept across to people can, in itself, be very empowering – even before we get to doing the official “change work”.

  4. Reg on 2nd January 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Hi Jonny: I often think that the “raising the bar” pattern is just an adult way of carrying on the “could do better” admonition from our teachers at school!

    And yes, for many of us and especially those of us who do a lot of our thinking in Auditory Digital processing, out-picturing our thoughts is very helpful.

    It enables us to gain perspective on things – whether this be through going for a walk, doing a diary entry, or having a chat with a friend (who just listens rather than advises).

  5. GrahamJ on 3rd January 2011 at 5:56 AM

    Hi Reg,

    I was fortunate enough to have the concept of us creating our own moods explained to me when I was in my early 20’s. It was a revolutionary way of looking at things. That was 40 years ago and since then a lot of fleshing out of the model has taken place. Sadly, it only seems to reach a very limited audience. Also, there seem to be a whole lot of powerful influences which go against the idea, for example, rules aimed at ‘preventing people being offended’.

    I think that learning to drive our own emotional bus is a lifetime’s undertaking; in other words, it is important to continue learning. I think the process is under-pinned, or accompanied by, developing a robust personal identity and to get started on that is a whole NLP course.

    I read a number of articles in 2010 which suggested that multi-tasking was a very unproductive way of working and even an excuse for procrastination. The message was that it is far better to stick with a task until it is done, or at least at a determined milestone, before moving to another task.
    Also, I think you might find this Pegasus NLP newsletter very helpful:

  6. Jonny on 3rd January 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Thanks for the comments all! Been reflecting more this morning whilst on a walk. I have realised that the pattern of ‘ I must get everything done now’ has a secondary gain – eventually I get to the point where I actually do something about it, although the journey to get their can be somewhat fractious to say the least. Somewhere I believe my unconcious knows that it is time to do some work on a few things, for example reveiwing values, beliefs, whats important, future pacing, etc. What I also find curious is that although I did not think I held significance of the ‘New year’, for some reason, I do! It almost seems like I’m able to stand in a ‘meta-position’ with my own life?

    What is absoutely key is that, I do not use change work as a tool to beat myself up with, more so that its done softley and respectfully.

    So now what? Well definately going to do re-check on values, and then my top 6 priorities for the next three months.

    Over and out!


  7. Tim on 6th January 2011 at 1:34 PM

    After I learned the meta-model on your Practitioner course Reg, I spent a lot of time listening for the meta-model patterns in other people’s speech. Now, when I notice them in my own speech (or self-talk), I stop and challenge myself. So when I notice myself saying “This situation is making me annoyed/sad/anxious etc” then, as soon as I can, I turn it round and ask myself “How did I make myself annoyed/sad/anxious etc just then?”. I still catch myself every now and then, but a lot less than I used to. I feel a lot more in charge of myself now.

  8. Reg on 6th January 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Hi Tim: although Grinder and Bandler have always cautioned against using the Meta Model on one’s self talk, I find this an ideal application – as long as we don’t overdo it.

    For me, it’s as if my Meta Model questions kick in only if the importance of the self-talk comment goes above a certain threshold.