So, in January I (Greg) was honoured to be invited to speak to students at Oxford University.
This prestigious and somewhat daunting invitation came out of the blue, however I was invited to speak to business students on the topics of motivation, productivity and goals and how my experience with entrepreneurs, business people and motorsport could translate across and provide the business students with useful insights and tools to help them.
I was given a 40 minute slot, which for me even at the best of times is not a lot of time to talk in. (those who know out have met me will understand!)
I drew up my talking points, opted against any “slides” or “death by powerpoint”, and decided with such a small window of time and such a valuable opportunity to aim to get as much information of value across as possible.
I planned a talk based around goals and productivity. Factually accurate. Helpful? – probably. Valuable? – Yes, Dry? – Perhaps a little. Inspiring? – Maybe not.
With 2 days to go, I had an epiphany.
I had to get across the most valuable aspects of my experience with business people and sports people and their own experiences as they developed and built their businesses and careers.
I rewrote what I had to say and decided although it may not be what had been requested or asked for, it was probably the most valuable information I could share.
The mix of students was interesting. From 1st year students through to final year. Mature students, Phd students and students from all over the world. It was interesting as I wondered whether or not the themes I was going to cover were universally applicable and universally experienced? However, my work with clients around the world gave me an idea that some issues and experiences are definitely universal.
So, what did I share? Well firstly, I didn’t use my notes. I felt so passionate about the young people in front of me starting their journeys that I genuinely and whole heartedly wanted to give them the best information that could be useful. Here’s some highlights…
Self – Awareness
I spoke about the importance of recognising our “salty bag of meat” as I call us. Recognising and listening to our unconscious, our unmet needs. Noticing our own behaviours and what it can tells us about our own “state”.
The importance of recognising our own triggers and the states they can bring.
Self care and the importance of bringing our best self’s to what we do, and how there really can be great value in actually doing less.
I spoke a little on the NLP use of Perceptual Positions when questioned on how to achieve more insight and objectivity around our own situations, thoughts and states.
I spoke about “away from” and “towards” motivation and again the importance of being aware of what drives us to ensure positive, consistent action in getting what we want. I usually use weight loss as a perfect example to demonstrate how realising and becoming aware of our unconscious behaviours can help us mitigate and plan alternative behaviours and strategies to achieve the outcomes we want.
Environment & Behaviour
A firm favourite of mine, (just ask Pete!). I explained how Bateson’s and Dilts’ model of Logical Levels in NLP can really help understand and manage our states. Talking about study environments and distractions and clearing marking out areas for study / recreation to avoid distraction and help to anchor states.
I also spoke about trance, the nature of trance states and hypnosis. This attracted a good deal of question both during the talk and after!
My last topic (apologies to the speaker who followed later on after me) was on advice.
I spoke about advice and the importance of being aware of people offering advice as it’s coloured by their experiences, beliefs, filters, generalisations and distortions. One of the principle presuppositions of NLP – “The map is not the territory”
Advice coloured by “people’s map’s” as NLP would describe it. That this is something to be aware of and it doesn’t make “the advice” wrong or valueless however many times people give advice on what worked for them. Essentially a reportage of their experience, not a universal approach that will work for everyone.
In NLP modelling is at the core, and “trying something on for size” is fundamental. See how it fits. Wanton curiosity and experimentation. Not taking everything at face value an shoehorning it to forcing on to yourself and your experience.
My diversion to discuss “advice” and it’s relation to “the map is not the territory” and our filters was brought about by January.
I like to read. Everyday I get my “Kindle Daily Deals” and in January all I saw were titles called “the xxx solution” “the xxx cure” “how to fix xxx”.
This brought to mind lots of clients I’ve worked with who have read books like these and others (Tim Ferris anyone?) who while they state they are a “cure/fix/solution” they are in actual fact nothing more than again reportage of the author’s own experience and what worked for them dressed up as something universally applicable. Nothing wrong with that. As long as you are aware of these filters.
In essence my point was and is you can read the books. Keep what’s useful, and be aware you’re reading somebody’s experience along with their filters and biases.
Notice if you find yourself squeezing yourself into somebody else’s experience if it doesn’t fit or suit you.
(I understand the potential for irony here, however I’m sharing my opinion and asking you to be aware, be curious – I’m not giving you advice….I can only report my experiences )
Thanks for reading
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