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Anchoring and the Influence of Skinner

Parts of NLP, especially anchoring, can be seen as coming from the work of Pavlov and Skinner. This is an interesting article on the contributions and over-simplifications of Skinner. Skinner believed that our environment shapes us strongly. In terms of Dilts’ Logical Levels, we could view this kind of conditioning as happening only on the lowest levels, “Environment” and “Behaviour.” The work of Chomsky and the modern cognitive psychology movement has shown that there is a lot more controlling our behaviour than environmental variables (all the higher levels on the Logical Levels: Capabilities, Beliefs&Values, Identity etc.). Still, anchoring is such an effective technique that the work of Skinner is still highly relevant for NLP practitioners today. While we are not just a product of our environments, the anchors in our environment that we respond to on a daily basis have a huge influence on our behaviours. Luckily, NLP offers the tools to control how we respond to deliberate and accidental anchors.

Other Stories

The Wave

The story is abut a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My God, this terrible”,the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”
Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him: “Why do you look so sad?” The first wave says: “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”
The second wave says: “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.”
Source: “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom

Other Stories

The Fitted Suit

A man goes to George, a famous tailor, to have a suit made. After the cloth selection and measuring he returns for the fitting and puts the suit on. One arm is shorter than the other so the tailor suggests he shortens his arm by raising his shoulder. This turns up the collar so the tailor suggests he inclines his head to one side but this creates a problem with the other shoulder so his body has to be adjusted to compensate for this and so it goes on. When the man leaves the shop he is stopped by a passer-by who says “I know only George could have made a suit that would fit a cripple like you.”

Other Stories

Two Wolves Within

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice:
“Let me tell you a story…
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.
I have struggled with these feelings many times.”
He continued: “It is as if there are two wolves inside me.
One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked: “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said: “The one I feed.”