(The mentee is a mother and part-time model. Richard's answer was enlightening and empowering.)
Questioner: I come from a family where my siblings are very academically competitive and my dad always believed unless you were good at school, you wouldn't amount to anything. I have felt, for a long time, that there is nothing good I can do.
Richard Bandler: Nothing? That's ridiculous. If you think about it, from my point of view just for a minute, that the universe was, number one, not created by your dad. Your dad didn't do that. He can't take responsibility for it. But whoever did created the universe 300 billion years of light years from now for the sole purpose of creating conscious minds. He didn't make them all the same, he made them all different and unique. Every one of us here has different fingerprints, that's an absolute freaking miracle and that means that your way of looking at the world, potentially as impactful as anybody else that was born anywhere in the history of time.
There have been people who did very little in life and then suddenly decided they were going to do something important and did things that changed the history of medicine, the history of art, the history of music. They didn't set out to. I didn't set out to do this. This was not what I had in mind at all, not even remotely. I was a musician trying to get by, became interested in computers and I figured I could become a physicist and ultimately started a physical research facility where we were doing digital storage. Then the government came to me and said, "You should make weapons," and I went, "I'd be really good at that. I could kill a lot of people at one time," and I started hanging pictures of Washington DC in my house. I think the government had second thoughts about that but also, we don't know where we're going but we know when we're going in the right direction.
Really, all you're telling me is you're going in the wrong direction because you're paying attention to these feelings because, guess what, you learned them and you got good at them, that's all. I mean some people pluck their eyebrows out. I have clients that come in and they sit there plucking. They don't even have any eyebrows left and they're still plucking them out. Then after they're done, they're waiting for a little eyebrow thing to pull that sucker out. I know how painful this can be because every once in a while my wife comes up to me with a pair of fucking tweezers when I'm not fucking looking, I'll be doing something and she'll go, "I need to get this, it's been annoying me," and it hurts like a mother fucker.
I've always wondered because women will cry when you say something, like, "That really hurts my feelings," and then they'll sit there and pluck their eyebrows out one at a time. They're made of steel on the inside. The shit you women can do to yourself. You wear shoes that if I tried to wear I would be screaming. I'd confess anything if you put high heels on and made me walk in them for a whole day. There is no secret the government could get me to keep. You put high heels on me and force me to walk for a whole day, I'd be telling you every fucking secret the CIA ever told me, it's just there.
So don't tell me you don't have strength, I know about women, they have strength but they let a feeling build up. Here's the tricky thing; this feeling, you know you have it, right? Okay, let me ask you this; which way does it go? Hold your finger up like this. Does it go this way or does it go the reverse, this way, or clockwise or counter clockwise because we only have those dimensions. I know your nervous system can't hold still or the nerves would habituate and you'd feel nothing. So just take your finger and turn it one way and then turn it the other way and one will feel right and the other will feel very wrong.
So yes, which way does it go? Okay, so it goes this way, right? Okay, now close your eyes and spin it faster and I'll bet you'll even feel worse. Does it spin even worse? Okay, but guess what, for the first time in your life, you are in control of it. Now slow it down and it won't feel quite so bad but if you stop it and take the same feeling, take a deep breath and spin it in the opposite direction and then you realise your father is not in charge of the universe, your sister is not in charge of the universe, when it comes to your universe. And spin it faster and faster, doesn't that feel better? You spin it faster and faster and you say to yourself, "On this fucking planet, I can do any fucking thing I want and I will do it as well as I want and when I want and where I want," and then make this sound, go, "Mmm," because you don't know what it's going to be yet.
You need to hear your father telling you how you're less than - and smile and go, "He didn't make the fucking universe," because right now you are universing. You're making the universe. You see, we're the only conscious beings that get to make decisions about having meetings. I know animals congregate but they do it instinctually. They don't make decisions, although I think raccoons might and rats but other than that we get to decide.
If you look into your future, then you get to ask the big questions; what do you want to try to be good at? Because guess what, you know the cool thing about being an artist, nobody but you gets to decide what a good painting is. I play music. I don't give a fuck who likes it and who doesn't. There were people that listen to fucking Beethoven play and they went, "Oh God, that doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before. No one will ever want to listen to this guy." That's what happened. I mean I'm sorry, Rachmaninoff, oh everybody pooh-poohed his work. They went, "Rachmaninoff," and they thought Mozart was just over the top. They knew he was good but they didn't think anybody would be that interested for any length of time. Nobody thought The Beatles or anybody were going to like them. It goes on. Bob Dylan just won the Nobel Prize for poetry for heaven sakes and I'm shocked that anybody ever bought one of his albums just from his voice alone! The next thing you know Keith Richards is going to win a beauty contest!
Anything is possible on this planet because if people look at the same thing enough it becomes familiar. Jazz is based on this, you hit bad notes repeatedly over and over again, they become good notes. You learn to listen to jazz because at first it sounds fucking crazy and then after a while it starts to sound pretty good. You get used to things so what you call a mistake might be a great innovation. When you make a mistake you need to make it twice and find out if it's something you like or not. You have to understand, it's what's coming from you - and you get to decide whether it's good or bad, nobody else. You got to decide from your heart. You can only do that when the feelings are spinning in the right direction.
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