By Gerry Murray. 14-02-2021
(Scroll down for a laugh)

“Learning is about looking at things differently, making your life a little better every day.” ~ Richard Bandler

Check out the new podcast here

I would like to thank everyone who has already subscribed to my new podcast, Leading People. I'm thrilled, grateful and humbled by the response so far! 

Podcasts tend to grow by word-of-mouth. So, please forward the link to anyone whom you think would enjoy Leading People.

The next episode will be published on the 20th of February. 

In the latest episode of the podcast, Rick Tate refers to our Adaptive Capacity that leads to our ability to flex our behaviour according to the situation we find ourselves in. As Rick mentions, a key factor that can seriously limit our behavioural choices is how we frame them. 

Therefore, this week I'd like to continue with the theme of framing and once again reference this in the context of a meeting. 

NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) began from what we call a Contrast Frame. Richard Bandler and John Grinder started modelling excellent communicators by asking a simple question: 

What's the difference that makes the difference? 

This was an important distinction because many people who studied excellence began with a different question: 

What do these excellent communicators have in common? 

This can lead to a sameness frame, which is ok to a point. However, it's unlikely to help you solve a problem or make the necessary distinctions that help you understand excellent performance.

How is it useful?

Take two situations, one where you were fully resourceful and one where you were not. By setting up a contrast between the two situations you better understand how to deal with future challenging situations. 

The significant differences between the two can be used as a resource and brought into the unresourceful situation. 

You can test this out for yourself with a simple exercise:

  1. Write down all the things that you achieved in 2020, even if you didn't expect to achieve them. Think broadly across all areas of your life (health, wealth, family, career, fitness, possessions, etc). 
  2. On a separate sheet of paper, write down all the things that you didn't manage to achieve (yet) in 2020. The word "yet" is useful because it presupposes that you might/could still achieve this thing one day. Or, if the word "yet" doesn't feel quite right, you might decide that this one thing is actually not that important to you anyway and can be removed from your list for this year.
  3. Now, compare the two lists and ask yourself:

What's the difference that made the difference between what I achieved and what I didn't achieve? 

You'll probably end up with a list of +/-5 things. These can now form your personal Key Success Factors (KSFs) or Rules for Success

Keep these KSFs handy and review them before embarking on a new challenge or if you're struggling to achieve something. You might be amazed at how useful they turn out to be!

In a meeting, you can use contrast frames to resolve perceived difficulties or simply to understand something better. Most of us are actually quite good at perceiving differences. Some questions you can ask yourself or the other meeting participants: 

  • How is this different? 
  • What is it that makes this stand out? 
  • What are the important variations between these things? 

And, when you act "as-if" (see previous post) you're also setting up a contrast frame between your current state and your desired state. Then the question becomes, what would you need to do or know to get from one state to the other. 

May your perception of differences make a difference this week! 



One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. 
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?'
Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.' 
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?'

My boss arrived at work in a brand-new Lamborghini.
I said, "Wow, that's an amazing car!"
He replied, "If you work hard, put all your hours in, and strive for excellence, I'll get another new one next year".

The teacher announces the total for an exam.
Teacher: Okay class, only John got 99/100

John:(to his classmates) Ha! See that?! You people are oozing with stupidity. You people should've followed my example. You guys should just shine shoes for a living or just live the rest of your lives as a mountain hermit. You can all drool at my excellence and you-

Teacher: The rest got 100.

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