I was taking the familiar route, you know the one. Hot steaming travel mug in one hand, overfilled laptop bag in the other, keys in my mouth, shouting at the kids and trying to stop the dog escaping into the street. Loading everything in, it was time to get on the road. Always leaving it later than I should, the children are hastily dropped at school and I head onto the open road to fulfil that thing I call work.
This day was no different from any other, red traffic lights, buses. The babbling noise on the radio until I met the traffic jam. The dual carriage way was blocked on both sides, some unfortunate Vauxhall had decided to get up close and personal with a lorry carrying an interesting load that had decided to spill itself across the carriageway. It was here that I started to notice.
As I sat there, I really began to notice. I looked across at the snake of traffic to my right, every car different, some old, some new, some bright, some rusty, some large, some small. What intrigued me was the activity inside.
Every vehicle had its own little universe inside. There was the pretty, young blonde touching up her lipstick and checking her reflection. The builder reading his newspaper, chewing never ending gum. There was the suited and booted chap, I believe chatting to himself. There was the older man, sat patiently hands on the steering wheel staring into the stream of traffic ahead. There was the happy car full of students, blasting their music and waving their hands in time to the beat. With the older ladies sat behind them raising their eyebrows whilst discussing something rather interesting I assume.
Everyone was sat in their own world, doing their own thing and here I was the observer. It reminded me of life in general. Everyone is busy doing their own thing, carrying on with life, not noticing the people and world around them. We all are consumed with getting to the destination, to being on time, making sure we do that stuff that needs to be done. How often to we stop and just take a look around? How often do we check on other people’s worlds?
In the world of NLP we have a list of presuppositions that guide us and one of these is that everyone has their own model of the world. That every person, has their own meanings and values that lead to their own unique model of the world. Nobody has the right world, we are all equal and each have our own unique version of the world around us based on our values, beliefs, experiences and filters. From understanding NLP you learn to realise that any behaviour is acceptable to that persons model of the world, they are motivated by their own positive intent (trying to do the best they can with the resources they have). Sometimes this can be hard to understand if your model of the world is different. What NLP also teaches us as NLP Practitioners is that it’s not our place to judge, but to try and understand the reasoning for the persons thinking and behaviour, to respect their model of the world. This breeds empathy – something this would could do more of.
So next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, take a look at the cars around you, you may just get a small insight into somebody else’s world!