Definitions and Examples of Sleight of Mouth Patterns

In the course of this book we have explored a number of specific Sleight of Mouth patterns, and the principles and methods which underlie the ability to generate and use them. The purpose of this chapter is to summarize them as a system of distinctions which can be used, in either conversation, consultation, or debate, to help people become more 'open to doubt' limiting beliefs, and more 'open to believe' empowering and useful beliefs. There are fourteen distinct Sleight of Mouth patterns which each help to shift attention, or widen a person's map in different directions.

Consider the belief "I have had this belief for such a long time that it will be difficult to changeThis is actually a common belief that many people struggle with when attempting to make changes in their lives. While it reflects a valid perspective, it can be quite a limiting belief if taken at face value and interpreted narrowly or rigidly. (It is also particularly tricky, because it is a belief about other beliefs and the process of changing beliefs. This 'self-referential' quality increases the likelihood that it could become 'circular' and a possible 'thought virus'.) Applying the various Sleight of Mouth patterns can help to add new perspective and 'widen the map' associated with this belief.

I have had this

I

The belief will

belief a long time

-►

be difficult to

Causes

change

Structure of a Limiting Belief Statement About Change

Structure of a Limiting Belief Statement About Change

The following are definitions and examples of how the fourteen different Sleight of Mouth patterns can be applied to this particular belief statement. Again, remember that the purpose of Sleight of Mouth is not to attack the person or the belief, but rather to reframe the belief and widen the person's map of the world in such a way that the positive intention behind the belief can be maintained through other choices.

1. Intention: Directing attention to the purpose or intention behind the belief. [See Chapter 2, pp. 41-49.]

e.g., U1 very much admire and support your desire to be honest with yourself." Positive intention = "honesty"

"It is so important to be realistic about changing one's beliefs. Let's look realistically at this belief and at what will be required to change it." Positive intention = "being realistic"

The belief will be difficult to change

Honesty Being Realistic ¡mint

Honesty Being Realistic ¡mint

I have had this belief a long lime

Intention

Causes

2. Redefining: Substituting a new word for one of the words used in the belief statement that means something similar but has different implications. [See Chapter 2, pp. 49-53.1

e.g., "Yes, something that you've held onto so tenaciously can be challenging to let go of." "had a long time" => "held onto tenaciously" "difficult to change" => "challenging to let go of'

"I agree that it can initially feel strange to go beyond familiar boundaries." "belief' => "familiar boundary"

"difficult to change" => "initially feel strange to go beyond"

I have had this belief a long time

Causes

beliefs

familiar

boundary

^Rriiefbu^^

difficult to change initially feel strange

Redefine

The belief will he di fficult to change

difficult to change initially feel strange

Redefine

Redefining

3. Consequence: Directing attention to an effect (positive or negative) of the belief, or the generalization defined by the belief, which changes (or reinforces) the belief. [See Chapter 5, pp. 127-130.]

e.g., "Anticipating that something will he difficult often makes it seem that much easier when you finally do

"Genuinely acknowledging our concerns allows us to be able to put them aside so that we can focus on what we want."

I have had this belief a long lime

Causes

Causes

Consequence

4. Chunk Down: Breaking the elements of the belief into smaller pieces such that it changes (or reinforces) the generalization defined by the belief. [See Chapter 3, pp. 63-65.1

e.g., "Since having the belief only a short time would make it much easier to change, perhaps you can remember what it was like back at the time you had just formed the belief and imagine having changed it at that time."

"long time" => "short time"

"Perhaps if, instead of trying to change the whole belief at once, if you just altered it in small increments, it would feel easy and even fun." "changing a belief => "altering it in increments"

1 have had this belief a long time

Causes

The belief will be difficult to change

Causes

The belief will be difficult to change

Chunk Down

5. Chunk Up: Generalizing an element of the belief to a larger classification that changes (or reinforces) the relationship defined by the belief. [See Chapter 3, pp. 66-67J

e.g., "The past does not always accurately predict the future. Knowledge can evolve rapidly when it is reconnected with the processes which naturally update it." "had for a long time" => "past" "belief => "a form of knowledge"

"will be difficult => "future" "change" => "connected with the processes which naturally update it"

"All processes of change have a natural cycle that cannot be rushed. The question is, what is the length of the natural life cycle for the particular belief you have?" "difficult to change" => "natural cycle that cannot be rushed"

"had the belief a long time" => "length of the beliefs 'life cycle*"

Chunk Up

6. Analogy: Finding a relationship analogous to that defined by the belief which challenges (or reinforces) the generalization defined by the belief. (See Chapter 3, pp. 68-72.1

e.g., UA belief is like a law. Even very old laws can be changed quickly if enough people vote for something new"

"A belief is like a computer program. The issue is not how old the program is, it is whether or not you know the programming language

"The dinosaurs were probably surprised at how rapidly their world changed, even though they had been around for a long time."

I have had this belief a long rime

The belief will be difficult to Causes I change

A belief is like a law.

A belief is like a computer program. Analogy

Analogy

7. Change Frame Size: Re-evaluating (or reinforcing) the implication of the belief in the context of a longer (or shorter) time frame, a larger number of people (or from an individual point of view) or a bigger or smaller perspective. ISee Chapter 2, pp. 34-37.J

e.g., <rYou are probably not the first or only one to have this belief Perhaps the more people there are who are successfully able to change it, the easier it will become for others to change this type of belief in the future"

"Years from now, you will probably have difficulty remembering that you ever had this belief."

"/ am sure that your children will appreciate that you have made the effort to change this belief, rather than passing it on to them."

Others have had and changed similar beliefs.

I Change frame Size

Your children will be happy that you went through the effort to change it.

Orange Frame Size

/ have had this belief a long time

Causes

The be lief will be difficult to change

Change Frame Size

8. Another Outcome: Switching to a different goal than that addressed or implied by the belief, in order to challenge (or reinforce) the relevancy of the belief. [See Chapter 2, pp. 26-30.1

e.g., "It is not necessary to change the belief. It just needs to be updated."

"The issue is not so much about changing beliefs. It is about making your map of the world congruent with who you are now."

Another Outcome

9. Model of the World: Re-evaluating (or reinforcing) the belief from the framework of a different model of the world. [See Chapter 2, pp. 55-58.1

e.g., "You are lucky. Many people don't even recognize that their limitations are a function of beliefs that can be changed at all. You are a lot farther ahead than they are."

"Artists frequently use their inner struggles as a source of inspiration for creativity. I wonder what type of creativity your efforts to change your belief might bring out in you."

(The belief will be difficult to change

Model of the World

10. Reality Strategy: Reevaluating (or reinforcing) the belief accounting for the fact that people operate from cognitive perceptions of the world in order to build their beliefs. [See Chapter 4, pp. 89-97.J

e.g., "How, specifically, do you know that you have had this belief for a 'long time'?"

"What particular qualities of what you see or hear when you think about changing this belief make it seem 'difficult'?"

f What memories ory inner representations make you think that changing this belief V will he difficult? J

\ReaIity Strategy /

I have had this

The belief will

belief a long time

he difficult to

Causes

change

Reality Strategy

11. Counter Example: Finding an example or "exception to the rule" that challenges or enriches the generalization defined by the belief. [See Chapter 6, pp. 167-174.]

e.g., "Most other mental processes (such as old memories) seem to become less intense and more susceptible to distortion and change the longer we have them, rather than become stronger. What makes beliefs so differ-

"I have seen many beliefs established and changed instantaneously when people are provided with the appropriate experiences and support."

entr

I have had this belief a long time

I have had this belief a long time

The belief will be difficult to change

The belief will be difficult to change processes fade with time rather than become stronger processes fade with time rather than become stronger

Counter Example

12. Hierarchy of Criteria: Re-evaluating (or reinforcing) the belief according to a criterion that is more important than any addressed by the belief. [See Chapter 4, pp. 98-107.1

e.g., "The degree to which a belief fits with and supports one's vision and mission is more important than how long one has had the belief "

"Personal congruence and integrity are worth whatever effort it takes to achieve them."

Effort to Change

Hierarchy of Criteria

13. Apply to Self: Evaluating the belief statement itself according to the relationship or criteria defined by the belief. ISee Chapter 8, pp. 234-239.]

e.g., "How long have you held the opinion that the difficulty in changing beliefs is primarily a matter of timer

"How difficult do you think it would be to change your belief that long held generalizations are. difficult to change

Apply to Self

14. Meta Frame: Evaluating the belief from the frame of an ongoing, personally oriented context - establishing a belief about the belief [See Chapter 8, pp. 240-242.J

e.g., "Perhaps you have the belief that beliefs are difficult to change, because you have previously lacked the tools and understanding necessary to change them easily.''

"Has it occurred to you that maybe your belief that this particular belief will be difficult to change is a good justification for staying the way you are? Maybe there is something that you like, or a part of you likes, about the way you are now."

Meta Frame

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