COLOURS – A high-performance state game – New Code NLP.
Dear ‘Agent of change’:
It gives me great pleasure to offer this description and video to the NLP community as one of a growing set of NLP patterns called New Code Games. Please test it and provide feedback…
If you are unfamiliar with New Code games or the New Code Change Format, there is a simple introduction further down the page.
I have taken The Alphabet Game, (Published by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair in ‘Whispering in the Wind’ 2001) and incorporated a three-colour version of The Stroop Effect (Published by John Ridley Stroop in an article titled ‘Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions’ 1935) with one important difference.
I first coded this pattern in 2008. My perception at the time (based on unreliable self-calibration) was that it did not induce a high performance state. I began to test the pattern with other people in early 2009 and the effects in some cases have been profound! I urge you to experiment with this pattern for 4 reasons:
- I have found that, for some individuals, it induces a profound high-performance ‘state’.
- In some cases, the state lasted for a long time.
- For some individuals there is hardly a change in state at all. (This is fascinating to me; what are individuals doing differently that makes the game more/less challenging?)
- The changes that have followed the use of this state have been surprising.
Please have fun exploring this. I eagerly await your comments. Can I invite you to publish your findings below?
On a flip chart write the words red, green and blue in red green and blue; mix the words and vary the colours randomly as per the example (any 3 distinctly different colours will do – use the names of the coloured inks you are using):
1. Working from top left to bottom right, set up a rhythm of ‘clicking’ fingers to the colour of the ink (not the written word):
For red ink – click the fingers on the right hand
For green ink – click the fingers on the left hand
For blue ink – click the fingers on the both hands
If the person playing is unable to ‘click’ then raising the arm works just as well.
2. Once that condition is achieved, add a condition like balance or movement on both sides of the body simultaneously to activate both hemispheres.
For balancing seated on a gym ball or standing on a balance board.
Alternatively, use the condition from the alphabet game – raising the left leg at the same time as clicking the fingers on the right hand for red ink, raising the right leg at the same time as clicking fingers on the left hand for green ink, and bending both knees or lifting up onto tip-toes at the same time as clicking fingers on both hands for blue.
3. Set the condition of responding to the colour of ink as they have been, and add in the condition of articulating the written word as they click their fingers.
For example: For the first word on the second line as shown in the picture above, they would click fingers on the right hand (responding to the RED coloured ink) and say, “BLUE.” Articulating the written word.
I think that there is a kind of ‘appropriate ordering’ to the task. As well as being tricky enough and incorporating enough functions to induce a high performance state, the linguistic task (name the colour) is in response to the linguistic information (the written word) and the more unconscious movement function (click fingers) is in response to the environmental stimulus (colour – differences wavelength of the light from the words).
New Code High-Performance States and the New Code Change Format
One of the key distinctions between ‘classic’ NLP and New Code NLP is the use of high-performance resource states.
In ‘classic’ code change techniques we may ask a question like, “How would you like to feel instead?” Or, “What would be a good resource state for this context?”
In doing this we are assigning choice of the resource state to the part of the system that is least equipped to make that choice, and we are limited to the resource states that the client has available within the set of past experiences under the linguistic label they choose.
Below is an overview of the New Code Change Format designed by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair. I will take it as read that the technique will be conducted under the conditions of rapport, calibration and utilisation.
1. Select the context – Begin the pattern dissociated; the client imagining his/herself in the context from a clean 3rd position (the ‘fly on the wall’ perspective) at a specific point in the room or immediate proximity. Use whatever suggestions are required for the client to detach from the context (cinema screen, physically move further away, change sub-modalities etc)
2. Pay a visit – ask the client to step into the context associated 1st position (looking through their own eyes) and calibrate on the state shift. Ask the client for sensory evidence (K).
3. Separator State – the client physically steps out of the context to another place in the room (different to the places where they stood for step 1 and 2) and, rather than just a break of state, elicit a different state in the client.
4. Play the New Code Game to induce a high-performance state
5. Whilst the individual is in a high-performance state, able to perform all of the conditions smoothly, ask them / guide them to step back into the context into an associated 1st position.
The high-performance state will easily be maintained from the activity into the context. If you want to provide sensory stimulus to anchor the high-performance state and then fire the anchor when they are associated back into the context you can, however it is an unnecessary step that adds complexity to the process.
It is important to physically move between the different perceptual positions. Not only does the unconscious respond extremely well to this metaphor, you are anchoring the states to different places in the immediate environment.
The Stroop Effect
To Experience the Stroop effect, simply read out the colour of the words below, so you are naming the colour of the ink (not reading the written word):
(Interesting to people involved in NLP that most instances you will find of this task include the explicit instruction, ‘Don’t read the words”)
A psychologist would describe this effect as interference: When most people look at one of the words, you see both its color and its meaning and those two pieces of evidence are in conflict. Because conditioning has taught you that word meaning is more important than ink color (consider your interaction with the hundreds of signs you see every day), interference occurs when you try to pay attention only to the ink color. There are two theories that attempt to explain the Stroop effect: (1) Speed of Processing Theory: the interference occurs because words are read faster than colors are named. (2) Selective Attention Theory: the interference occurs because naming colors requires more attention than reading words. So in one case it’s because reading words is easier, in the other it’s because naming colours requires more attention. Either way the study tells us about the study, if you distort the words to make them more difficult to read, it becomes easier to name the colour. This is psychology so it’s about statistics (not necessarily universal human processes) – not everyone experiences this interference – imagine my 3-year old attempting the task above, he can read the words but finds it easier to name the colours.
If we take a pragmatic NLP approach we can utilise this effect to induce positive high-performance states and remove ‘interference’ by building a high performance state and imposing a more appropriate or effective response to the stimulus.
The strategy for responding to a written word is different to the strategy for responding to colour (or anything else in your environment). You don’t necessarily take time to think ‘red’ or ‘green’ when you interact with a traffic light. In activities like sport or any ‘flow’ state, the introduction of linguistic description and the consequent evaluation leads to a deterioration in performance. In sum – Psychologists use The Stroop Effect to create and measure interference. In NLP we can use this effect to build states that remove the interference and provoke generative change… Over to you…… Please post comments below.