Mind-reading gets us all into trouble! The trick to avoiding mind-reading is to stick as closely as possible to sensory-verifiable experience in our thoughts. The moment we begin to assume we know what someone is thinking, we often ignore that such a thought came from inside our minds, instead of from outside us, in real life experience.
Most of us at some time attribute intention to other people’s behavior or absence of behavior. We think we know that someone is interested in us, doesn’t like us or that person tries to hurt us. We easily forget that one of the presuppositions of NLP is that “The map is not the territory.” We are masterful at taking a small cue such as a raised eyebrow, a lack of eye contact or a failure to do something we expected and believing we know what it means. Especially relevant is that we all jump to conclusions about other people’s behaviors at some time. We usually judge other’s behavior by the effect on us and judge our own behavior by our intentions.
We also expect other people to be able to read our minds. Since we think someone should know we are pleased or annoyed with him or her. Consequently we expect others to realize we are overwhelmed, open to suggestion or distracted.
So mind reading is assuming you know what the other person is thinking or feeling without checking it. This pattern causes a great deal of interpersonal difficulties and is another of the important Meta Model problem-solving tool in your strategies toolbox.
An example you can take: “When you like that, I know you were not telling the truth.” Assuming you know the truth and you know when someone is telling the truth, you walk into a mind-read here. To challenge such a statement, you can ask: “What evidence do you have for a statement like that?”
As an exercise for today, write down 20 mind-read patterns. I already know you started, didn’t you? In NLP Mind Reading is part of the higher chunk called Distortion which is part of the Meta Model. Remind yourself to maintain Rapport, read Eye-accessing cues and body language and most of all to have Fun!
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