Friday, 24 June 2016



Imagine what life would be like and the possibilities if you were a young
black boy, born in Texas at the turn of the 20th century, in the year 1900.
How meaningful and productive do you think your life would have been?

That's when Wilk Peters was born.  He was born to a share-cropper in a part
of Texas where the nights were rules by racial threat and the days were
spent fighting off poverty by working the cotton fields.  So by eight he was
walking behind a plow mule.  Now would you think that this is the place or
context of the best conditions for self-actualization?  Would you guess it
to be a place of dreams?

Yet young Wilk caught a dream, and early.  At 8 years old he happened to
meet the only one educated man in his humble experience, an awesome figure
in a tall black hat- the doctor.  But even better, when he mentioned it to
his dad, John Peters, his dad knew how to nourish the beginning of
aspirations in his young son.  He encouraged him.  He validated knowledge
and expertise and that he could become whatever he wanted to become.

And so the dream began.  And as it began to grow, it put a passion in Wilk.
It plants within him a fire for learning, for discovering the world, and for
questioning.  It put in him a hatred against ignorance and that became the
emergent talent, skill, and competency of his life.

But there was a problem.  And that problem was his immediate environment and
the family situation.  Specifically, by 13 his dad took ill in an accident
and died so young Wilk had to step up to be "the man" in the family and talk
care of the family.  So he dropped out of school (fifth grade) and stayed
home to tend the farm in his dad's place.  And so it went, adult
responsibilities and no more school.  How would he ever become a doctor?
How would he ever pursue knowledge?

But by 18 his mother remarried and so left for another town, and that left
Wilk alone for the first time in his life.  Without education or skills, he
took a job at a local lumbermill and that's where he began to hear the other
young men dreaming of getting an education.  In fact, he had heard that some
had actually gone to Tyler Texas and enrolled in college.

That sparked something in young Peters.  It had a dramatic impact!  Many
decades later, Jon Franklin wrote about how this affected Wilks.

"If they could go, so could he!  The gossamer fantasy instantly solidified
in his mind, from possibilities to dream to goal to necessity."

Of course, this was his self-actualizing vision at that time.  Yet up
against that were many things ready to throw cold water on this dream.
First, the men he talked to who had gone to college, went and had failed.
They dropped out.  Some mismanaged their money.  Some couldn't cut the
grades.  Some just lost their dream.  Some failed to apply themselves.  Some
were put off by the racism of the day.  Then there was the belief that was
circulating in the intellectual atmosphere at that time. 

"It was said that an illiterate, once he became an adult, was done for.  The
mind was set, firm, impossible to teach."

Talk about interferences to the self-actualization process of unleashing
one's potentials!  And, while Wilk was filled with cold terror, he refused
to believe it.  He absolutely refused to believe it.  Ah, the creative and
positive role of stubbornness!  He told himself that if he ever got the
chance, he would not drop out.  "If I get the chance."

Then he did something to begin to make his dreams real in his life.  Looking
around him and seeing the machinery at the sawmill, the first automobiles,
the goods at the company store, it struck him that somebody had to know
something.  That's when he made a decision.  He would be one of those
people!  And with that he moved to a choice point of his life.

"The resolution made, his ignorance became suddenly intolerable, and he
couldn't wait.  He borrowed some primers and when he wasn't working, he
reviewed arithmetic and grammar ... when he found it incomprehensible, he
still refused to put it down."  (Jon Franklin)

And so the plan began.  He began saving for school.  Each payday he would
save a little for his education; the rest going to his mother and family and
some for his modest requirements.  A year passed, then two, then three and
all the while he was reading.  Learning.

"The more he learned, the more voracious his appetite for knowledge became.
Slowly the puzzle of mathematics yielded to his stubborn attack, and he was
captivated by the sweet logic of it.  As he learned, the idea of learning
itself broadened."  (Franklin)

With his eyes opened to learning, he one day saw an opportunity.  A notice
on a church bullet board said that the president of Texas College was coming
to give a lecture.  So 23 years of age with only a 5th grade education, he
showed up with the money he had saved in hand and asked if he was too old.
The president didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise, and simply said,
"Nothing was impossible."  That was all Wilk needed to hear.

In the fall of the year he showed up to enter college.  The admissions
officials gave him a job shoveling coal and allowed him to attend 6th grade.
So sitting with his knees jammed under a tiny table, he wrestled with long
division and if there was laughing and jokes, he didn't notice.  "He viewed
his place in class as opportunity, not insult."  How about that?  Talk about
having owned his powers to create meaning and to exercise that power!  Talk
about someone letting a vision direct his responses rather than taking his
cues from the environment.

The school administrators thought that the embarrassment of being with
little kids, of having to work at hard menial labor to put himself through
school would be enough to quench his dream.  It wasn't.  The next year he
was back and that's when he discovered Shakespear; and Shakespear spoke to
him.  "To be or not to be: that is the question."  He memorized the words as
he shoveled coal.  That was also the year he discovered the library- a
sacred place of unimaginable riches. And the books began to change him.  His
learnings began making him a different man.  And he became a dreamer and in
beating back ignorance, he was slowly turning his dream into reality.  And
as he has respected knowledge, now he was coming to respect himself.

Fast forward several years, and when Wilk was 28 he graduated from high
school.  And Franklin wrote that with that, all of his fears of failure
vanished.  Now he was ready for college.  Now he would be a "college man."
But in the second year, 1929, the stock market crashed.  That meant even
fewer menial jobs.  Yet as always, he persisted.  Waiting tables in the
student cafeteria, he did so until he graduated in 1931.  During that time
he become fascinated by languages and so started learning German, then
Spanish while teaching math.  Talk about an emergent passion taking a long
time to arise in one.

When there was no work even with a college degree in mathematics, he
volunteered at the college library.  In it was in that context that the head
librarian began noticing the reverence with which he handled each volume.
That's when she asked a question that plant yet another vision within him.
"Why not become a librarian?"  The rest of the story is that Wilk Peters
applied for a scholarship to the Hampton Institute's College of Library
Science in Virginia.

Then, over the ensuing years he began traveling in his summers to see the
world.  A teacher most of the year, he spent 3 months each summer as a
student, studying Spanish at the University of Barcelona, art and French in
Paris, and his travels took him to Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Norway,
England, Ireland, and so on.  "His profession was perfectly matched to his
dream of learning." As a professor and lecturer, he lived his life traveling
the world, searching for knowledge, and constantly beating back ignorance.
He traveled to bring knowledge back to black universities around the world.
And, in the end he discovered that the world wasn't a stage at all as per
Spakespear, but a campus.  And that was the dream that caught his fancy in
the first place, a dream that unleashed a ferocity of learning and turned
him into a life-long learner.


In 1983 Jon Franklin wrote The Ballad of Old Man Peters which was published
it in the Evening Sun (Baltimore) and later in Reader's Digest (Jan. 1984).

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International

When you hear the name Doug Adams you probably think about the guy who wrote
A Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy.  But there was another Doug Adams and
one who played a key role in Neuro-Semantics at the beginning.  The
Neuro-Semanticist Doug Adams was an IT guy who grew up in Kansas City
Missouri (where I first met him) and later moved to work in Washington DC.
I met Doug in the mid-1980s and later introduced him to NLP which he took to

He was passionate enough about it that he was one of the people who traveled
to Denver for the 1994 NLP Conference where I spoke on my first modeling
project on Resilience out of which arose the Meta-States Model.  He flew in
from Washington DC and attended the presentation when I first discovered the
Meta-States Model and he was one of the three people there that I
immediately began talking to after that presentation about Meta-States.
Then, throughout 1994 and 1995, Doug was one of the colleagues with whom I
brainstormed about many of the factors and features that I incorporated into
the first designing of the Meta-States Model.

Yet what I remember Doug Adams mostly for is this: he was the person who
invented the verb meta-stating.  After reading my initial paper on
Meta-States and contemplating it for a couple of weeks, we have a long
conversation on the phone in December of 1994.  That?s when Doug asked me
about ?the steps of meta-stating.?  ?The steps of what?? I inquired.
?Meta-stating?? I repeated, ?I?ve never thought of it like that.  What are
you thinking Doug??

?Well, if you?re not going to turn Meta-States into another nominalization
so that people think that it is a thing rather than focus on the process and
the mechanisms of reflexivity, then don?t you need a verb form of the term

During that dialogue, Doug challenged me to come up with a meta-state
process.  When I later came up with the original meta-stating process.  I
think it had 11 steps!  Talk about exhaustive, it said everything I knew and
could think about self-reflexivity.  Later as I began traveling and
presenting Meta-States to various NLP Centers in the USA, I discovered one
of the real benefits of presentation?feedback.  People found the eleven
steps far too much to remember and practice.  So I began to simplify the
process and to put it in a more memorable form.  That resulted in the Five
?A?s of meta-stating:

1) Access a resourceful state that you want to set as your frame or

2) Amplify that state so that it is strong and robust enough to be felt.
It?s the feeling of the state that counts.

3) Apply that state to a primary state or situation.

4) Appropriate it into the life context, environment, or relationship where
you want it.

5) Analyze the result to make sure it is ecological, congruent, and

After coming up with the Five ?A?s, Denis Bridoux in England translated it
into French using 5 French words starting in A; others found 5 Spanish
words.  When Colin Cox in New Zealand learned the five English words
starting with A, he applied his creative genius to them by turning them into
gestures so that people could mime them for easy learning.  He also added
two more ?A?s??awareness? and ?accelerate.?  He put Awareness as the first
step (aware of the primary state to be outframed) and Accelerate as the last
(accelerate into life).

1) Awareness of the present and primary state that needs to be outframed,
textured, or meta-stated with some higher resource.

7) Accelerate your actions and behaviors to make this new experience real
and practical in your everyday life.

The meta-stating process then involves these seven steps: 1) Awareness.  2)
Access.  3) Amplify. 4) Apply.  5) Appropriate.  6) Analyze. 7) Accelerate.
Back in late 1990s Doug Adams? name occurred in most of the issues of The
Meta-State Journal (1997, 1998).   Those monthly journals are now
incorporated in the book, Meta-State Magic.   Before his untimely death at
38 years old, Doug was a beloved colleague as he contributed his insights
and feedback for what has become the Meta-States Model.

Now you know who first came up with the phrase, meta-stating.  Of course, if
you don?t know what a meta-state is you wouldn?t know what ?meta-stating?
means.  That?s why from the beginning we came up with other phrases.  The
one that I used predominately for the first five years was ?bring to bear.?
?Bring this resourceful state (X) to bear upon this primary state (Y).?  I
think Dr. Bob must really love it because I see and hear him using it most
often to this day.

One day in 1998 I was in Austin Texas presenting Meta-States for Business
(?Genius at Work?) and a lady walked into the training on the second day
with two teddy bears dangling on each side of her.  She had tied them
together with a string.  It?s not everyday you see a woman walking round
with two teddy bears strung around her neck and dangling on each side, so
everybody was asking, ?What?s with the bears??  When I asked, she said: ?You
of all people should know!  You talked about two bears all day yesterday.?
?I did??

?Yes, you said ?bring joy to bear on your learning,? ?bring ownership to
bear on your awareness of your personal powers,? ?bring pleasure to bear on
that pleasure.?  So that?s why I brought my two bears with me today.?

Others have done similar things.  I have walked into training room in South
Africa and Australia and other places to find two bears in the front of the
room.  We meta-state by bringing one state (thought, emotion, physiology) to
bear upon another, by applying one to another, by embedding one inside of
another (like Russian and Chinese dolls), by transcending and including to
create new categories or logical levels, by finding out ?waz up about waz
up? (to quote a couple of Neuro-Semantic trainers).

In these, and other ways, we speak about meta-stating ourselves and others
with resources that make a transformative difference and that create new
empowering frames of mind. 

            Accessing Personal Genius.  Intro to the Meta-States Model.

            Trainer: L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

There are lots of variables that play into the experience of being resilient
as noted in the last post.  And also noted in that post was the question
about the strategy?  Which variable comes first, then second, and third?
Which variables are critical and which are secondary?  These are strategy
questions and they are the questions that enable us to create a model of
resilience.  After all there is a structure to resilience and if we want to
replicate the experience of healthy resilience in our lives and in the lifes
others, we need to know how to put the structure together.  It's like a
formula or a recipe.

When I first began modeling resilience, I worked from the assumption that it
was a primary state and like the NLP "Circle of Excellence" pattern, it was
a matter of putting all of the variables into the space of the experience,
step in, and "Whollo!" the experience of resilience!  But it does not work
that way.  No long-term complex state (gestalt states) work in that manner.
If they did, then we could do the following:

.             Imagine the state of being healthy, fit, and thin.  Identify
every variable that plays a role in that state of being, see, hear, and feel
it fully, step into it.  Presto!  You are now healthy, fit, and thin!

.             Imagine the state of being wealthy, financially independent,
with passive sources of income, able to budget, save, increase income, see
and seize opportunities. Imagine it fully in all of the visual, auditory,
and kinesthetic systems, step into it.  Aha!  You are now a millionaire and
have the mind of a millionaire and financially independent!

.             Do the same with leadership, with self-discipline, with
entrepreneurship, etc.

Obviously, and perhaps sadly, reality does not work that way.  "State
induction" in that manner does not, and cannot, create the experiences you
want.  When an experience is complex in that it has multiple layers of
states-about-states, belief frames that hold multiple belief-systems in
place, and that occur over a period of time (usually weeks and months, maybe
years), you cannot just "access" it so that it enters into your neurology.
These kinds of experiences have to be developed over a period of time as you
go through the steps and stages of its creation.  That is, first you take X
and Y actions and that creates the state of A, and then you repeat that for
the next action steps so you get into state B, and so forth.

For the experience of the resilient state there are several stages that
you'll have to go through.  Using the grief stages that Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross identified, we potentially have these:

.             The Set-Back Stage: An event occurs that knocks you down that
triggers a sense of loss, disruption, upset, block, etc.

.             The Shock Stage: You inwardly are shocked, surprised, in a
state of dis-belief, amazement, disillusioned, can't believe it, etc.

.             The Bargaining Stage: You look outside yourself to a
supernatural source (God) or to some other person (boss, wife, husband,
etc.) and beg that you will do anything to get your life back the way it
was.  You placate, beg, show remorse, confess faults and sins, etc.

.             The Anger Stage: You yell and scream, you threaten, you throw
a tantrum, you are as mad as hell, you curse, you blame.

.             The Depression Stage: You give up, press down your hopes,
expectations, and energies, you resign to your situation, you feel like a
victim, you stand in the rain and let it rain all over you.

.             The Acceptance Stage: You acknowledge what happened and face
it by thinking about what you can do that will move you forward.

I say that these are potential stages because it all depends.  The greater
your ego-strength in the first place, the less you will go through
Shock-Bargaining-Anger-and- Depression stages and move straight forward to
the Acceptance stage.  That is, the stronger you are inside yourself, the
more meaning and bounce you have inside you, the less you need to go through
those emotional roller-coaster stages.  The more reality-oriented you are,
then the less you will be shocked.  You will have anticipated potential
problems and take them in stride with a more philosophical attitude.  The
more realistic your expectations and the less demanding you are that
everything go your way, the less shock and anger.

All of that depends on the meanings you give to your maps about what's real
and what could happen.  The more childish you are, the less developed, then
the more cognitive distortions will govern your way of thinking and feeling:
you will personalize, awfulize, catastrophize, emotionalize,
over-generalize, demandingness with shoulds and musts, and so on.  This will
make you more susceptible to being "throw for a fall."

The emotional roller-coaster stages of upset make perfect sense depending on
how close or how far your expectations are to reality.  The more demands you
make on reality, the more you can be knocked-down.  The more unrealistic
your shoulds and musts, the more of an upset you'll experience and therefore
the more intense the emotional roller-coaster.

What stages you will go through therefore depends upon your preparation for
facing life on its terms, rather than your.  In terms of the stages that we
all go through, then the basic

.             The Set-Back Stage: Some event occurs that interferes with
your goals, hopes, and wants.  Now there is something blocking you that you
have to deal with.

.             The Emotional Roller-coaster Stage: The amount of emotional
distress that occurs as you deal with the upset.  This depends on how mature
and accurate your expectations, your meanings, and your resources for
handling the set-back.

.             The Coping Stage: The required skills for handling your basic
needs and getting through the set-back and putting your world back together.
What you need to know, understand, believe, and do so that you can get your
feet back on the ground.

.             The Mastering Stage: The ability to not merely get through it
and survive, but to use the set-back for learning, development, and
opportunities.  In the book, The Art of the Comeback, Donald Trump says,
"Take adversity and make it an asset." (p. 68).  Mastery involves rising
above the set-back to such a degree that you make good use of it- That's
what Viktor Frankl did with his experience of Hitler's Concentration Camp.

.             The Recovery Stage: You are now in the stage predicted by
Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous line, "I'll be back!  You're back!  You are
back in the swing of life- living with passion and vitality.

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, writing about how to win and about wining in
business and winning in leadership and management, calls for "heavy-duty

"Every leader makes mistakes, every leader stumbles and falls.  The question
with a senior-level leader is, does she learn from her mistakes, regroup,
and then get going again with renewed speed, conviction, and confidence?
The name of this trait is resilience, and it is so important that a leader
must have it going into a job because if she doesn't, a crisis time is too
late to learn it." (Winning, 2005, p. 90)

The key to winning is not avoiding mistakes.  When it comes to making
mistakes, that is inevitable.  Nor is the key to not take risks, that is, to
avoid risks.  Again, that is inevitable given the human predicament of
fallibility.  The key is learning.  The key is picking yourself up and
figuring out what you need to learn, learning it, integrating that learning
into your actions, getting back on the saddle and going for it again.  If
something didn't pan out as you anticipated, then you have something to
learn, don't you?  The question is what?

Well, there's actually another question.  Are you willing to learn what you
missed?  Are you willing to take a long deep look into the mistake and
figure out what didn't go by the plan, what deviated from the plan, what is
needed to regroup and "get going again with renewed speed, conviction, and
confidence."  Are you willing to learn to become resilient?

There is a connection between learning and resilience.  Do you have those
two things linked within you?  If they are connected, then obviously, the
better your learning, the faster your learning, the more open and curious
your learning-the fast and better your resilience.  You can bounce back
quicker and cleaner, that is, carrying less of the contamination of the

To argue this point I'll run with the metaphor of "getting back in the
saddle again."  You are riding a horse and you get thrown.  Now you're down
on the ground, maybe in the mud, and you may be a little sore for wear.  So
what do you do now?  Do you brush of the dirt, turn your back and walk back
to town swearing, "Never again!  I'll never trust a damn horse again?"  Do
you pull out your gun and shoot the horse?  (I'm supposing you're a complete
cowboy or cowgirl and have your gun with you!)  "That's for throwing me
down!"  Or do you brush yourself off, and go back to get into the saddle
again, "Now what caused the horse to throw me?  Did I pull on the reigns to
hard?  Did I urge the horse over terrain with briars and thorns?  Did I not
notice the snake until we were nearly on top of him?"

Here learning is the cure and resilience is the result.  The more you
accelerate your learning in an attitude of openness, responsibility, and
curiosity, the quicker your resilience and success.  Are you a fast and
thorough learner in the presence of a mistake?  Do you immediately default
to the attitude, "What can I learn here?"  "What did I miss that I need to
understand?"  "Who knows how to handle this that I can talk to?"  The
ability to "get going again," to bounce back, to get back in the saddle is
the ability to not let a set-back defeat you, but to persist until you can
ride with grace and elegance.

My first big set-back was a divorce, my second was getting fired and losing
my first career choice, and my third was a severe financial loss.  There
were others, but those were the Big Three for me.  Luckily for me, I had a
learning bias.  I had already learned that learning was an important
strategy for getting ahead in life.  The shock of finding myself on my back
contemplating the Milky Way Galaxy, alone, pennyless, and confused triggered
me to use the best coping skill that I had at the time, study.  For awhile I
think I could have made a career in the Library!  I did spend a lot of time
there tracking down the best works I could find on relationships, then
psychology, then wealth creation.

The amazing thing is that sometimes one simple principle is all you need to
turn things around, get back in the saddle and ride off to success.  I have
seen that time and time again with various people.  Sometimes the set-back
occurred because they were missing one piece to a great puzzle and when they
found it, they were off and running with conviction and confidence.  Like
everything else, it depends on the mental model that you are using to do
something-how accurate or inaccurate it is, how complete or incomplete.

Whatever it is, it is what you need to learn.  If you spend time blaming and
accusing, shouting at the horse, or worse, shooting the horse, you will
learn nothing.  You will just create more trouble for yourself.  If you give
up, change the subject, focus on something else, you also will learn
nothing.  You're not even looking to learn.  Some seem to have an aversion
to doing the post-event review because they label it "negative" and think
they will get more dirty and negative if they spent time on that.  That
hardly ever happens especially if your frame of mind is, "I want to know
what I missed so I can fill in the missing pieces."

Learning led me into doing Couple Counseling for years, from there into
focusing on Communication and doing Communication Training.  Learning sent
me through the history of psychology until I was thoroughly familiar with
every school of psychology and ended up with a Master Degree in clinical
psychology and then a Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology.  Learning turned
around my financial mess, enabled me to stabilize it and later to reach my
goal of financial freedom so that I stopped living paycheck to paycheck or
worrying about money.

It's out of the tough experiences of life, the crucible experiences, that we
seem to learn more thoroughly and integratively.  Well, you do if you have a
learning bias.  It's out the set-back experiences when you get knocked down
that can, if you let it, motivate you to learn what you need to learn to
never get knocked down in that way again.    [Want more about Resilience,
see Meta-States, or look for the Neuro-Semantic Training on Resilience.]

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International

In terms of resilience, what is most problematic for most people are the
early stages of a set-back stage.  That's because most people are completely
unprepared for life's inevitable and unpredictable set-backs.  I know I was.
How about you?  And because of that lack of preparation, that is why a
set-back almost always occurs as a shock-as a surprise.  And if it totally
disrupts life, the shock is even greater.  That's why a person doesn't seem
to be able to get his head around it no matter how one tries.

"What's happening?  I can't believe this!"  "No, no way I've been fired!"
"No way would she leave me!"  "I can't believe that I lost all of my
investment."  "The doctor has to be wrong with that diagnosis- not me."

Precisely because a person is not prepared for the possibility of a
set-back, when it comes she goes into shock.  The facts about the set-back
shock her-shocks her perceptions, expectations, beliefs, style-of-life,
response patterns, and so on.  It shocks her out of her pattern of thinking
and perceiving and out of her way of living.  No wonder Elizabeth Kubler
Ross put shock as the first stage of grief.  A loss has occurred, but the
person isn't prepared for it.

So the person goes into a regressive, childish state of bargaining.   He
offers "bargains" with God, with the universe, with others, with himself.

"If this will go away, I'll go to church, I will never lie again.  I will
never cheat again."  "I will be a good husband."  "If I can get back what I
lost, I'll reform and be a new person.  I will treat others right." 

The bargaining stage is a childish promising state of desperation driven by
fear, distress, and confusion.  It is a demanding state.  It is in that
stage that spouses show up at the other's doorsteps or at work making the
most loving, romantic promises of faithfulness.  They attempt to bargain
with fate to get their life back!

Then comes anger.   When the shock fades and the bargaining fails, then the
person gets pissed.   He gets as made as hell and starts storming around.
Some people throw things, others kick things.  She curses and uses words you
have never heard her say before!  The person is now fully registering the
loss of the value and the threat that it poses to one's job, finances,
relationship, healthy, future, reputation, etc.  And with that sense of
threat, comes the emotion of anger.  Anger is the state where we feel
threaten and so we fight to get back what we have lost or to push back
whoever (whatever) we blame.  And blame we do!  We become highly activated
and maybe aggressive in pushing back whatever we think is the cause of our

Yet if for all of the pushing back, nothing changes, nothing good happens.
That's when one moves into the depression state.   We give up.   We
relinquish it and then we push down (de-press) our hopes, dreams, desires,
wants, beliefs, optimism, energy, etc.  The pain of having loss now comes
home and the cure is to not want, to not care.  So into the depression mode
we go, we let it all go.  In doing this we usually also let ourselves go- we
given up spending time with friends, exercising, reading, and everything
that makes life interesting and fascinating.  We let our appearance go.  We
don't care.  "It can all go to hell.  Who cares anyway?  I don't!" so, leave
me alone.


What happens after depression?  Maybe cycling back to more anger or shock or
bargaining.  In fact, while these stages do tend to be sequential, we also
cycle around them over and over.  This is the heart of the emotional
roller-coaster stage as we try to get our feet back on the ground.  Yet we
can perpetuate these stages for a long time.  How long?  It all depends.

Studying people in the US and Europe, Elizabeth Kubler Ross postulated that
it usually takes two years.  But it all depends on how prepared a person was
in the first place and how skilled a person is at coping and accepting.
That's why-in some cultures-the process hardly occurs at all.  For example,
the more a culture accepts death, celebrates death, see it as a graduation
to the great beyond-the less grief there will be.  So also, the more a
family or culture or person is well-adjusted to reality-the less shock, the
less bargaining.  The more ego-strength, the less trying to cope with
bargaining and anger.  The more coping skills and resources available, the
less time in the grief or roller-coaster stage.

In fact, the last stage in the state of acceptance.  Acknowledge of what has
happened so you can take whatever actions that you can to ameliorate the
situation as best as possible.  In this, acceptance is the cure for the
grief stages.  The sooner you get to acceptance, the sooner you begin to
deal with the set-back appropriately and effectively.  Acceptance is an
incredibly powerful state-deceptively so because it does not make one feel
powerful.    Yet in acceptance one releases the demandingness that creates
bargaining, anger, and depression.

After the set-back stage is the stage of coping-and coping effectively.
Everything before this stage essentially consists of inadequate and poor
coping skills-activities and mindsets that generally make things worse.
Acceptance is the transitional state.  With acceptance a person is able to
simply acknowledge the reality and go about doing the best one can to deal
with the set-back.  So, given the general nature of how we humans face
set-backs, it should be abundantly clear that we save ourselves a lot of
heartache and waste of emotional energy if we would just begin with
acceptance.  What's the value of shock, bargaining, anger and depression?
All of these emotions speak about how unprepared a person is for real life-
it speaks about lack of, or low, ego-strength.

So, to speed up your development of resilience, to shorten the time between
set-back and recovery, here is the strategy: skip shock, bargaining, anger,
and depression and go straight for acceptance.  It will do you good.  You
will be more reality-oriented, more attuned to how life on planet Earth
actually works, and you will be able to get to the business of living
effectively quicker.

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International


Given the many, many variables within resilience (#4) and the stages of
resilience (#5), you have to have several meta-strategies to handle each of
the stages.  That is, for each stage (set back, emotional roller-coaster,
coping, mastering, and recovery) you have to have specific belief frames,
identity frames, understanding frames, decision frames, etc. in order to
navigate through that stage.   It is not sufficient to merely have the right
state or states within each stage, you have to have the right belief-system
(beliefs and beliefs-about-beliefs) which will hold those state or states in
place.  This is another one of the great contributions of the Meta-States

To start this process, elicit each of the stages and simply begin by asking
meta-questions about each of the stages.  For example, take the set-back
stage itself.  Considering that stage, now ask:

         What do you understand about the set-back?  Is this normal or
abnormal?  Is this something you can expect in life, or is it completely

         What do you believe about being set-back?  What does it mean to

         How do you experience yourself as a person and in your identity
when you are set-back?

         What decisions do you need to make given the set-back?

         Do you have permission to experience the set-back or do you fight
and reject it?

         What do you expect when a set-back occurs?

         All of these italized words are meta-levels, also known as logical
levels, and when you ask questions about them , you are asking a

What then happens?  What do you achieve by doing this?  When you ask these
meta-questions, the answers take you (or another person) into the realm of
the person's internal matrix of frames which informs your experience of that
stage.  It lets you explore in depth what you think consciously and what you
are unconsciously thinking that's setting the meaning frames that you are
living by.  This enables you to do some, literally, high-level information
gathering about what a person understands, believes, expects, etc. about
that stage.  These make up the person's frame of mind.

These frames of mind not only inform you and that person regarding the
person's rich inner landscape of consciousness, it also governs it.  It
self-organizes it.  And if there's any problem for you or another person in
handling that stage, the frame is almost always the problem.  The
meta-questioning enables you to get to the frame, understand it, and then
give you an opportunity to change it- reframe it, deframe it, outframe it,

Now when you have done that with each of the stages, you have gathered
intelligence about the person's higher frames of mind about the whole
process from suffering a set-back to bouncing-back in a resilient way.  But
... but is there any connection between each of the meta-levels of beliefs,
understandings, expectations, etc.?  Are there any commonalities between one
meta-level set of beliefs and another's?

This question takes us up-and-beyond the primary level strategies wherein we
handle each of the stages.  It takes us to a higher level where we can begin
to consider meta-strategies.  A meta-strategy would be a strategy that
enables us to go from one stage to the next.  And in terms of resilience,
this is critical.  "How do you know to go from the set-back stage to the
emotional roller-coaster stage, or to the coping stage, or to the mastery
stage, or to the "I'm back!" stage?"  This is the question that I asked in
1994 that opened up the key to how to be resilient and to the presence of

If a person answers, "How I know to go from this stage to the next is I have
an overall picture of all of the stages" then the person has just given you
a larger-level, a meta-level, strategy.  You can then explore more about the
person's understandings.  "How many stages are there for you?"  "What do you
believe about moving through these stages?"  "What do you believe about how
long it will take you to do the 'work' in each stage and get to the end?"
"Is there anything that could stop you from proceeding forward and getting
through it all?"  And so on.

"I believe that I will get through this!" one person says.  That's a high
level belief about the process and  about himself.  "What enables you to get
through it?"  That will call forth information about how the process of
knock-down and get-up works and factors that may play a role inside of it.
"While you may not like the initiating experience of suffering a set-back,
what do you believe or understand about such things happening?"  That will
give you much of the person's philosophy of life.  "Do you think the
set-back was fair or unfair, or do you think it has nothing to do with
fairness, it is just things that happen in the world?"

With that introduction to the meta-levels of consciousness that set the
frames for how you think about set-backs and resilience, let's now explore
more personally what meta-level frames that are operational in the back of
your mind that supports you being a resilient person or that undermines it.
Here are some questions to consider:

         What do you understand about unpleasant and disturbing events?  Do
you think of them as a personal attack or as activities that occur?  What do
you believe about what causes them, what brings them about, and what they
say about you?

         What are you expectations and assumptions when some "bad thing"
happens to you?  What meanings do you give to such an event?  What criteria
(or standards) do you use to evaluate the experience as "bad?"

         What do you permit to happen or not permit?  Are there "bad
things" that can and do happen to people and you have no permission within
yourself for them to happen?  What permissions do you need to give yourself
so that you aren't shocked or blown away if something bad happened?

         What are your understandings, beliefs, and decisions about how to
cope with disasters or hardships?  Where does your mind go in terms of what
you can do to ameliorate the hurt?

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International