THE STORY OF META-STATING
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
passionate enough about it that he was one of the people who traveled
Denver for the 1994 NLP Conference where I spoke on my first modeling
on Resilience out of which arose the Meta-States Model. He flew in
Washington DC and attended the presentation when I first discovered
Meta-States Model and he was one of the three people there that
immediately began talking to after that presentation about
Then, throughout 1994 and 1995, Doug was one of the colleagues
with whom I
brainstormed about many of the factors and features that I
the first designing of the Meta-States
Yet what I remember Doug Adams mostly for is this: he was
the person who
invented the verb meta-stating. After reading my initial
Meta-States and contemplating it for a couple of weeks, we have a
conversation on the phone in December of 1994. That?s when Doug asked
about ?the steps of meta-stating.? ?The steps of what?? I
?Meta-stating?? I repeated, ?I?ve never thought of it like that.
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
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
steps far too much to remember and practice. So I began to
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
3) Apply that state to a primary state or
4) Appropriate it into the life context, environment, or
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).
Awareness of the present and primary state that needs to be
textured, or meta-stated with some higher resource.
Accelerate your actions and behaviors to make this new experience real
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
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.?
?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
pleasure.? So that?s why I brought my two bears with me
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
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.