“Your mind is bombarded with over 11 million pieces of information per second, but it can only process 126 bps. The rest of that information is discarded – especially if it doesn’t agree with what we already believe.”
Based on The NLP Model of Communication
If you’ve ever thought “It’s all too much!” You’re right.
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the…
- Information that is being blasted at you?
- Opportunities that you have to learn, interact, serve, and engage?
- Decisions that need to be made (or left to make themselves by default)?
- People who want to connect with you?
That’s because of the way our brains are wired and the increasing speed of information delivery.
When I first studied NLP, we were told that we were exposed to 11 million bits of information per second while our brains could only process 126 bits per second. Some more recent studies suggest that the differential could be even greater, but statistically the difference is already so infinitely enormous that slight changes in the actual numbers have little effect on the net result that:
We are forced to delete, distort, and generalise on an immense scale because we can process less than 0.00001% of the information our brains receive each second.
It’s little wonder that we sometimes feel overwhelmed and are tempted to accept over-simplifications or shut down our critical faculty just to cope with everything because, although most of this happens unconsciously, during times of stress we instinctively try to grasp more than our brains are capable of processing.
What’s the solution to overwhelm?
Accurately defining the problem is the first step towards a solution.
When we recognise that everyone is subject to the same limitations and that we’re all trained (by upbringing, physiology, and environment) to perceive different sets of that information and apply our own personal ‘shorthand’ system for cataloguing and interpreting this information our ability to understand and accept others grows. Your shorthand system determines your ‘model of the world’: the belief system which shapes your thinking about (and your response to) issues, people, and circumstances. This is largely shaped by your upbringing and environment and most people are unconscious of it.
You can take some deliberate steps to reduce the input that is bombarding you if it’s causing sensory overwhelm.
Empowering Yourself… Understanding Others
Personally, I find the awareness of this reality quite empowering because, as Carl Jung says, “that which was unconscious, when made conscious loses its power’. Because of my understanding of the filtering that is happening, I can do two things:
- I can control and train my unconscious mind to select the information that will strengthen and empower me so that I consciously change which of those 11 million bits I see and how you interpret them; and
- Recognise that other people’s thinking is shaped by their history and current choices so I can accept that they may not yet be aware of the things that influence their beliefs unconsciously.
What about you? Have you taken responsibility for your unconscious beliefs and set up habits to consciously select the filters you use?
3 Empowering Questions
Here are some simple questions you can ask to bring your unconscious thoughts and values into consciousness….
- Is this empowering me?
- If yes, could I fine-tune my inputs to get even better results?
- If no, what can I replace these thoughts and attitudes with to help me develop positive thought that encourages me to take control of my life and change the things I’m not happy about.
In turbulent times like these when we are being bombarded by negative thoughts and emotions this is especially important.
NLP Mastery Course
One of the things that appealed to me about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) even before I started studying it seriously was the promise it made to help me control my reactions to my environment and become more flexible in my relationships and negotiations (with myself and others). Many other people have had the same thought, and have been excited when they first realised the true power of their knowledge… Only to find that they forgot about all the tools and techniques they had learned.
The NLP Mastery Course is designed to bring all these things to the top of your mind and help you integrate them into your daily life.
If you’ve already studied NLP you’ll remember that sense of control and optimism you felt when you realised just how much untapped power was within you. Maybe now would be a good time to take an NLP refresher course and revisit how all the techniques you learned enrich your everyday life. If you haven’t yet discovered the power of NLP, maybe now would be a great time to learn.
If you’re interested, click the link below to schedule a call with me to talk about my new fortnightly online NLP program and see if it’s right for you.