Change an attitude or belief into one that supports your excellence and success. Turn “failure” into valuable feedback and into a winning state that includes curiosity and motivation. Imagine feeling positive and motivated after the ninety-ninth failure. As with Edison and his many “failures” on the way to the light bulb, you are on your way to success with this kind of attitude. This pattern makes room for a success state by “dismantling” the failure.

Step #1. Identify  the problem  attitude  or belief; identify  its physiology  and rep system activity

Select an attitude or belief that makes you feel defeated, hopeless, or like a failure. It should be associated  with a difficulty that you are having in acquiring or expressing a capability, and in achieving a goal that would come from that capability. For example, let’s say Carl is not making very many sales, and he feels like a failure over it. He feels that he is not communicating in a compelling way, and feels very disappointed in himself. In this example, the capability would be compelling communication.

The goal that depends on that capability would be making more sales. The belief coming from it would be something like, “/can’t sell.”

Next, observe  the physiology and eye positions associated with your failure belief. You can use a mirror, a friend, or a video camera if you find it hard to observe yourself while you represent an idea in your mind. Note what is happening internally in each of the representational systems (VAK) during the mental representation  of the belief. What do you see, hear, and feel on the inside?

Step #2. Sort the problematic  belief by rep systems into the corresponding eye positions

Use your imagination to take each of these sensory representations and slide it into the corresponding  eye position, if it isn’t there already. Look (physically, consciously and deliberately turn your eyes) towards that direction at the same time as you put the representation there.

For many people, the kinesthetic sense of failure is so strong, that their internal (self) talk and other representational systems are pulled down into a sort of muddy pool of feelings. The purpose of putting your representational systems in their respective eye positions is to clear up that muddy conglomeration and achieve a state that is much more workable.

Once you have moved these representations into their positions to each side, notice how this clears up the “space” in front of you for your visual perception of reality. Open your eyes, if they are closed, and see for yourself.

Step #3. Create the images of your  desired capability and goal, and place  them in the visual constructed space

Think of the frustrated capability and goal that your failure belief is about. Create a clear image of that capability in action and in terms of its positive intended results (your goal). Use imagery that is very positive. Place this image up and to your right (visual constructed), and look at it in your mental space, moving your eyes up and to the right.

Step #4. Distinguish  between representations  of the capable image and the failure  memories

As you focus on the desired capability, sense the main feeling associated with it. Identify the positive intention underlying that feeling. Do the same for your self­ talk around that capability. Notice how these are different from the representations of your failure belief. The feelings and self-talk are represented differently.

Step #5. Normalize the failure elements (feelings, memories and self-talk) with positive ones

Look at the memories associated with the belief. Build a more realistic perspective of the total situation by mixing your positive memories with the memories associated with the problem. Have them fit on your timeline in the appropriate time sequence. Note what useful knowledge (warnings, learning, and so forth) can come from your memories of the situation, even though those memories may be associated with frustrating outcomes or feelings.

Note how that useful knowledge can lead you directly to the desired goal. Modify or add elements to the desired goal based on what you learned from looking at the memories.Notice what steps can take you from those memories to the positive goal.

Step #6. Create an anchor for  a positive  reference experience

Think of something positive that you are very certain you can achieve in the future. It can be something that you have done competently and reliably many times. It does not have to be something big. Showing up to work on time is an achievement, even though it is considered basic and mundane.

Establish an anchor for that reference experience.

Step #7. Trigger the positive  reference state in connection with your goal

Adjust the structure of the desired state’s resource synesthesia so that it matches the positive reference experience. In other words, remember the qualities of the sub­ modalities, including where they occurred in your mental space.

Change the resource state of the goal so that its elements are laid out in the same way and with the same emphasis and sub-modalities such as size and brightness.

To help this process, fire the anchor for the positive reference experience while looking at the desired goal.

Step #8. Test.

You’ll know this pattern is helpful  when you experience one or more of the following:

  • Fresh ideas for achieving your
  • A more hopeful and constructive
  • A clearer sense of your goal and how to achieve it, so that you experience compelling imagery, feelings, and self-talk.

Credits for the creation of this NLP pattern belong to Robert Dilts.