‘What’s In It For Me’ versus ‘How Can I Be of Service’
Another internal binary program we use to determine how we behave has been identified by the people who developed NLP. This habitual program involves what they call ‘sorting by self’ and ‘sorting by others’ or as I prefer to think of it: ‘what’s in it for me’ versus ‘how can I be of service.’
I used to naively think that one was the way of the egotist and the other the way of the altruist. However, over time and after much reflection I realized that this was really more of an attempt to rationalize my own behaviour.
This was because this switch had somehow gotten stuck within me when I was younger and I became a bit of a doormat. I had real trouble saying no and turning people down. I even tried to glorify it by claiming it was more noble to give, rather than take. So I gave and gave, which allowed others to take and take.
Then I met someone who was the opposite. He only looked out for himself. He had to gain from each interaction he had. He saw his life in terms of profit and loss. He carried around a balance sheet in his head and if he spent money on someone he insisted that they reciprocate.
Of course, his wife eventually had enough and walked out of their marriage. His children didn’t want to have anything to do with him and they wouldn’t even return his phone calls. He didn’t have any real friends and was as miserable as I had been and for exactly the opposite reason.
We were not just machines, but machines whose switch had become stuck in one position. I have no idea what happened to him. Fortunately, I eventually learned to say no and to not allow this program to rule me. To step beyond it, so-to-speak. To be a real man instead of such a machine.
Though it is still there. It still affects my behaviour. It is still my default position. When I am confronted with a situation sometimes I have to stop myself and step back in order to say ‘no’.
However, I no longer think of this as one of my failings. It is not good or bad, but simply the way one of my internal binary programs has been set.
Allan Clews http://www.TorontoHypnotherapist.com