Nick: This is Nick Kemp I would like to welcome Dr Richard Bandler to NLP MP3 and start off by actually asking you, what actually interests you these days, In general.
Richard: My grandson, when you say what interests me, everything interests me, I’m just involved in lots and lots of stuff, I’m developing a new light sound machine, and were also, a new EEG, KEG machine that has pressure sensitive things, where you don’t have to stick anything on yourself. You can wear a baseball cap, or a construction helmet, and some of the bigger companies were providing us networking to monitor the performance or people using heavy machinery so they don’t hurt them selves. I imagine that eventually we will use this with astronauts, and with baseball players and football player, and all kinds of people, so that we can start to monitor the difference between quality performance and performance that isn’t quality. So we can move it in one direction, that’s sort of been the theme of all the work that I have ever done, to take the things that work and get people to do them more often, and take the things that don’t work and get them to stop it. Take the things that do work and make calculus from them, and then come up with ways that people can do things that are high performance that they have never done. My whole 35-year career has been based on that principle. That’s what being able to model and build calculus is all about. Originally NLP was about looking at the few things I had seen people do that worked, then building a way of representing them, and computing what else would work. Most of the techniques we teach in NLP were never done by anyone, the truth is that people are now better hypnotists and better therapists and better communicators that the people I modelled originally. And that’s a good thing, progress should make us all learn to be better than the people we learn from, you know, by the time their dead. Its an unfortunate thing that we get geniuses and then people try to emulate them for centuries, instead of taking geniuses as the bottom line, and getting everybody to be better. And I think I have done a very good job of that over the years. Training people to be better communicators than Virginia ever was, than Fritz ever was, than Milton ever was. They kinds of techniques I have provided, both language techniques and techniques in sub modalities, things that are in my books and in my tapes and in my videos and in my DVD’s. All of those things are designed to get people to be better communicators, and to be better at what ever they do, whether its spelling, working a big tractor, being a baseball player, it makes no difference to me. My job is to increase performance, and to figure out things that people aren’t doing from the good performances that they could be doing, that would be as affective as what their doing now, but to a wider range of areas.
Nick: One of the questions that I was asked by a college of mine, I know from training with you over the years, you are constantly evolving and developing, you approaches and what you do. What from the original model of NLP has been superseded by your work in current years?
Richard: What hasn’t? That would be the answer I would give, there is very little we used to do that I would still consider worth doing, except for some of the linguistic patterns. Every thing has become more precise, certainly with the models in using your brain for a change and time for a change, everything took a big evolutionary step, when we stopped looking at sequences of representational systems so much and started looking at more simultaneous models. Of course DHE is a giant leap forward, because the way in which we are designing things gives us better things than we could elicit from the public at random. It allows us to take the machinery of the outside world and use it as a model for the inside world. Last year I had a guy, couldn’t tell up from down. He couldn’t drive because of that, its just the simple thing of building a hallucinated bubble, inside of his head, so he has a reference point, made it all disappear. I’m sure he doesn’t even see it anymore but he can build in the kinestetics, his vistubular system, which is actually a whole other sensory system, simply wasn’t working right so we built him one. Recently I just worked with some one where they had this neurological disease, where they lost their balance, I mean literally, they had trouble standing or walking or whatever. The medical model is to get them to accept their limitation and walk with a walker for the rest of their life, all these terrible things. But I extended out of his mind, hallucinations, just like schizophrenics have only I put big long things that have buzzers on them so if he started to tilt one way it would buzz and move him back. But it literally, physically pulled him in the opposite direction. Oddly enough in side of a month he was walking just fine. One of the things, well of course everyone that I work with is pretty much people that have been given up on, or professionals, that do good sometimes and not others. I have had athletes as clients, I had a tennis player that would play really good and then he’d play really shitty. In so far as I could get him to pay attention, we were able to get him to go into the state where he wins more often. But you know sometimes, people get into the state where they get too cocky and then they stop paying attention, the minute he did that he called me back on the phone and said, I forgot what you told me to do. I said, no you haven’t your just not doing it. If you do the things that work they will. And that’s just pretty much, you know, I’ve methodically gone back and taken every thing that we started out with and have revamped it so that its easier and quicker, you know even the way in which we used to work with phobias. I have a much better way of doing it now, we used to start with a visual lead, now I use kinastetic leads, I can get much quicker results, much faster and with a larger percentage of people. All of these techniques, not that the old techniques don’t work, and they are still worth learning, but its like anything else. If you don’t come up with better ways, we would still be driving model T’s, or we would still be in horse carriages with square wheels. The object of everything is to improve it, and just because something is better than what was doesn’t mean there isn’t something better still and more pervasive.
Nick: How did you first meet Robert Anton Wilson, and how did that arrangement come about?
Richard: Well my wife liked Robert Anton’s books. She read one to me and it was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. If she wanted something she would really just tell me about it, and she said, we’ve really gotta meet this guy. At the time I had a guy that worked for me named Braum, he’s no longer alive anymore. We told him and he somehow or another found out that Robert was doing something in San Jose. So I sent a note to him, I said we have to meet. So they called on the phone and we had dinner at the empress of chine in San Francisco, which is a perfect place, I found out later, because it’s in one of his books. He thought I did it deliberately but I just liked the empress of china. I didn’t realise it was in one of his other books. We had dinner at the top of the empress of china, over looking the Golden Gate Bridge, and the whole bay. Beautiful view out there, and we sat and we talked, actually mostly his wife and my wife talked, and we watched them talk. We decided to do some things together. I think he’s a Brilliant speaker, and I think he is one of the geniuses of our time. Without a doubt, and he’s one of the few genius’ I know that’s still alive. Which is nice, Robert is one of those people, he’s probably written out, Jesus, thirty-five, thirty-six, forty books, I don’t know, zillions of articles, and has an interest in everything. Most of the really bright people I met did lots and lots of things, real dabblers, Gregory Bateson, had his fingers in everything. They all like to draw, write poetry, play a little music, dance, they studied anthropology and sociology, and history and art. One-dimensional people sometimes, I met a geneticist and that’s just about all he did, and once he got stuck there was nothing to pry him out of it. I found great solutions to things, by studying other things, every from architecture, to the way in which they get metals, you know I have always found answers to everything in chemistry, the more you study chemistry the more it tells you about the basic building blocks of life. Especially now that we have new things, with cat scans and pet scans and MRI’s all this stuff is fascinating, Neuro Physiology has opened up worlds upon worlds upon how things actually physically work, and how they work at the neuro chemical level. One thing about Robert is that he’s just the biggest wealth of information I have ever found anywhere, you can ask Robert about anything, and he will know about it. He makes the encyclopaedia look uninformed, he really does, sometimes I just through something out, and I said to him once, thirteenth century weird monk? And he went, oh Benedictine blah blah blah blah… and named this monk and started telling me all about him, I just made it up. I believe it was the monk that flew, and he would fly up to the top of the monastery, and clean gust, and the pope sent two people out because they thought he was possessed by the devil, but he promised he only flew when he needed to clean something. A very odd story, but Robert has such a fabulous memory for all this detail and he inputs this information all the time. There was a pen mark on a table napkin, and I started to write something and stopped, because somebody interrupted me, and he looked down and said, that’s the symbol of blah blah blah, and I went Huh!, it was actually just a scribble that got started and I didn’t finish it, but he told me all about where it came from and everything, and I looked it up and it was all accurate. So that’s one of the fun things about Robert, so when I had him giving lectures and seminars I was doing, one of the things is you cant sit with Robert for three hours without getting smarter, its just impossible. He’s a sweetheart, he’s just a wonderful guy with a great sense of humour, I have met a lot of very famous intellectuals, and they were a pain in the ass. A lot of them, they may know a lot about something but they really weren’t livers and lovers of life. Robert is, he’s a very special man, and I think if people wanna get smarter, they should read his books.
Nick: Well this is a slightly odd question, but somebody asked me, what is the strangest thing that’s happened to you during a seminar?
Richard: How the wall exploded, and an 8inch water main broke. Water came out of a painting of a waterfall. Talk about phsycadellic. Another time, right after the movie starwars, a six-foot guy, and it was actually the guy that played Darth Vader, came in full costume and burst in to the seminar on reality strategies. I was busy dissecting everybody’s reality strategies, and they were all in this quasi-altered state, Miral Lynch was having some kind of conference across the hall, with thousands and thousands of insurance salesmen, and I guess they hired this guy. He came in with twenty storm troopers, burst through the doors and started talking like Darth Vader. Everybody looked, and then looked at me like, is this really here? And it was just very funny. But he was in the wrong room, he just burst through the wrong door. His timing was perfect, they all looked at me, and I went, what? I acted like I didn’t see it so they’re just a little nuttier than they already were. There’s always fun things like that happen, crazy stuff, (Unknown name) came on once to do a seminar, and he brought kind of an entourage of people with turbans. I guess they meditate a lot, and somebody asked me to demonstrate the hand shake interrupt, and I did a handshake interrupt on this guy. He pushed one of his students up on stage, the guy obviously had been in some deep trances cos I did the handshake interrupt and the guy went over backwards. I grabbed him by the belt, literally hanging over backwards, if I hadn’t got him by the belt he would have hit the floor. I kinda shook him trying to make him stiff, he was as limp as could be, and he fell over forwards, felt like I had a rag doll. There is always funny stuff like that happens, lots of things. There are good funny things, and sometimes there are things I consider being fairly tragic, I had a psychiatrist one time, jump up and throw a complete psychotic episode, about the fact that what I was telling him about was a total lie, and fabrication. I had been telling him about getting this guys pain to go away, he had had surgery in his ear and had terrible tinitus and pain in his ear. This was in Arizona, this guy was going on and on, this psychiatrist was calling me a fraud and all the shit, when all of a sudden this guy stands up in the back and says excuse me sir, that was me he was talking about. I hadn’t seen this guy in 8 or 9 years, and I had told the story lots of times and nobody had ever said anything about it. You know, the earth coincidence control centre at work, I didn’t even recognise him, he looked so different, cos he’d been in pain, he was an architect and he had actually built the place we were in, and that’s why he was there. When he found out I was going to give a lecture in the building he built he thought cool, timing is everything for stuff like that, and strange things happen, and most of the time its good things, there are always silly things that happen. I like those things, some things you couldn’t plan if you tried. Most of the time things work out, we had a fire in a hotel once, on the eighth floor, and all the sprinklers came on. Then it kept draining down through all the floors, and all of a sudden there were three hundred of us in a room and it just kept pouring water on us through the ceiling. Flooded the room, ruined everybody’s clothes, everything. At the time is doesn’t seem funny, but when you look back at it, you know, I didn’t know what to so I took that was in a separate building, moved everybody out of the restaurant, took all the tables out in to the parking lot and started on. The hotel comes over and says you can’t take our restaurant, I said, to late I already have, I had all these poor people sitting there, drenched in clothing that I didn’t wanna stop. The hotel did pay for people, even the stuff they had in the rooms got ruined, and there was no real fire, it was just smoke from a bed. Some guy smoking in bed, fell asleep, and the smoke set off all these things, and I guess the sprinklers had gone buzurk, firing off all over the place. Ruined everything we had, clothing, the sound system, the PA system, keyboards, everything went. Just terrible, its like any other business, stuff is going to happen, that’s one thing you can count on, on planet earth, Shit happens. I really believe the best thing about the past, is that its over, and you have to treat it that way. If you treat the past as if it’s still alive you make people worse. This is why NLP is not a kind of therapy, when people call it that I object to it, that’s an insult to me, I couldn’t think of anything more insulting. Therapists are trying to find out where people got screwed up and where they are still screwed up, and fix it. I think people work perfectly, they just need to know more. Whether they are bad spellers, whether they’re depressed, whether they are making bad decisions, or whether they are hallucinating daemons of the night, its not that there is something wrong with them. Even a fear of elevators is learned, you only have two natural fears when you are born, fear or loud noises and a fear of falling. All the rest is learnt and if you can learn one thing you can learn something else. And learning how to sort information in your head so that you can do what you wanna do is what NLP is all about, so you can be afraid of things you should be, like cheating on your wife. And be excited about things you should be, like having the freedom to get passed things you were afraid of. Whether its public speaking, which is probably the largest phobia there is. Or elevators of bugs or spiders, or snakes or what ever it is. Some snakes you should be afraid of, and stay away from. I watched this guy on TV that goes around the world and keeps getting bitten by snakes. It’s a good thing he has a lot of anti venom with him, jimoney crickets, these guys get bit all the time. I think their mothers should have explained to them. I had a client, who they made a film about, a guy who ski jumped. Put sticks on his feet and slid down a mountain launched out thousands of yards, but he was afraid to walk across the room and say hello to a woman. To me when I try to figure out which one is dangerous ill tell you jumping off the side of a mountain looks more dangerous to me, than walking across the room to say hello. Some times people don’t sort things out properly, not because of what happened in their childhood, or even if it is, it doesn’t matter, because the cause effect universe is gone. What ever your doing, your still doing, and you can do something else, and all you have to do is learn a little bit about how to use your brain differently.
Nick: What advice would you give someone who wants to work with people on an individual basis?
Richard: Get a lot of good training, and practice, practice, practice. The reasons we have the society Websites is because we rank trainers by what they know. And I would check to make sure their credentials are current. If people haven’t had any training in a couple of years, in this field you’re behind the times. If they are not interested enough to keep up their own training, they shouldn’t be the person that trains you. They should stay current with what’s going on, and they shouldn’t just have a certificate, most of the people that are very good have got a wall full of them. Five days of training isn’t enough, six days of training may start you out as a practitioner but most people who are very good at this have done if for a long time.
Nick: I no this my self, from working with Tina Taylor training in Leeds, very much having used your inspiration and approach its just, people who have come and done NLP elsewhere before, in someway its completely unrecognisable, its just a very intellectualised process.
Richard: There are idiots doing everything on the earth, some dentist’s aren’t good dentists. It’s the responsibility of the consumer to make sure they are getting the right product and with the web that’s not hard to do. If you don’t have the sense to find out if someone is a qualified NLP trainer then you get what you deserve. And if it’s not someone I approve of then don’t come and complain to me. I make up lists of the people that I say are current as trainers, and the institutes that are current, in terms of certification with the society. Now there are lots of other people who have decided that what I do is not NLP, because I’m not doing what I did 30 years ago. There are people who are stuck at levels of my development, who have trained other people who are stuck at levels or their development, who have trained people who are stuck at levels of those people development and then claim that their qualified to do something. But its not like you can’t go to the source, you can go to purenlp.com you can go to richardbandler.com, and the societyofnlp.com and .net and nlp.net. All these places are out there, its not that hard to find out. Jesus you go on the web and my name is on half a million Websites but there’s only a couple that are mine. So just because somebody sticks my name on a Websites just so you get sucked over there doesn’t mean you should be stupid. The smart thing to do it go to the source and find out, that’s what I always did. I didn’t just pick an hypnotist to learn from, I found out who was the best and learnt from him. I found the best family therapist in the world I learnt from her, if you get junk its just garbage in, garbage out… its that simple, quality in quality out. And anybody, who thinks that NLP is an intellectual process, doesn’t know the person who made it up. I can do more theoretical and analytical stuff than any intellectual, but don’t. I’m a better mathematician than most, I can do group theory, I can do the hard math, but its not going to make you good at this stuff. What makes you good at this stuff is behavioural and its understanding about what people need and what they don’t have mostly I’m looking for what’s missing, so I know what to teach them. All the diagrams in the world aren’t going to accomplish that, I’m the guy that says put your notebooks down and step away from them. Use your senses; use your eyes use your ears. The kinds of calculus that I made up are so you can compute things. That’s for you, not your clients. Your clients don’t need to know eye-accessing cues, you do. It increases the range of what you can see and what you can respond to. The more you can detect with your senses the more you can influence with your behaviour. And yeah, there are lots of clowns who say they are Neuro Linguistic Programmers, but they’re not my problem. Consumers have a responsibility to get the quality of things. If you don’t check out a car before you buy it, you will be disappointed. If you order food just by lowering your hand on the menu, you’ll end up with something your supposed to clean your hands with. Its just one of those things, people are constantly coming up to me and saying, this trainer said… blah, blah, blah. And I say, well if you don’t care whom you learn from, then you are going to be deceived. A big word that pops in to my mind is refund. If people aren’t teaching you how you use these things, wisely and currently, then I would go get your money back. Bring a 2×4 I find it helps.
Nick: And finally, are there any books or DVD’s on the way?
Richard: I just made 4 new DVD’s, in the studio here in London, Riverside Studio. One on rapid induction’s, one on increasing artistic installations and strategies to do art, and strategies to do music. I don’t know what the others are about, its been more than a few days, its in the past, the past is over… and one on not giving up, I think that’s one of the most important things, as somebody in this profession. I don’t think people talk about it enough, most of my career, I have worked on people that everybody had given up on. Everything from catatonia to comas, to kids that were learning disabled, to paralysed people to schizophrenics, these were all chronic, these were all, well there’s nothing you can do about it. And that’s primarily why no one cared if I tried, because they all believed I couldn’t do anything. They gave me their case files, some of them we six, seven inches thick. All that was, was a list of the things that hadn’t worked. TO me you have to try new things to get new results. And the technologies, its amazing how resistant people were to using hypnotic skills, even the hypnotists are resistant to using hypnotic skills. I use hypnosis to teach hypnosis and they say that’s to paradoxical, well I’m afraid it’s not, what works, works. I have trained more people to do really good hypnosis over the past 30 years, than anybody ever has. I make it a part and a part of everything, so the hypnotic processes and altered state is, if you don’t alter your state you can’t do now things. Its juts that simple. You’ve gotta get unconscious processes and conscious processes lined up, so that your moving in the same direction. John just released one on nested loops, and there is all kinds of new stuff out. Go to the NLP store, they’ve always got the new things there. And paulmckenna.com, oh I have a new book coming out, I think, I got a hand gesture from across the room. I forget everything, I have a new book coming out next week actually. Its called conversations, I wrote it with Owen Fitzpatrick, its really got lots and lots of stuff in it. Its different from most of the books that I have written, in that its very conversational, conversations between me and him, and lots of exercises and lots of clients and photographs and all kinds of stuff. Owen went back to India and retraced my steps through India, met a lot of the same people and took pictures and it’s very nice. The first edition is going to hit the streets in about 7 days.
Nick: And where will we be able to get it from?
Richard: You can get it from the NLP bookstore, paulmckenna.com those are the two big places I know about. I’m going to sell the paperback rights, a couple of big publishers interested. In the mean while I put out the first edition through a small company in Ireland. Most of the copies have been bought up by the NLP institutes, so that’s probably the best place to get them.
Nick: I’ll talk to Owen then.
Richard: Well Owen would be a good place to get them, he has one of those institutes. I think I am the only one now who doesn’t have an institute. I gave mine away, I’m not into running companies anymore, I’ve done so much of that over the years I am to old for that kinda crap. I’m into things like building pirate ships now.
Nick: On that note I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to have an interview with us.