Submitted by: John Taylor
An anchor is an image or memory that triggers a certain behaviour within us. In India, it is common practice to tie a baby elephant to a rope attached to a wooden stake. It is not possible for that baby to move more than a certain distance around that wood. When the elephant is fully grown it could easily tear the stake from the ground but it doesnt try. It has been conditioned into believing that it is not possible to move the stake and so has given up trying to get free.
Anchors are everywhere even though we are not always aware of them. A certain smell may remind us of an event from our childhood. Sometimes we equate anchors with a certain traumatic event but they are more likely to develop through repetition. So anchors are learned behaviours and thus can be unlearned or learned when necessary.
Some anchors make our lives easier – for example if you have driven a car for years, you do not need to consciously concentrate on changing gears or locating the brake. Advertisers use anchors in order to sell more of their products by associating their products with certain events e.g. skin firming cream turning the average woman into the next supermodel.
Anchors are used extensively in NLP in order to help achieve certain outcomes. For example, you can induce a specific feeling or state by touching a certain place on your index finger. If you have made associations with this spot, then purely touching it will induce the desired feeling or state. This would be useful if you had to give a public speech and like a lot of people, the thought of this event made you sick from nerves. By building a state of confidence and associating those feelings with a spot on your index figure, you can enter that confident state simply by rubbing your index figure before you make your speech. This will cure all nerves and allow you to carry off the occasion.
How do you create the state associated with the anchor? You recall a time when you experienced the required feeling and using your senses recreate the event. Hear what is happening, see it in your mind, feel what you are feeling. Experience the event as if it was happening today.
Come back to the present and select three anchors being visual, kinaesthetic and auditory. The visual one is probably easy as you can see the image, and the auditory one is hearing the sounds that accompany the images. To select a kinaesthetic image you need to pick somewhere another person is not likely to touch hence the example of the index finger.
Re-enter the state that you wish to experience and when it starts to build up to the strongest feeling, start associating what you are feeling with that spot on your index finger. By repeating this procedure, you will be able to induce this state of confidence by lightly rubbing this finger. You will be able to enter a confident state very quickly. Quite handy to know especially if you are suddenly put on the spot one day and asked to make a speech at very short notice!
About the Author: John Taylor is a Master NLP Practitioner, he writes extensively on the topic of Neuro Linguistic Programming on his “
Talk About NLP
” blog and in his “
NLP in 30 DaysSource: isnare.com