“What people say they do or believe they do is often far removed from what they actually do”.
“Wisdom comes from multiple perspectives, and there is a lot that the athlete can learn from seeing him/herself doing the particular event (disassociated) from different angles and perspectives.” Jeremy Lazarus.
“The skill lies in choosing an associated or a disassociated state for a purpose. The appropriate choice depends on your desire outcome. You might choose to disassociate to protect yourself from painful emotions, or you might choose to associate in order fully to experience all the feelings of the situation.” Sue Knight
“As you practice the technique of changing perceptual positions you will find that moving to third position brings with it a new perspective and calmer insights into any dilemma that you are facing.” Jeff Archer
“Some people believe that this perceptual position allows us to manage our emotions more effectively by ensuring that our prefrontal cortex is engaged in a logical and rational way, as opposed to being at the mercy of our amygdala with all the associated risks of emotional excess.” Richard Churches and Roger Terry
First position is us. When we use the word ‘I’ we are engaging with our ‘first person’. It is from this position that we think and talk about our thoughts and feelings our beliefs and values, experiences and window on the world. It is important to associate into this position and be fully aware of it so you know that it is your opinion you are expressing and your choice of what you are doing. You can’t always stay in first position though because you need to appreciate other people’s point of view and consider their feelings. Be aware when you are in first position and acknowledge that it is one point of view and that it isn’t the only one.
Second position is the other person you are talking to or in a relationship with. You need to step into their shoes to understand the world from their perspective. It will be different from yours, not least because they may be another gender, age or ethnic group. You will be most successful at this if you can imagine and be curious about what life would be like if you were them. Acknowledging the second position is the way you can empathise with someone else and consider their feelings because by putting yourself in their shoes you will know what these are without having to ask them.
Third position is the CCTV camera or some people say ‘the fly on the wall’ or ‘impartial observer’. This third position can observe what is going on between first and second position but cannot intervene and cannot feel the emotion, it just observes the body language and hears what is said. It can only communicate this without there being any judgement or emotion. In order to understand this position, imagine yourself as a fly on the wall or a CCTV camera watching you right now as you read this book. When you are that camera what do you see? What is happening?
This ability to see things dispassionately can be enormously beneficial when emotions are getting high and being able to second and third position in order to see the other person’s map and see what is going on between you both from an outside perspective can take the heat out of the situation.
Become aware of when you are in first , second and third position and practice moving deftly between them to check out what the other person may need or want (second position) what you want (first position) and then check in with third position to view the interaction from a disassociated place where the emotions are quietened. That way, you become flexible, give yourself choices and are more likely to achieve your desirable outcome.
This extract is from 'Secrets of the NLP Masters' by Judy Bartkowiak.