What’s the difference between someone who’s led around by the nose and someone who does the leading?
In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we learn about the Law of Prerequisite Variety: the element in any system that has the most flexibility will end up leading the system.
Think of little children, they have incredible flexibility. To get you to do something, they’ll tease, cajole, beg, lie, cry, laugh, use logic, use emotion, jump up and down, be adorable, be funny, and they’ll keep doing it until they get what they want.
Adults seem to have 2 or 3 patterns they keep coming back to
But while that belief has been useful to me, I’ve come to feel that it’s incomplete. Instead of:
The person with the most flexibility will lead the group.
I’ve come to believe that:
The person with the most flexibility and inner congruence will lead the group.
We know that the map is not the territory. When you’re alone, you’re living in your own reality. But when you’re out there with people, there are many different realities interacting all at once.
So the obvious question is; whose reality do you want to be in; theirs or yours? Because I’ve come to realize the person who has the most congruent map of the world will lead perceived reality, and the group.
Let’s say you have a shaky belief that you’re attractive to the opposite sex. You’d like to believe, and you do believe it – half of the time. The other half you’re not so sure.
You go out with a group of friends and meet some new people of the opposite sex. As the day goes on you notice that they seem to be ignoring you; alarm bells go off and the pessimist inside your head goes; ‘oh no, I guess I’m not that attractive after all!’
But what if you have a strong, inner conviction that the opposite sex finds you irresistibly delicious? So even if they do seem to be ignoring you, the voice inside your head will go in another way; ‘they haven’t had the chance to know how sexy I can be yet’.
In the first example, your shaky map of the world will be led by their maps of the world which has made them do what they do – but maybe they were just shy? In the second, your congruent map of the world will lead you to take proactive actions to steer the direction of the group in the way you want.
Together with the law of prerequisite variety, if you have the flexibility to keep changing your approaches, you’ll have even more power to lead anyone’s reality instead of being drawn into theirs.