The Secret of Life Exposed!
In life there are some secrets — some insights about what works, what exists, what’s possible, how one thing causes or influences other things, what to focus on, empowering beliefs for navigating life and relationships. Yet to find those secrets, to know those secrets, and to experience and live those secrets — well, that’s the ultimate experience. That’s what most of us are willing to spend a lot of time, money, and effort discovering and making our own, is it not? Isn’t that the heart of all of your explorations and dreams?
Recently I read the newest version in the series of books that go by the theme “Secrets Exposed” — this one entitled, Secrets of Great Success Coaches Exposed! I read it because the second chapter is about Michelle Duval, which as a best selling book, is the very first mass market book to highlight Neuro-Semantics. Yet as I read the book, every single Success Coach in the book is at least a master practitioner of NLP and each one openly says so and represents the NLP model in a very positive way. And, due to the theme of the book about Secrets, the book and the stories offer lots of wonderful insights about how to succeed in life. In the book, you will find the basic NLP success pattern as well as many other variants of the same thing stated in new and different ways.
[By the way, I highly recommend that you read this book for both the inspiration to actualise your highest and best and for lots of good content suggestions for making that happen!]
The Matrix of Success
Now in Neuro-Semantics, which is an advanced form of NLP, a form that takes NLP and the so-called “new code” to ever-new levels, we use The Matrix Model as a systemic model for many things. We use it for modelling unifying the processes of creation (cognitive-behavioural psychology) with the content of self-development (developmental psychology). In coaching, we use it to follow a person’s energy within his or her mind-body-emotion system. In business, we use it as the Matrix Business Plan to make sure that we have a complete plan and one with robust frames of meaning.
So, given the usefulness of the Matrix Model, can we now use it to summarise the secret of life? Could we model the structure of the essence of life and then extend that modelling out to all of the frames of mind (frames of meaning) that enable us to truly embody the secret of life? Believing that we can, I have exposed the secret of life in this article in the context of the Matrix Model.
So What is the Secret of Life?
How do we describe the secret (or secrets) of life using the Matrix model? Can we express it in one line? In one sentence? Well, how about two? Let me see if I can.
The secret of life is being what you are (meaning), it is being passionately purposeful in living (intention) and being completely resourceful (state) — the process matrices.
The secret of life in the content dimension is being who you are (self), being as fully empowered in who you are to be the best version of you (power), being loving, connected, and giving (others), being fully presenting with an intelligent eye on an ambitious future (time), and being true and passionate to your uniqueness as you bring that unique contribution into the worlds that you navigate (world).
Focusing in on the Secret of Life
So what is the secret of life? It is the human adventure of being what we are in our essential nature and what we can become through the adventure of learning, discovering, experimenting, and developing. The secret of life is to actualise our best version of us, to become a fully being and becoming a human being, and to self-actualise our best gifts, talents and skills.
At the most core level then, the secret is finding, discovering, owning, and being ourselves. This goes back to the ancient Greek statement, “Know thyself.” It all begins there. The implication of this is that we do not naturally “know” ourselves, but that there’s an adventure in turning inward to discover ourselves.
Yet how strange. Every other creature on this planet innately and instinctively knows how to be itself. We don’t. We don’t have the internal program with that information. We are free from being programmed — about just living unconsciously and automatically. We are free to learn, discover, invent, and experience all kinds of ways of being. And that’s why there are so many cultures — so many ways that human nature can be cultivated — developed, formed, invented.
So even being what we are — that’s not a given, but a great deal of the discovery and awakening that we experience in life. Who am I? What am I here for? Where am I going? What am I capable of? What do I have to give? Who am I best suited for? What more can I become? These existential questions are the very questions that enable us to be and to travel the human adventure which is at the heart of the secret of life.
The secret of life is being — being who and what we are. And what we are is meaning-makers. Without instincts we have to construct meanings — understandings about ourselves, others, work, life and everything else. We have to construct all of our inner pictures and movies, our linguistics, our evaluations, our beliefs, our frames of reference, our definitions, our associations, our intentions, our metaphors, and all of the other multiple ways we create meaning.
We are meaning-makers. That’s what we are. We create frames of meaning that lead to our frames of mind and that’s the most important part of us. For whatever we think, so we tend to respond, behave, and feel. No wonder thinking is so important in human nature! No wonder our beliefs, plans, expectations, intentions, hopes, fears, anticipations, memories, imaginations, etc. lie at the heart of the secret.
Yet though we are meaning-makers, that’s what we essentially do with our innate powers of thinking, emoting, speaking, behaving, and relating. These are expressions of us, not who we are. This distinction is part and parcel of the secret of life. We are human beings with powers of expression. And the secret is to become as fully empowered with these powers as we can, so that we can create and become the best version of ourselves.
Part of who we are also is a social being who defines ourselves and experiences ourselves via relationships. That’s why at the heart of the secret of life is connecting, bonding, relating, giving and loving. Without these, life is experienced as pretty empty and superficial.
So living and becoming more and more of a lover, a giver, an experiencer of connection with others — that’s part of the secret of living a life well-lived.
The secret also involves the element of time — of being present, of being fully present. To live in the past, to be tied down to past events that we have not fully integrated and processed, learned from and processed is to not be present. Similarily to avoid the present by escaping to the past also is a way to limit, leash and sabotage our best preventing us from being present.
The secret of life is discovering ourselves and being ourselves so that we can increasingly become who we can be so that we can contribute our unique contributions to life and to the specific worlds that we live in. To do otherwise is to do something less than what we’ve been designed for.
The Matrix Model
Having used the Matrix Model in this process, let me say a few words about this. This model unifies everything in NLP and Neuro-Semantics by distinguishing process and content. It is the processes of creating meaning at the levels at which we are able to create our sense of reality as we map out at multiple levels of what we understand of reality. This gives us the Meaning matrix and the Intention matrix. And because both of these are grounded in how we feel in our body, we have the State matrix as the grounding matrix. This reflects the heart and soul of cognitive-behavioural psychology which today has become the most effective psychological model for therapy and for taking performances to their highest level.
The model also includes as content the developmental process of how the self and our sense and mapping of self grows over the lifespan. In this, it unifies within the same model some of the key distinctions of Developmental Psychology and so maps out how psychologically healthy people evolve and grow. This includes the Self matrix, the Power matrix of our capacities, abilities, skills, and competencies that enable us to cope and master things. Next is the Others matrix that maps out our beliefs about people, human nature, and all of the social emotions and relationships. The Time matrix details how we enter the temporal dimension and conceptually understanding “time” as a concept. Finally, the World matrix speaks about all of the universes of meaning that we learn about and learn to navigate in our journey through life.
Modelling the Secret of Life using the Matrix Model
Breaking this down to the matrices of the Matrix Model we have the following:
The Process Matrices:
Meaning — Be what you are: a meaning-maker who constructs meanings and set frames of mind about frames of mind all the way up.
Intention — Be passionately purposeful in living by living from your highest intention so that all your attentions do service for your highest objectives.
State — Be resourceful in your states.
The Content Matrices:
Self — Be who you are as you distinguish yourself as a human being, a person, from all the expressions of you — your thoughts, feelings, speech, behaviour, and relationships.
Power — Be as fully empowered in who you are as you become the best version of you.
Others — Be loving, connected, and giving as you relate to others to satisfy your social needs for love and affection.
Time — Be fully present so that what you do today creates a bright and ambitious future in which to live.
World — Be true to your uniqueness and the unique contributions you have to offer to the world and universes of meanings that you navigate.
Bringing it Altogether
Ah, the secret of life — being and becoming! Actualising your highest and best — your highest values and visions and your best you and performance. That’s the purpose, the essence, the core, the secret of living life fully. Then you can be fully alive; fully human. Then you won’t miss the greatest adventure of them all.
All of this comes from the highest frame of NLP and Neuro-Semantics. And what is that frame? It is self-actualisation. And why is that? Because NLP was a child of the Human Potential Movement. I didn’t know that until just a couple years ago. I didn’t know that at Esalen, the Mecca of the Human Potential Movement — the first scholar in residence who lived on premises was Fritz Perls and the last scholar in residence was Gregory Bateson. Nor did I know that Virginia Satir was the first director of research and development at Esalen. The “who’s who” of NLP were also the central players in the Human Potential Movement — the immediate followers of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers and they were the first source of the basic premises of NLP.
And what’s even more incredible about all of that is that this frames the personal resourcefulness of NLP as processes for unleashing potential and enabling men and women to become all that they can become. So no wonder Dr. Ken Blanchard wrote in his preface of Unlimited Power (1987) that he thought NLP had “the capacity to be the definitive text in the human potential movement.” (p. 12).
What is the secret of life?
It is actualising the potentials that we have within us to make real, it is self-actualisation.
Robins, Anthony (1989). Unlimited power: The new science of personal achievement. NY: Simon and Schuster.
Hall, L. Michael. (2000). Secrets of personal mastery: Advanced techniques for accessing your higher levels of consciousness. Wales, UK: Crown House Publications.
Hall, L. Michael (2007). Unleashed: A Guide to your Ultimate self-Actualization. Clifton, CO: Neuro-Semantic Publications.
Maslow, Abraham H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.