closing the loops
When I was young one my favourite TV shows was The Rocketeer. The re-run was shown in the morning during the school holidays and I would religiously tune in. Each episode always ended on a preposterous cliffhanger that was resolved in the first moments of the next episode, but still it kept me coming back every day to see what happened. The idea that leaving a story unfinished, or a loop open, compelled people to return for the next episode has been well used in Hollywood for years!

Our brains hate unfinished material. They keep the story or activity open in our minds and desperately try to close them off. This is why you will find people who have hectic lives tend to be stressed and seem overwhelmed. They constantly interrupt a process and so their mind is trying to sustain all these open and unfinished routines.

It is one of the many theories about why we dream – to help us to close all the loops that we have opened during the day. We understand the world through metaphor and a dream is an extended metaphor that we use to attempt to organise and “file away” all those incomplete tasks, half told stories and unfinished activities.

When Richard was asked to develop a stress management program for executives at a Fortune 500 company in America, the first process he introduced was to get them, at the end of the day, to open and close every drawer or cupboard in the room, close down their computer properly, lift up and put down the telephone, etc. This seemingly odd behaviour was designed to make sure that all the physical processes they had started through the day and which had maybe been interrupted would be closed off.

The key to reducing stress and feeling less overwhelmed is to make the effort to keep as few loops open (tasks unfinished) as possible. Do one thing at a time (multitasking is a myth) and remain mindful and present throughout the day. Be aware of anything that you have not finished and take some time at the end of the day to “close off” these tasks. Whether that is to finish them off or make some meaningful plan to continue at a later date.

Contains excerpts from “Nested Loops Demystified” available now at Amazon.

Nested Loops Demystfied

There seems to be a lot of confusion within NLP about Chaining States, Stacking Realities, and Nested Loops. Many people mix them up with each other or treat them as the same approach. They may share some conceptual DNA but in actual fact are very different processes for very different purposes:

Chaining States

NLP spends a lot of time working with our state, it is because our state dictates our behaviour. Sometimes it is not as simple as getting from the Present State to the Desired State in one step and you have to use a series of “stepping stones”:

1. Present/Problem state

2. 1st step towards desired state

3. 2nd step towards desired state

4. Solution/Desired state

For example:

1. Present State – Certainty about limitations

2. Step 1 – Doubt

3. Step 2 – Curiosity

4. Desired State – Magic(k)al possibilities, freedom and choice.

Set the direction and consider what intermediary states may be useful (what would be a natural and easy step from the previous state?), if you are in doubt, it is worth having a conversation with the client and asking them what they think would be useful.

Stacking Realities

The first time I saw Richard Bandler on my NLP Practitioner training back 1999, I didn’t really know what to expect. Other than listening to some audio tapes of him I had no clue about what he looked like, his style of delivery or what sort of person he was. So, when he was introduced by Paul McKenna and stalked onto the stage, I was somewhat taken aback. He had long hair tied in a pony tail that was dyed purple, he was wearing big rings, painted fingernails and cowboy boots with flames up the side. When he reached the stage (to the tones of “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix!) he didn’t introduce himself, he just launched straight into a story about Milton Erickson, I think it went something a bit like this, “The first time I met Milton he looked me straight in the eye with that stare of his and said “I once found a white horse roaming free on the road. I didn’t want to let the horse continue to wander around so I caught hold of it’s loose reigns and jumped on it’s back. I began riding it down the road…”

Now, that is a simple and obvious example of “Stacking Realities”, I started talking about my experience (reality 1), of Richard telling a story (reality 2) about how Milton gave him a metaphor for change (reality 3).

Stacking realities are first and foremost a way of creating an altered trance state and can be placed in the bracket of “confusional induction” where the conscious mind cannot keep track of who the “speaker” is and naturally goes into trance.

Nested Loops

Nested Loops were developed to, and are fantastic way of, delivering large quantities of information easily and quickly, whilst keeping the attention of the person or people you are working with. A Nested loop is story within a story. The difference between Nested Loops and Stacking Realities, is that, whereas Stacking Realities is a linear approach, Nested Loops is circular. In Stacking Realities you would start with Story 1 and finish with Story N. In Nested Loops you Start with Story 1 and end with Story 1.

You break each story part way through (other than the last one which you complete in full) and start the next story, until you reach the final loop (how many loops you use depends on the context) then you reverse out, completing the stories in reverse order, something like this:

Start Story 1


Start Story 2


Tell the Complete Story 3


Complete Story 2


Complete Story 1

Each story should contain a state or meaning appropriate to the desired outcome.

These three processes are  very useful approaches but have very different applications; Nested Loops would be useless at getting someone who is stuck to being unstuck. For that you would be better off using the Chaining State approach, if you used Nested Loops, you would just end up taking the client back to where they started (the unwanted state!).

This article contains excepts from “Nested Loops Demystified”, available now in paperback and on Kindle.

To buy from, click here.

To buy from, click here.

Nested Loops Demystfied

I am proud to announce the release of the next book in my NLP Demystified Series:

Nested Loops Demystified: Revealing the Art of Multilevel Communication and Unconscious Instillation in NLP

This book draws together all my research and experience with Nested Loops over the last 10 years. Nested Loops and “unconscious instillation” have grown to almost mythical status in NLP. In reality, Nested Loops are very simple (although, not easy) and exceptionally powerful way to deliver large amounts of information in a very short space of time, without your trainees feeling that they have to try hard.

Why Did I Choose Nested Loops?

Well, some of the most common areas of NLP I get asked about are Nested Loops, Multilevel Communication and Unconscious Instillation (NOT Installation – this is an important distinction).

I did some digging and realised that there is very little information available about these three subjects, and most of what is (freely) available on the internet is simply wrong (every single clip on YouTube that claims to tell you about Nested Loops are incorrect).

So, I thought it was about time someone cleared up the confusion (or demystified it…!).

In reality, Nested Loops are very simple. This simplicity is deceptive, because Nested Loops are powerful, it is why Richard Bandler and his trainers can pack so much information into a 7 day training, information that it takes other people much longer to teach.

The aim of this book is to cut through the myths and misunderstandings to give you a simply way to start using Nested Loops and multilevel communication straight away. I have taken a lot of time and effort researching and practicing Nested Loops and now present my findings to you in the hope that it can teach you the skills and ability to use them yourself.

Do you want to develop engaging and powerful presentations, working shops and training course? That will teach large amounts of information in a very short space of time easily and effortlessly? This book reveals the art Nested Loops, Multilevel Communication and Unconscious Instillation in NLP.

This book is a clear and concise explanation of how to design and utilise Nested Loops including:

  • What Nested Loops are (and what they aren’t!).
  • What their purpose is.
  • How and where to use to use them.
  • How to develop Nested Loops.
  • Keys to designing an effective training with Nested Loops.
  • How to tell good stories.

PLEASE NOTE: This book assumes and basic and general understanding of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP).

You can buy it now from Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

Click here to buy it on Kindle or Paperback

Click here to buy it on Kindle or Paperback

Can You Help Me?

I am currently giving out pdf review copies of the book, if you are happy to write (an honest) review for Amazon or your blog/facebook/twitter or mailing list (or preferably all of them!) please contact me to arrange being sent a copy.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not just a ‘free’ copy of the book! I am giving it to you in exchange for a (fair and honest) review. If you don’t want to or aren’t able to review it please don’t ask for a copy.

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful, please feel free to give me feedback and comments here.