I watched an episode of American Idol the other night. My husband and I record the show during the week and watch it on weekends so I was unaware of the tussle between contestant Quentin and Harry Connick Jr. until days after it had happened.
Personally, I was shocked by Mr. Connick’s reaction to the “this is whacked” comment by Quentin. In my opinion, he took what Quentin said and put it through his own filter and came up with his own meaning INSTEAD OF seeking clarity to understand Quentin’s meaning (view the discussion here). All of us have filters and yet, most of us don’t allow them to escape on live, international television.
This incident just happens to coincide with the work I’ve been working with a group of NLP Practitioner’s about recovering distortions, deletions and generalizations (filters) from what people. In NLP, it is called meta modeling or asking meta model questions. “This is whacked” begs the question, “What specifically is whacked? What about it is whacked?” This is exactly what Ryan Seacrest asked of Quentin. Great job in seeking clarity first rather than making judgments first!
What Harry did was give his own meaning, his own judgment to Quentin’s statement. First he used distortion by saying one thing causes something else to happen. He said if Quentin believes that it is whacked, he should go home. Believing it’s whacked causes the need to leave the show. That isn’t true at all. According to my map, sending great singers home is “whacked.” It sucks to see good singers leave the show. Having a system of voting on popularity causing people to go home may be “whacked.” The whole stress of the music industry causing people to commit suicide may be “whacked.” X causes Y is a distortion of reality. It is the way you program information and not necessarily how everyone else does.
Harry then goes on to give a metaphor of saying something about the “hand that is feeding you” and how “highly disrespectful” it is. Again, he is only commenting based on what he believes is disrespectful (Quentin’s comment = disrespectful, X=Y) according to his own map of what is good/bad or right/wrong. Some people have other maps of what is disrespectful. Some people don’t necessarily believe that X is always going to equal Y or ever equaled Y in the first place.
Quentin seemed composed explaining HIS meaning to what he said. I was very impressed at how well he contained his emotions and how well he simply re-stated what he had already said to Seacrest.
Connick sounds a little sarcastic to me during Quentin’s reply when he said, “I thought that’s what you meant” still refusing to see the meaning from Quentin’s perspective. Connick then begins to argue about the competition, again from his own map of reality. He digresses from there.
It was at this point in the show that I paused the recording, turned to my husband, and explained the NLP behind the distortions that Harry Connick Jr. was throwing out. For me, it was the simple case of “here’s my (Connick’s) map of the world and you must live by its rules.” Let me be the first one who says it, “Harry, there’s nothing farther from the truth!”
Pay attention to your vocabulary today. What do you say where X causes Y or X = Y? Is that just your map? How might someone else see it? What would they say? And how does the other person feel trying to live by the rules of your map?