It seems to me that almost every time I open a training journal or website these days I am pointed in the direction of mindfulness. In a matter of not very months, okay perhaps a couple of years, mindfulness seems to have grown from a minority interest rooted in Buddhism to the answer to the maiden’s prayer (and perhaps the prayers of the few who are not maidens as well!).
It reminds me so much of the development of NLP, and I speak as someone who runs an NLP training company and is married to an INLPTA accredited trainer. Some 20 years ago, NLP crept across to our shores and was taken up by a small number of dedicated people who recognised and valued not only the techniques but also the philosophy underpinning NLP. Some of those people trained at, or close to, the source and eventually became trainers themselves, helping spread the mindset as well as the techniques. NLP was once described as “A way of thinking that leaves behind a trail of techniques” – many seem to focus simply on the techniques. Just as many these days have lost the connection between mindfulness as a practice and mindfulness as one of the core practices of Buddhism. To say this is not to devalue the technique, but if all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.
What happened with NLP with that commercial interests, and I include Bandler as well as early followers such as Tony Robbins in this category, realised that there was money to be made by offering training programmes and set about filling their bank accounts. Again, nothing fundamentally wrong with that but we ended up with a marketplace that offered NLP practitioner courses ranging from 4 days to 20 days of participation and which left the participants contractually obliged on the one hand to refrain from using their new-found skills for the benefit of others and on the other actively encourage so to do. Indeed we have had many reports of people who have been on practitioner courses and really don’t remember what happened; essentially they were put into trance at the beginning, some stuff happened over a few days and then they were sent away with their new-found badge proudly displayed on the office wall and ticking the competency profile. Indeed, there was a time (and I use the past participle, because I think the wheel has turned) when if you were in HR or training then ‘doing’ NLP was almost a requirement.
If anyone starting to see parallels with the mindfulness movement yet? A very powerful technique that, if used appropriately can have substantial personal impact on benefits and which is now being touted much more widely and with much less understanding of the real impact. To hear, as I did recently, of someone who had decided that her whole senior management team needed to go on a mindfulness course, is a travesty not only of the point of mindfulness but also of simple training practice.
So can we stop this bandwagon? Probably not.
Does it matter? I’m not sure.
Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Comments below…