• Yahel Applbaum

What's in it for ME?

Behind every behavior lies a positive intention.



This was the one I struggled with while studying for my NLP practitioner. I couldn't wrap my mind around that- how is it even possible that some actions or behaviors contains any positive intention?

I remember looking at my teacher and asking; "I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that one. I don't understand how come the person who assaulted me had any positive intention?"

She was shocked and speechless- the reaction that followed that was: "if you want the answer for that enroll to the trauma therapy class". I walked out, her answer was dismissive and clearly showed that she has no intention to sway off from her lesson plan.

The other teacher followed me out, and we had a long talk- she reminded me of my branding & marketing consultant- asking simple questions that by all means have no simple answers. We got to the question "What's in it for me?" (Yahel was asking me that a lot at the time, and yeah me and my consultant have the same name. funny huh?)

What's in it for me? Is a very popular phrase in the marketing field, the costumer, the one we want to evoke will see our post/ add and will ask "what's in it for me?"

Surprisingly enough, that is one of the corner stones of NLP- understanding the motive, the positive intention behind a behavior- what do we gain from acting a certain way? What need does this behavior satisfies for us / them?

She was asking me that "regarding the result and the weight of that certain man, can you identify a positive outcome for him?", trying real hard to hold the tears from coming down, I answered "Yes. But is sick and wrong", her "it is, a positive intention does not mean that the behavior will be the same. Just means that we are gaining something out of it." That's where our conversation ended. We walked back in- and I, I had my brave, no one can mess with me game face back on- rumbling with vulnerability was still an issue for me- still is in certain situations.

It has been 2 years since then (that man, who had a positive intention with real negative behavior), and a year since I started my journey with NLP.

Today, I understand. A positive intention does not always lead to a positive behavior.

If you read my post the other day "right vs. righteous"- I ended it with saying "If you got all the way here just remember that- we are all worthy of greatness and success, but it is up to us to decide if sometimes it is worthy hurting someone-else's for it? (the cause, doesn't always justifies the means)". I bet you can find the relation between that to our topic today.

When we look for the positive intention, when we ask ourselves, what's in it for me? We need to ask a follow up question, is the way I choose to satisfy this intention or need justifies it? What will be the consequences of my choice?

What's in it for me- and is it the best way possible or the only way possible for me to achieve it?

Now, if you are like me than you had the same reaction, and maybe hesitated for a second there, I hope that it helped you understand that presupposition- and if not that is okay.

After sharing my personal point of view, let's dive in to the NLP world for a bit.

Behind every behavior lies a positive intention.

Let's start with an example, might be the most common one for that presupposition- let's talk about smoking. We can all agree that smoking is bad for you? Researches, studies, health and fitness mentors- they all support that- smoking is bad, even the cigarettes and tobacco packages says that and worn the consumer. All of that, but people still smoke. Why? What's in it for them? What positive intention is served by this behavior?

There are a few answers to that question, for once; some will smoke in order to gain social approval or fulfil the positive intention of having "a moment" with friends who also smoke.

Another option can be relaxation, some studies show that the repetitive act of smoking can be relaxing and decrease stress, the las example can be 'a smoke break' at a work place- a good excuse to get a time-off during a busy day. I am sure there are many more- though it is enough to serve the point- we use a certain behavior, while being aware of its onsequences, in order to serve our intention, our positive intention.

While using that NLP technique, we can help someone find a new way to fulfil that positive intention, while applying a new behavior- there can be multiple choices for a replacing behavior, and that is great. Our goal is to identify the negative behavior and come up with new options to replace it.

Acknowledging the positive intention behind a behavior, is not only beneficial in case we'd like to change that behavior but also while communicating and trying to understand someone else. Instead of condemning someone's choice or behavior, we pause, then we ask "what's in it for them?", you'll be surprised of how many times you can shift a situation for the better while understanding the needs and intentions that are hiding behind someone else's behavior. In those cases, you'll be able to understand the values and the motivation behind their actions, and instead of creating resentment on both sides, you might just be able to make everyone satisfied.

We can some it all up by reminding that we always have a choice, and if we take more time to figure out what's in it for us? And what is the positive intention fulfilled? What are the values that this behavior serves? If we do that, we will gain the power to make better more thoughtful decisions and the ability to change and improve our behavior and actions, so as our communication and relationships with other people.

Stay tuned for- the horsemanship side of this presuppositions!



understanding that one helped me overcome the trauma, I do not support that behavior nor do I understand his motive. I just understand that there was one. I chose to forgive, even though I am not able to forget because my positive intention for myself is being happy, and spending my life focusing on the past will deprive me of that- and I'm not going to grant that person any more control over my happiness.