Belief Out-Framing

Question a limiting belief or assumption and consider alternative opinions. This technique uses the law of requisite variety to accomplish this. Introduced to the cybernetics field by W. Ross Ashby, the “Law Of Requisite Variety” says: “If a system is to be stable, the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled.” Ashby states the Law as “only variety can destroy variety.” In NLP we use the Out-Framing approach to doubt an existing non-resourceful belief and loosen its neurological “fibers.” By doing so, we weaken the belief and make room for a resourceful one.

Create the grid.

Imagine a two-dimensional grid with Past, Present, and Future timeframes on one axis, and Self, Other and Observer perceptual positions on the other axis.

Move into First Position (Self).

Associate into the Self position, Present timeframe cell on the grid. Note any limiting beliefs pertaining to your goals that arise in this cell.

Move out of the grid.

Move outside the grid, leaving the limiting beliefs in their cell.

Repeat with the remaining cells.

Do steps two and three for each of the surrounding cells. Unless the situation dictates a different order, use the one offered below. Before you proceed, become familiar with the meaning of each cell.

a. First Position, Future: 

Treat it as a future in which the limiting beliefs and related issues are resolved.

b. Second Position, Future: 

Imagine a mentor that fosters your resourcefulness and totally believes in you and your ability to transform.

c. Third Position, Future: 

Picture a wise, compassionate being who is observing your future.

d. Second Position, Present: 

Imagine a mentor in the present.

e. Third Position, Present: 

Picture a wise, compassionate observer with a detailed but big-picture grasp of your present.

f. First Position, Past: 

Imagine yourself in the past, with a positive perspective of your accomplishments, gifts, and skills, as well as the dreams that had already come true for you by that time.

g. Second Position, Past: 

Think of a real or imaginary person who is a past and significant mentor. Imagine this person as having a valuable perspective of your situation now.

h. Third Position, Past: 

Think of an observer who has an objective, compassionate perspective on your past and how it is connected to your future.

Out of the other cells

Out of each cell, see yourself and the limiting beliefs you found in the First Position, Present, but from the perspective of each of the other cells, described above. Out of each of those perspectives, provide an alternative belief or meaningful message to help the “you” in First Position, Present become better able to doubt the limiting beliefs you found in that position, and to become more open to alternative beliefs.

From the First Cell, integrate the valuable new information.

Associate into your First Person, Present, along with those limiting beliefs. This time, receive the alternative beliefs and meaningful messages from each cell. 

Notice how this alters your experience of these limiting beliefs and your state in that cell. Directly state that you are experiencing more openness to these alternative perspectives, and describe them as you receive them. “I am open to the idea that…”

You will need to create the grid in order to keep track of these alternatives, resourceful messages. If you are prolific, just write them as you go, preceding them with the name of the cell you were in at the time. Start with your limiting beliefs.