With all my senses

Collage made on Japanese paper by the artist, writer & traveler from Córdoba Fernando González Viñas.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of attitude as a way to manage our life. Today I focus in another attainable & very useful tool.

One of the basic concepts on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) are the submodalities, or the ways through which we connect with reality by using our senses. This means that we organise the impact that experiences have on us according to our perception.

• Visual – images
• Auditory – sounds
• Touch – sensations
• Gustatory – flavours
• Olfactory – smells

So, from our five senses, NLP establishes its three submodalities:

Kinesthetic (based on sensations)

A specific fact experienced by different people will have a different impact on each of them, because due to her own nature, each person will tend to focus more in some aspects than in others. Even when all human beings share by nature the three submodalities, some people are more visual while others are more sensitive to sound and another few will pay more attention to sensations instead. According to this, we can obtain loads of information from an experience without accessing its content, just by focusing on its shape, the submodalities: internal representations of that experience.

I’ve registered many moments of my life together with a soundtrack. Reviving or recalling them again in my head just by using my memories has an effect on me, while displaying them by unchaining the melody attached brings them to me multiplied. That’s the power that music has on me: its ability to intensify emotion. If we put together music with images, then the effects magnifies.

To give you an example I am going to select a song by Radiohead because I love the emotional intensity of their themes and because this song in particular is an anthem to me, or it was at some point in my life.

As I also want to attach it to an image that I can share with you all, I thought about this French film that I watched because I was interested in marriage crisis. There are a couple of moments that I really like, but other than that, I found the movie mediocre and quite boring actually (so don’t you feel that I am recommending it at all).

So I am choosing one of those scenes, and I must praise & thank the director (who also plays one of the main characters) for selecting this amazing song and for being ‘brave’ enough to include it complete, dedicating it four and a half minutes. The fact is that having Johnny Depp nearly during the whole shot helps quite a bit too!


So, how can all this be of any use to us? To intensify or reduce the impact of the experiences that we have. Even if they are negative & painful or positive & motivational, we can always focus on changing the colours, include sounds or make them mute, add or minimise touching sensations, movement or temperature. By doing this, the result that we perceive can be modified.

To make it even clearer I am sharing with you two more videos. I invite you to watch the first one first and the second one afterwards, paying attention to the difference in your perception. It is exactly the same video, with the same person saying the same things. The only thing that changes is the ‘wrapping’: audience laughing in the first one, music in the second. Check them out:

Maybe if we think about these three ways to register & experiment reality we  might be able to understand ourselves a little bit better, knowing which filters we use the most, which ones help us best & which others are not helping us at all. We might even discover that by focusing in other type of details our perception of reality can change, and when perception changes, our life changes too.

So everything is right there, at our reach. What we hear, what we see, what we touch, what we smell… What do we retain?  What do we value the most and the least?


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare)

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