Arguing with reality is one of the central themes in metacognitive programming. Preset expectations of the world and invented pictures of how things “should be” prevent people from recording facts without prejudice and making effective decisions.
Instead of seeing reality, many spend time resenting and denying it.
The coach’s task in such a situation is to highlight the client's fantasies and help him see the difference between the picture of the world that has developed in his head and actual reality - because you can only rely on reality.
Here's what it might look like in practice…
If the chair had eyes, it would have rolled them theatrically, as Marina flung herself dramatically into her seat. After settling herself comfortably, she described a situation that had been bothering her for a long time.
Marina had transferred to a new job and ended up in a branch from hell. Instead of an open space with ordinary coworkers, her new department turned out to be like a hybrid of a snake's nest and a chicken coop. Instead of learning to manage from the best of the best, she now had to endure either sudden bites or incessant clucking. Everything turned out to be completely different from what she had dreamed of.
“Those chickens are taking advantage of their position, colluding with each other and terrifying the contractor. And it would be one thing if he wasn’t doing a good job, but he’s been making good progress and is just doing his best not to allow them to ruin it! What's happening is so unfair.”
Marina rubbed her forehead with her hand and lowered her eyes.
“What is fair?” The coach asked a question, revealing instructions.
“Peace and tranquility, friendly teamwork without these miserable hierarchical games. Senior leaders should not be arbitrary just because they can be. It seems like they’re more interested in endless clarifications of who’s in charge than the company’s growth.”
With these words, Marina leaned back in her chair and took a sip of tea from a porcelain mug decorated with cats.
“So, your fantasies about what should be, and how others should behave - is that what’s fair?” The coach gently clarified, highlighting the rules Marina invented, which the real world did not want to follow.
“My fantasies?” Marina's eyebrows flew up, and her nostrils tensed a little.
“Yes, because what’s true for you is not the current reality. But reality is always waiting for you to see it. In the meantime, you can keep denying it,” the coach smiled. He privately wondered whether he should ignore the old instruction for proper behavior of respectable people and just start chewing on his pencil like a schoolboy for effect.
But he didn’t have a chance, because Marina suddenly asked, “What should I do?”
The client grasped the essence of what was said without resistance and immediately focused on finding a solution. Since Marina easily perceived both images and abstractions, the coach used both in his explanation.
“You can stop denying and start being sad. To deny is to stand still. To be sad is to start walking,” the coach replied. “Resistance to reality is useless. But you can accept it, and even then… yes, it will be unpleasant, but it will allow you to move on with your life.”
Accepting reality as it is, without illusions and expectations, is one of the main skills that a client acquires when working with a metacognitive programming coach.
We can resist reality and believe that it’s wrong and that it “should” be the way we’d thought up in our heads. When we struggle with reality, when there is a picture in our head of how it should be, and we try to pull it into reality, it always feels bad. Fighting reality is useless - it wins 100% of the time. When we accept reality with its so-called shortcomings, we can build our real life, not a picture in our heads. In some cases, we may well be able to change the circumstances. However, to adjust this world to suit yourself, you first need to see it for what it is.
The complete collection of ten dialogues is just a click away. Whether you’re a practicing coach or want to transform your life, this FREE downloadable pdf will give you insights to help you achieve your goals. To access all the dialogs, follow the link below.