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Using the Magic Triad to change how you feel...more confident for example

What's the Magic Triad and why should I give it a go?

The Magic Triad comes from the NLP communication model which I cover in more detail in this blog but here are the basics...

Here's a picture of the model

Working from left to right, it shows how as humans, we work a lot like computers:


- some information comes in. What's going on?

Internal Computer

- this is our mind. We process the information about what's going on using

  • the existing programmes and stored data in our minds (which comes from everything we have experienced and learned to date), and

  • other variables like the amount of energy we have at the time or how we are already feeling.

The Magic Triad

- the processing results in some output.

  • What we say to ourselves about what's happening (e.g. nightmare, amazing),

  • How we feel (e.g. stressed, excited), and

  • What happens to our bodies (e.g. tense shoulders, butterflies in our tummies)


- we use that output to decide what to say or do (e.g. retreat, dive right in)


- we get some results / feedback based on what we did.

And this is really handy for personal change as it gives us a number of ways to change our behaviour, which will change the results we get.

Let's use a confidence as an example as I'm sure we've all had a time when we don't feel very public speaking for example or doing anything new for the first time.

The NLP Communication Model gives us 3 ways to change how we feel.

We can

Change the Information

Do something to change the situation directly

  • e.g. avoid the situation that we don't feel confident about. Not a particularly empowering choice.

Change the Internal Computer processing

Change how we interpret the situation. Change our perspective or attitude to what's going on

  • e.g. learn something that will mean we feel confident in this sort of situation.

Use the Magic Triad to change the output of our normal processing

If we find ourselves not feeling confident, work with the magic triad to change how we feel in the moment.

The Magic Triad (being a triad) also gives us 3 ways to change the way we feel, so we can feel the way we want to moment to moment.

And that's what's in the rest of this blog, so let's play...

Using the Magic Triad for feeling confident in the moment

Think of a situation where you lack confidence to use for your experiment.

Something you have coming up, or something that's had that impact on you in the past that may happen again in the future.

Imagine you're about to do it right now. Imagine yourself in that situation.

Even as you begin to think of it, you may feel a lack of confidence creeping in.

So what can you do to change that feeling and feel more confident in the moment.

Here's option 1

Change how you feel directly


  • Vividly remember a time when you felt how you want to feel - completely confident, or

  • Choose to imagine how it would be, to feel completely confident in this situation. Or if it's easier for you, think of someone who you think is really confident (not arrogant). Someone who is deeply, calmly confident - and imagine being them in this situation. They don't have to be people you know. They could be celebrities or characters from fiction.

Like this girl - she's obviously very focused and confident about what she's doing!

Once you've got that sorted out, close your eyes or gaze into space and really imagine being there in that memory or imagined scenario, as if you're looking through your own eyes.

Ask yourself what's happening? What are you seeing, hearing and saying to yourself?

Let the scenario play out and keep noticing what's going on.

… and notice that as you really get into it, just by remembering or imagining, you begin to feel more confident.

Now play with the qualities of the pictures in your head and keep whatever adjustments make the feeling of confidence increase. For example, adjust the brightness, the location and size of the pictures or the quality of any sounds.

And as you begin to feel more confident, notice

  • how your body posture has begun to change. More expansive: shoulders back, chest out, chin up and.

  • how you begin to feel more OK about the situation. You might even notice that what you're saying to yourself about it now is different.

Which brings us on to option 2...

Challenge the meaning you’re associating with the event.

What do you say to yourself when you feel unconfident? I’m rubbish, I’m going to look stupid, I can’t do it, I'm going to fail?

Something really useful like that?

What could you say to yourself to combat that and reclaim your confidence?

It can be useful to create an image of your unhelpful inner voice and think about what you’d say if they were real, based on what their intention seems to be. For example, is your inner voice

  • An annoying critical troll type creature whose opinion you just need to disregard or ignore (perhaps like megaphone-boy in the picture),

  • An over-zealous protector, or

  • A scared little child?

What reassurance or persuasion might it need to stay quiet?

Here are some of my favourites that you might want to experiment with

  • I’m just going to ignore you now and get on with it.

  • I’ve dealt with tougher things than this before.

  • I'd rather do this and not get the result I want than not have a go and beat myself up about it.

  • Whatever happens I'll cope. I’ll be ok.

  • I've got this!

  • Let's just have a go and see what happens!

  • It doesn't matter if it doesn’t work out this time, there will be other opportunities.

  • This is just a learning experience.

  • If all my success was guaranteed, how differently would I feel now?

  • Progress, not perfection.

  • I'll have forgotten about this by next year.

OR you can use what you learnt from playing with option 1

  • What do you say to yourself when you are feeling confident?

  • What would a deeply confident person say to themselves in this situation?

To apply your power phrase(s):

  • Imagine your trigger situation.

  • Notice the unhelpful voice.

  • In your head, shout STOP. You could even imagine holding up a big STOP sign.

  • Repeat your new phrase(s) over and over again to block out the negative voice.

  • Keep going for a minute or so and you’ll notice again that you begin to feel more confident.

And finally, option 3

Change what you do with your body

Think of your situation and

  • get into a posture that you associate with confidence. That's normally an expansive posture. Standing or sitting with your feet firmly on the ground, back straight, chest out, chin up, eyes focused. Breathing deeply from your belly, ....OR

  • copy your favourite ‘winner’ or ‘super-hero’ stance.

Something along these lines...

Stay like that for a couple of minutes and notice how just doing this, makes you feel more confident.

Using the Magic Triad for anything

You can use the Magic Triad it to change how you feel moment to moment. It doesn't have to be about confidence.

Some days one option works better than the others, so my advice is to throw them all at it!!

Change the feeling directly

Vividly remember a time you felt how you want to feel or imagine feeling like that in this situation. As if you're looking through your own eyes. Really get into it and revel in it for a few minutes, noticing every detail. Adjust the qualties of the pictures in your head to increase the feeling you want.

Challenge the meaning/what you're saying to yourself

What do you need to say to yourself about the situation that will allow you to feel the way you want to feel?

Interrupt your current unhelpful script by shouting STOP or holding up an imaginary sign in your head.

Repeat your helpful phrases over and over again for a few minutes. Adjusting your phrase as necessary if your internal 'helper' comes up with new objections.

Change what you do with your body

What would you look like if you were feeling the way you want to feel. What would your body posture be and what expression would you have on your face.

Do that now and perhaps even exaggerate it a bit (massive grin vs a small smirk for example).


Stay doing that for a couple of minutes and your feeling will start to match what you're doing with your body.

So that's the Magic Triad. 3 ways to control how you're feeling moment to moment.

And if you'd like some support with this, or want to change your internal processor so you can feel how you want to feel more of the time, then let's talk.

You can book a free 45 minute exploratory call and find my contact details on the contact me page of my website.

And if you'd like to try out my monthly emails that provide a roundup of my blogs as well as other insights, you can sign up here.


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