The 6 Levels Of Change

Neil StraussNeil, The Game16 Comments

I’ve been promising a series on a concept that has changed my life more than even The Game did.

That series begins today.

I’m going to slowly walk you into it, because every single person in the Inner Circle can benefit from this.

However, not everyone is ready to hear it.

What we’re going to be talking about has such strong defense mechanisms holding it in place that a certain percentage of people–especially those who need this information the most—-are going to dismiss parts of this series as not pertinent to them.

Do so at your own peril.



According to one model of neuro-linguistic programming, there are six levels at which we can learn and change.

The outermost level is the easiest to change, and the innermost level is the most difficult.

1. The outermost level is Environment.

I remember, for example, preparing to go to college, feeling like I’d have a fresh start on my social life and a chance to finally be cool.

Guess what happened?

You got it: I still wasn’t cool. I was still me.

2. Going one level deeper, there are Behaviors.

A lot of The Game is based on behaviors.

If you change what you’re doing, you’ll usually get different results.

3. Next there’s Capabilities.

These are not just the skills you possess, but also how you use your brain.

So changing some behaviors may not be possible if you don’t possess the capability to do it.

4. Even deeper, there are Beliefs.

This is what is known as “inner game.”

And more than anything, it is beliefs that drive success–in dating, in relationships, in careers, in life, and, most importantly, in happiness and life satisfaction.

The challenge with beliefs is that often we are not aware of the beliefs that drive us, or unable to change the beliefs that sabotage us.

5. Beyond beliefs, there’s Identity.

This is about who we are (or who we believe ourselves to be).

As one of my favorite NLP pioneers Robert Dilts puts it:

“It is our perception of our identity that organizes our beliefs, capabilities and behaviors into a single system.”

6. Finally, at the deepest level is Spirituality.

This is how we see ourselves fitting into the bigger picture of the universe.

If our body is a system, then this is the system that we believe our body to be a part of.


Now, here’s the cool thing about these Levels of Change:

If you change at the outermost level, generally little else changes.

But if you change at the deeper levels, typically everything above it changes as well.

If your beliefs about yourself become more positive, then your capabilities will increase, your behaviors will shift, and you’ll surround yourself with more positive people.

(No one broke any Olympic records by believing, deep down, that they couldn’t do it.)

Most people spend a lot of time trying to change their behaviors, because it seems quicker and seems more effective.

Changing beliefs, on the other hand, seems like a long, slow, and at times impossible process.

But let’s challenge that:

Look at The Game.

It seems easy to change behaviors.

For example: If you stand up straight when approaching, turn your body at a 45 degree angle, and rock on your back foot as if you’re about to leave, then you will have better results when you start a conversation with a stranger.

Most people can master that in no time at all.

But let’s not forget how MANY behavioral changes there were to learn to actually master The Game itself.

I spent some two years learning countless techniques, tactics, routines, and rules.

But what if, instead, I worked solely on my beliefs?

What would have happened then?

I wouldn’t have had to fake non-neediness, because I actually wouldn’t be needy.

I wouldn’t have had to demonstrate value, because I’d be demonstrating value simply by existing.

I wouldn’t have had to seek approval, because I’d approve of myself.

I wouldn’t have had to try to be like someone else, because I’d know I was enough as I was.

And I wouldn’t have been so fixated on every outcome, because I’d have a sense of abundance instead of scarcity in my life.

So I could have bypassed all those tactics and techniques completely.

But how do you find and change your own beliefs, and doesn’t it seem dangerous to mess with our identity?

And how exactly did those things get there in the first place?

I will try my best to answer these questions in the following emails.

I say “try,” because beliefs are stubborn creatures.

They hide deep inside your mind, buried so deep that sometimes you can’t even find them.

And if you spot them for a brief moment, they often slip away and hide again.

And even if you do manage to catch them, then what?

Is being aware of a belief enough to change it?

This is just the start. In the next post, prepare to deep-dive into the inner recesses of your mind.

16 Comments on “The 6 Levels Of Change”

  1. Well I’m not a native english speaker but I hope I won’t make to many grammar mistakes….and make some sense 😀
    That was a great post. It just made me remember the first time I read the game. After that I couldn’t wait to test my “new found knowlege” in action.
    At the very first party I made out with a couple of girls I approached new group of people I did all the things I wanted before but I had no idea how to do them.
    Then a few weeks past without me doing anything but learning for exams and reading books how to be bettet at the game. The sad part was that it didn’t really made me better.
    I read all the technices, posture how to speak what to think….. My head was full with all this things but I missed that naive first time when I believed that reading a few pages about pick up made me a pick up artist.
    I know it maybe happend because it was something new and made me very excited but at that first time my 4th level was fine since then I keep improving the first three but level for is ususally out of my reach.

    1. I just watched this video and my first thought was that Donald Trump is the only one of the candidates who communicates their ‘belief’ strongly. Even if you do a quick google image search, his seems to be the only logo that contains his slogan and not just his name.

  2. I have always felt adopting a consistant meditation practice is the thing which has changed me and my life more than anything else. It’s interesting to read ideas which kind of reinforce that for me.

  3. That’s an awesome post Neil. I’m currently reading The Secret and The Power. Changing my life through believing I deserve to have anything in life and only focus on the things I love. I can’t explain why- but now I’m freelance working on my passion as a business coach and start getting clients, got a salary raised from my full time job, and start connecting with more awesome people! The universe seems to be supporting all my wishes!

  4. Neil Strauss you’re the man. I discovered you about eight years ago when I was first started high school. It’s so cool that you encourage therapy and your new book revolves around it. Keep fighting the good fight dude lol

  5. Neil!! This is just a fresh & important perspective. Actually, i see that the first 3 levels is about our “doing”, and the last 3 levels are about our “being”. Now it’s clear to me why this whole time i don’t like strategy so much, and have more favor on strengthening my inner being and sense of self. I don’t like strategy or trick like “how to look confident”, or “how to make people like you, or hear you”. These strategies are less effective because it works on the level of capability and behavior (which is the shallow level), and not really change the deepest core of who you are. I remember Stephen Covey term about personality ethic vs character ethic, and i think it can be very useful to explain this post further 🙂

    If you are a deeply secure and strong person, you don’t have to learn any tricks to win people’s attention. In fact, because you are deeply secure, enough, and resourceful, you don’t need anything anymore from the outside; and instead, only want to giving more for the world. We need more deeper perspective like this now 🙂

    *p.s. : I recommended a book by David R. Hawkins “Letting Go”, about healing and to operate from our “beingness”.

  6. Even when I read “The Game,” and profited from learning the routines and habits it contained, something gnawed at me at a deeper level, and I wondered, “Isn’t there something more; something beyond this that matters more? Something at the core?” Turns out there was, and I began to discover it when I started looking for my passions other than physical ones. Nature, helping other people, discovering who I was and helping others do the same. “…doesn’t it seem dangerous to mess with our identity?” No, I don’t think so. In fact, I believe the deepest level of change involves removing all the crap that’s been heaped on us since the day we were born. All the social, religious, family, and group-think programming that has tried to mold us into everything OTHERS think we should be. When we peel all that crap off, we find out who we really are, and have been since the day we were born. And isn’t that what we’re really talking about here?

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