From Nimitz to Foreman: Effective Pattern Interrupts in Legal Practice

On our website, you read a lot about Pattern Interrupts – but what is this feature of NLP writing, and how can Pattern Interrupts contribute to effective legal practice?

In short, a Pattern Interrupt is a cognitive ‘shock’ that disrupts an individual’s usual patterns of thought, permitting reconfiguration of their mental map. Let us look at two interesting examples to see the principle at work.

The War in the Pacific: Nimitz’ NLP Battleground

Effective Pattern Interrupts in legal practice

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz famously took charge of the US Pacific fleet. Up to that time, the Japanese Empire had only known victory against its foes – in fact, they had come to assume victory would always be theirs. When he took charge of the US Pacific Fleet, Nimitz was determined to Pattern Interrupt this ‘habit of thought’ by demonstrating that the Japanese could be hurt. Although it caused very little real damage, the bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle in 1942 successfully interrupted the ‘mental myth’ of Japanese invincibility. The mental map of the Japanese leadership immediately disintegrated, making it open to reprogramming with thoughts of defeat.

Rumble in the Jungle: 6 Rounds of Mental Manipulation

Effective Pattern Interrupts in legal practice

Our second example comes from the world of boxing. Before the famous Rumble in the Jungle in 1974, the ageing Muhammad Ali asked the famous trainer Cus D’Amato what he must do to overcome the seemingly invincible champion George Foreman. D’Amato immediately told Ali to throw the first punch, because Foreman had a ‘glass mind’: and if hit with bad intentions, his youth and strength would begin to doubt itself. And so it proved. So mentally damaged was Foreman that he hallucinated a vision of Jesus in his dressing room a few fights later – a classic manifestation of mental disintegration. Only years later, after the self-creation of a new role as a philanthropic preacher, did he really overcome the effects of his defeat to Ali.

Disrupting the Parole Board’s ‘Gut Feelings’

Effective Pattern Interrupts in legal practice

Similarly, the ‘gut feelings’ of parole boards are patterns of thought which can be broken apart with the correct Pattern Interrupts. Once this is accomplished, it becomes possible to rearrange the board’s basic assumptions about a particular prisoner.

If you are an attorney representing a prisoner who has been the victim of public misrepresentation, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Effective Pattern Interrupts in legal practice