Is Water Wet? And Golden Linings...

Is water wet?

Its not a trick question…

Is water wet? The answer is the same as, is grass green?

And the answer is…


eyeWater is not wet and neither is grass green.

This is not some ‘clever’ answer to a trick question. This is about personal responsibility!

Green is not a property of the plant called grass, green is a label you use for your experience of the portion of the visible light spectrum that you see reflected from grass. (Paraphrased from The Structure of Magic by Richard Bandler & John Grinder)

Water isn’t wet. ‘Wet’ is simply a label for your experience of water.

There is a big difference.

Seeing light reflect from grass and calling that experience ‘green’, differs from ‘green’ being a property of grass.

If grass isn’t green and water is not wet then neither is ‘X’ bad.

‘Bad’ is simply your experience of ‘X’.

Or as any Spiritual Master will tell you:
"It's what you bring to it"

"She is beautiful" really is "my experience of her is one I think of as beautiful". We can all relate to this, as we know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people look ‘beautiful’ to others but not to us.

Of course saying “my experience of Jane is one that I label as beautiful.” is ridiculous. So we simply say: “Jane is beautiful.”

The problem is that most people forget this ‘short-hand’ isn’t really what we mean.

And then of course when Jane no longer finds you interesting we say, “she broke my heart.” This is where it pays to be cleaner with your language. “Not being with Jane is something that I find upsetting.” Because ‘finding’ something upsetting is a choice. You are finding or choosing to be upset, and so you can choose to be upset or annoyed or disinterested or happy its over so you can move on. You have that choice.

“Its bad luck”. Superstitious nonsense. There is no good or bad luck… but you can chose to have as much ‘good luck’ as you want! Good and bad are simply labels that you bring to experiences and not properties of the experience.

In short, You are in control of your emotions, even though it may not always seem like it.

The Golden Lining

The real trick is to find the golden lining right away. (a sliver lining doesn’t seems precious enough!)

Training your mind to see the golden lining right from the ‘get go.’ Thats the real trick. And a much better reality tunnel to view the world through.

Your body doesn’t have to experience feelings that you label as: horrendous, horrid, bad, painful or any other ‘negative’ word. In fact you can laugh in the face of adversity. And should!

The feelings you feel are in response to the thoughts you have. choose to have good ones. And why wait! There is no time like NOW.

Now is the time to do, now is the time to take action, now is the time to Find the Golden Lining to the issue. They say you will look back and laugh at it, but as I hear Dr Richard Bandler say often: why wait!

Develop a problem solving, solution orientated quick thinking mind. Start instantly looking for ways to make that 'issue' into a ‘learning experience’, to see it as an opportunity is a great way to set up your thinking. Focus on finding the opportunity in the cloud… because every cloud has a golden lining now!

Re-framing ‘problems’ makes finding the Golden Lining easier.

The word 'Issue' is a different linguistic take on a 'Problem' but my favourite simple re-frame is to call it a ‘Project’. If your 'Problem' is a 'Project' its not a problem right from the get go. It still starts with the letter ‘P’ and its still the same set of circumstances but already its something that you look at differently. Its now a challenge.

Focus Points:

  • Other people don’t affect you
  • You choose how you react to others. If you don’t like how you act in a certain situation, change it (later on I will show you a number of techniques to help you do this) 
  • Always look for the Golden Lining. Laugh about it Now!
  • Look at any ‘problem’ as a challenge. See it as a ‘Project’, an opportunity


  • Py

    Reply Reply January 27, 2016

    I see the use of this trick, but I experience it as a trick. First, language like you use splits the world into ‘objects’ (water, grass, Jane) and subjects (I, you), and then we play the game of what belongs where. That is a trick, it’s not ‘real’.

    The ultimate conclusion of the NLP worldview can be a kind of lonely solipsist autism, where ‘I’ am some kind of homunculus locked up inside a skull, playing audiovisualkinesthetic games with ‘my’ experiences according to an arbitrary and changeable set of programming rules.

    Most of the time, I prefer the ‘real’ world, where I have the experience that some people make me laugh, others hurt my feelings and where I sometimes hurt others. But like I said, sometimes, when ‘reality’ hurts too much, the trick may be useful, just like other ways to dissociate (cannabis, anyone? 😉 ).

    • John Vincent

      Reply Reply January 28, 2016

      Oh I totally agree with you, language is a trick… its very tricky indeed.

      As you say “when ‘reality’ hurts too much’ then is the time to adopt that worldview and start playing audiovisualkinesthetic games with ‘your’ experiences to change them, then go back into the ‘real’ world and enjoy life more.

      The point of the article however is about being responsible for your state of mind so rather than “I prefer the ‘real’ world, where I have the experience that some people make me laugh, others hurt my feelings…”

      You can have the choice that: the ‘real’ world, where you have the experience that some people make you laugh, but you chose not to be affected by other people’s hurtful actions (because ‘hurtful’ is only a label… a tricky word), you don’t have to be affected by them. Some people become really upset and hurt by words… that other people say. The ideas in the article highlight a different idea that anyone who used to get upset can rise above it and not have their feeling hurt and their day ruined anymore 🙂

  • Shirl Dean

    Reply Reply January 17, 2016

    It changes ones perception on how we look at feel. And how we can change it to a positive one.

    • John Vincent

      Reply Reply January 18, 2016

      Sure does… glad you liked it 🙂

  • mdf@offman.net

    Reply Reply January 17, 2016

    Dear John and Niraj,

    I’m sorry to challenge you but that is BS. Water is indeed wet. It is wet because “wet” is the definition I give to the experience that water gives to me. So water is wet because that is how I define “wet”. So is grass green. It is green because that is what I call it …..

    Words are purely artificial definitions and everything is exactly what I say it is – because I say it is!!!

    Bestest 🙂


    • John Vincent

      Reply Reply January 18, 2016

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your comment… I totally agree with your comment, “It is wet because “wet” is the definition I give to the experience that water gives to me.”

      That is what I am saying in the article, it’s like you said: “wet” is the definition you give to the experience that water gives to you. Wet isn’t a property of water just a word to define your experience of it.

      And as you said words are artificial, just made up… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful 🙂

      Hope that makes sense that we are both thinking the same thing 🙂



  • Cheryl

    Reply Reply January 17, 2016

    Problems changed to project – greAt idea

    • John Vincent

      Reply Reply January 18, 2016

      Thanks Cheryl…

      It makes a big difference to the way you view things. My favourite reframe came from Jamaica. I stepped out and noticed it was raining and a big booming Jamaican voice from behind me with a friendly tone said, “Thats not rain, its just a liquid touch.”

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Professor Richard Wiseman's 4 Principles of Luck. Click Below.

The Interesting Thing About Luck...

Professor Richard Wiseman, gave two groups of people who described themselves as lucky and unlucky a newspaper and asked them to look through it and count how many photographs were inside. 

On average the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

He also placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper saying: "Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250." Again, the unlucky people didn’t have their Eyes Open to Opportunity missed it because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

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