With the trainer in NLP and Mindhacker, Adrian Munteanu, about life, activity and the business environment.

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Adrian Munteanu - trainer in NLP and Mindhacker
Adrian Munteanu - trainer in NLP and Mindhacker

With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classical Languages and Literature from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Adrian has always been passionate about the power of language – both written, and spoken – to mold people’s thinking, feeling, and along with it, their outstanding behaviours and exceptional results. He has gladly tapped into this power just as well along his academic path, throughout his experience as a corporate trainer, and now, as a trainer in Neuro-Linguistic Programming & Hypnosis, and Mindhacker for business people. Since 2014, Adrian has topped up over 6000 hours of work with his activity at Mindgrasp – one-to-one and one-to-many – with leaders from various fields: from NGOs, to small startups, and large multinational companies, alike – in Romania, the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, and Germany. Adrian has empowered them to harness their mind’s resources, make their goals a living reality, succeed and thrive on their own terms.

C&B: Make a description or define your activity!

All business relies on people who meet others’ needs. Even nowadays, no matter how much technology is involved in everything we do, algorithms are still designed by people for the benefit of other people. So, the difference that makes all the difference for outstanding professional results is purely human performance (which nothing can really replace).

That’s why I like to describe myself as a “mindhacker.” I work with people in the field of data and information, and I enable them to debug and declutter their thinking and behaviors, and instead, install the key skills, beliefs, attitudes, and action patterns that empower them to excel at work and in all areas of their lives.

Many believe it’s not easy to change how you behave at work (and the outcomes you get), and that’s understandable – if you only approach it with your conscious awareness. It’s like looking to reprogram a software’s source-code… by screaming at the screen. I doubt you’d even switch a variable over eons. 

Likewise, it’s like trying to change the course of a river one bucket at a time. But if you dig out a new riverbed outright, it doesn’t matter whether you fill it with water, lava, or chocolate – it will flow straight to the new destination.

The truth is that the only useful purpose for our conscious mind is to choose our goals – what exactly do we want to accomplish. It’s like a ship’s captain, who picks the destination. And of course, we have plenty of work to do on this level, too. By close questioning, I enable the people I work with to detail their goals as specifically as possible. And that makes them exponentially more achievable.

The unconscious mind, on the other hand, works like the ship’s crew. If it’s well paid, well fed, and well rested, it reports for duty and wires the path of least resistance in our nervous system to take us to our destination. Many people don’t mind their unconscious mind precisely because it’s outside of our waking awareness. But it’s fundamentally responsible for our behaviors, all the more that it runs them on “auto-pilot.”

Now, regardless of whether I work one-on-one or with groups, what I do is bring “the captain” and “the crew” on the same wavelength, so that the people I deal with can smoothly “navigate” to their desired destination.

C&B: What does the story of your evolution sound like?

For the longest time, I wanted to become a professor of Classical Languages and Literature (yes, I know, a very “forward-looking” field!). I saw myself spending my whole life “buried” in the library, among books and manuscripts. But, after college, I wasn’t able to get a scholarship to continue and deepen my studies, so I changed course and put my intellectual aspirations on hold.

I also had the (mis)chance (depends how you see it) to finish college in 2010, at the height of the last global economic crisis, so I came back to Romania and got hired in a technical support role. I wasn’t particularly good at this, but I was told from the start that I could learn the tools and procedures over time, and my language skills were more important.

So, I kept developing in my career with a focus on communication, continuing with a training position in a company that offered HR outsourcing services. I loved to speak in front of an audience – if most people would find it their greatest fear, for me it’s been a delight at least since I was 4, when I did an onstage performance of a famous literary piece in front of a large audience at a children’s storytelling festival from my grandparent’s town, where I grew up.

But soon, I came to realize that no matter how naturally I found it to teach a live audience, I wasn’t fully getting across to my students at work. The technical and procedure knowledge just didn’t seem to stick the way I wanted, and they didn’t apply it as expected. It was around this time that a good old friend told me about the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) course she had taken, and the rapport technique she had learned there. “Basically, you can connect with anyone, anytime, even standing on your head,” she told me.

I was immediately fascinated. “If I could learn just THAT,” I said to myself, “it’s like I’ve hit the ultimate jackpot!” So, I went above and beyond to pursue the same NLP Practitioner Course – with Crafting Minds. I learned how to get into rapport with people pretty quickly, but more importantly… I think it was the third day on the week-long course when the big penny dropped…

I realized that what our trainer, Camelia Păduraru, was doing and I what I had now began to learn, as well, was practically what I had deep-down longed for and unknowingly prepared for all my life, without even knowing that it existed as such. I went through countless crucial changes on that course – I can honestly say I had had a life before… and I gained a fresh life after it.

And the most important thing was that I let go of the paralyzing fear I had been fully immersed into – mind and body – without knowing, like a fish in the water. When I finally felt it clear from my body, all the ideas of the things that I truly wanted, but previously didn’t even allow myself to contemplate started popping in my head – like fireworks or champagne corks.

And all these things drove me to continue with my study in NLP – a few weeks later I pursued the NLP Master Practitioner course, and then, next year, in 2015, the NLP and Hypnosis Trainer’s Training, in the U.S. But most importantly, it gave me the drive to start practicing, so that I could share with others the experience that had transformed me from the core.

I quickly opened an independent practice, and I found my first clients, while in 2016 I founded Mindgrasp, and I’ve kept going at it ever since. The process might sound simple and straightforward – which it was, considering the stages I went through. But it was not at all easy. Every step of the way, I tripped over a bunch of “unknown unknowns,” the kind of challenges you just cannot anticipate until they blow up in your face – from book-keeping to account and client management, and how to responsibly structure your schedule when you become your own boss. 

But, as I like to say down to this day to the people I work with – I don’t show up in front of you because I were some “enlightened guru,” but just because I’ve tripped over or bumped against more thresholds than most have even dared to approach. And every time, I learned and overcame them, so now it’s my pleasure to pass it on and pay it forward, so that you might reach faster, more smoothly, and further than I, for one, could even dream of.

C&B: What were your visions in childhood / adolescence and what are they now?

From a young age, I was highly influenced by my maternal grandfather, whom I modelled in many aspects of my life. And one of his ideas which most made an impact was that “true wealth is what you have in your head, because no-one can take that away.”

It’s what lit up and drove on my love for reading and knowledge all throughout my childhood, and especially into my teens. I wanted to read all the books in the world and to simply know everything (a thought that makes me smile now, but which used to seriously preoccupy me).

That’s why it was both a shock and a huge disappointment when I couldn’t fulfill my desired academic career. At that time, it meant for me that I wouldn’t even get to read “the books that matter” (whatever that meant), and that I wouldn’t gain the definitive knowledge that would enrich me from within.

My NLP studies, however, opened the fresh perspective on how you can read a thousand books at once in somebody’s personal stories, how you can expand your life through them, enrich your experience, and live thousandfold.

A less fortunate idea that I took on from my environment as a child (and I think most people not just in my native country, Romania, but all over the world have come across it) was that “money is the root of all evil,” or that “money can’t buy happiness.” Well, as a friend from the U.K. would say, “if money can’t buy happiness, then know that poverty buys f…-all.”

And yes, maybe some use money against other’s interests, but so could anything be used. Ultimately, money represents the idea of value and concentrated energy. And, if you clearly show others how what you offer and provide can tangibly increase their welfare, they’ll naturally want to invest in it, and everyone wins.

The alleged “dirtiness” of money comes from a time when people competed for extremely limited resources, and were willing to trample others just to get them. I’m not saying that doesn’t still happen, I’m just saying, however, that the world has changed all around us and, right now, we have most to gain when we support others to win along with us. We just need to update our beliefs on the matter.

For me, it’s been a decisive step in my professional evolution with Mindgrasp to first become aware of this perspective on money, and then replace it.  And then, it cascaded on all levels of my life, because I automatically started wondering “how can I approach this so that it’s mutually beneficial?” in all situations.

C&B: How did the Pandemic Crisis influence your activity and what conclusions did they draw?

In a (maybe) paradoxical (?) manner, 2020 has been the best year in my business thus far. It grew by 400%, and not so much despite the pandemic, but maybe also because of it. We can’t command the wind, but we can adjust the sails, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since the crisis started.

Yes, I had to immediately cancel all the live events that I had planned, but I immediately re-organized my work online, where I was able to reach a significantly wider audience from the start. And the very effort to “translate” in a digital context a series of learning activities initially designed for live interaction drove me to exercise my creativity and expand my offer, my services, as well as my communication channels.

I have taken up an especially useful belief from my mentor in the U.K., David Shephard, and this has supported me over the past year, in particular – “nothing that you rightfully earn cannot be withheld from you.” So, if you take constant action, the impact of your work keeps adding up and multiplies exponentially, kind of like composite interest. So, one way or another, you get to reap the reward of your results, even if they come from an unexpected direction.

C&B: What advice do you have for those who are new or undecided?

Get to work and take action as quickly as possible! Nobody’s ever “ready enough.” And you cannot really discover what you don’t know that you don’t know, until you stumble across its concrete challenges, and thus, you realize what you need to learn in order to advance.

Take action, and maybe you won’t succeed right away. So then, take feedback, apply it, and keep moving onward! I can say in full honesty that only after I messed up all the way, after I fully experienced what I did NOT want, only then did I become aware of WHAT I wanted instead, and I was able to frame the most achievable outcomes. Because only then do you get to resonate with your goals on the deepest emotional level, which drives and motivates you to carry them out, no matter what happens along the way.

C&B: Please provide your own definition for Romanian society, business and careers!

I think Romania has great potential as society, it’s just that we haven’t yet learned how to consistently use it constructively. Because of our history, we’ve been forced to learn how to pretty much always get by with limited resources, which can certainly help to flexibly pursue and achieve meaningful goals (in all areas of life) – hold on to WHAT you want to get and keep changing HOW you act along with the shifting context… until you get IT.

Unfortunately, most folks still use this skill to bypass the rules, but in the long run, they end up cutting the branch from under their own feet. Likewise, we could harness our mastery in making fun of hardship to reset our spirits in the front of adversity. But most just use it as the chaotic humor that showers any new endeavor with ridicule, and demolishes the “neighbor” whose grass always seems greener.

So, the most important lesson I would say we have to learn collectively is that lasting success only comes when we seek to support each other, and that together we will win far more than what we could hope to get individually.

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