Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the man who defied all odds and shattered his physical limitations, was recently sentenced to five years imprisonment for culpable homicide. He was tried for the murder of his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkemp in a widely publicised case.

As the case went on and his life was laid bare, a striking paradox surfaced from this man's public persona. It appeared that for all his superhuman feats, he is also a very vulnerable and insecure man.

The sad thing is many people commented on his 'aggressive and reckless behaviour', unfortunately after the fact. They also made observations of his pattern of 'possessiveness and control' over Reeva and even previous girlfriends. We can only wonder what sorts of patterns or programmes were driving him.

There are many human tragedies which stem from faulty patterns and programming of the unconscious mind, this was just one which happened to get huge coverage in the media. But from a more human, practical and day-to-day perspective, what can we as a society do to avert such negative endings?

I see this result being at the end of the scale and the results that we produce as corporate people probably resting at a more moderate level. But then again how would I know? There are cases of ultra horrible bosses who abuse their people emotionally over years and that may not sound as bad but has a hugely negative impact on the employee.

Having been trained in NLP (a model that is effective for interrupting programs) and many years of corporate coaching experience I can easily spot patterns and mental programming in people.

It is a valuable resource to have, which can be learnt easily. Some leaders have this ability to recognize patterns of their people at the workplace and parents definitely know their kids' patterns.

It is my observation that most people generally do not even realise that they are operating from a programme, let alone examine if it is something which is helping or hindering them.

I am sure you have come across all kinds of colleagues, bosses and friends. Perhaps you even lament about the types of parents, siblings or spouse you have ended up with. But have you ever wondered what drives these people?

A dictator of a boss, the timid colleague who cannot say "No", a friend who never offers to pay the bill or a parent who claims to know everything. They all have one thing in common. All of them are driven to behave the way they do by some belief, idea or value which most likely was installed at a very young age. School is another institution which is very good at reinforcing behaviours.

The dictator boss could have internalised a belief somewhere along the line that if he or she was not strict people would take advantage of them. The timid co-worker may feel that he has to say "Yes" to all requests because one of his parents did that. The friend who does not offer to pay the bill could have come from a family who were tight with money. And of course it is no surprise that our parents are the way they are due to their parents' conditioning!

There is no escape from these programmes and patterns. From the moment we are born, we are bombarded with well-meaning albeit erroneous conditioning from parents, teachers, society, religion, culture etc. It is useless to point fingers and blame someone or some institution for the way we are.

The first question is, when we discover that some of these programmes no longer serve our best interests, are we going to keep running in the same old groove or break out from the rut and free ourselves. The second question is when we meet people with programming that works against our values do we judge them or walk away to find people who align with our values.

The power is in being aware of our patterns and recognising the patterns in others. It can save us untold misery, stress and misunderstandings. We all have the capacity to make choices at any moment.

Whether we are an employee, boss, entrepreneur, parent or single, we always have a sphere of influence around us. When we change, people and circumstances around us change. So, what are some of your programmes? Do they work for you or against you? Do you live in a set routine where your programmes control you or are you aware that the choice is yours at every juncture of your life?

Author's Bio: 

Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers established in Sydney in 2002. She is a corporate NLP trainer and consults in creating effective people in the Asia Pacific Region.

She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat – Turn Your Luck Around to Realise Opportunities – launched in major bookstores in Singapore on the 23rd October 2014. Go to or email for more information.