Neuro Linguistic Programming
NLP is a unique model of how people learn, motivate themselves, and change their behavior to achieve excellence in any endeavor.
NLP - The term Neurolinguistic Programming was introduced by Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski. This is the same man who quoted “God may forgive you for your sins but your nervous system won't.' NLP is an integration of several disciplines including neurology, Psychology, linguistic, cybernetics, and systems theory. The components of the term Neurolinguistic Programming describe best what this little - known Science encompasses. NEURO because all of our experiences, both conscious and subconscious, are derived through and from our senses and central nervous system. LINGUISTIC because our mental processes are also coded, organized, given meaning and transformed through language. PROGRAMMING because people interact as a system in which experience and communication is composed of sequences of patterns or 'programs'.
NLP was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It’s a model. Grinder used his language knowledge and combined it with Bandler’s computer programming mentality to model what effective therapists did to create change.
These two modern day geniuses modeled people like Milton Erickson (hypnotist), Fritz Perls,and Virginia Satir (family therapist), took the most effective patterns from each and created a practical, replicatable system to get consistent results. They also borrowed heavily from Gregory Bateson and Alfred Korzybski of “the map is not the territory” fame and author of Science and Sanity. Korzybski held “Neuro Linguistic” trainings almost 40 years before Bandler and Grinder came on the scene.
Initially NLP was used mostly by therapists (since that’s where the model originally formed from) and now it’s applications have extended into almost every area of life (sales, business, negotiation, modeling, etc).
One of the great things about NLP is that it contains models that teach a person to effectively model other things.
There are all sorts of outgrowths from NLP and it has become somewhat of an industry. 90% of what Tony Robbins does is NLP based. He decided to rename it Neuro Associative Conditioning (NAC).
Here’s the core of NLP (there are all kinds of spin offs from the base model)
First of all NLP is based entirely on certain presuppositions Presuppositions could be considered base beliefs. Kind of like an operating system on a computer. Every program you run goes through that operating system (i.e.-Windows). So, the more flexible the operating system the more options you have when running a program.
Presuppositions are the internal, mental environmental structure we build that directs our 7+/-2 bits of conscious attention span. These presuppositions form the environment from which all NLP techniques take form.
Bandler defines NLP as “an attitude, backed by a methodology, which leaves a trail of techniques”. Most people who are familiar with NLP just know of the techniques.
Bandler has also said that he created NLP so he could do whatever he wanted. From what I’ve experienced, ALL of Bandler’s trainings are created in such a way as to INSTALL THE NLP ATTITUDE which basically is all about FLEXIBILITY. He jars your consciousness through stories and unconscious communication to create a more flexible mental system. ATTITUDE (and your state of mind) is everything in NLP. Controlling your state and attitude comprise the majority of what NLP is all about.
The point is that the basis of NLP is the presuppositions and the attitude you have when you use these presuppositions.
Major presuppositions of NLP
Presuppositions relate to unconscious beliefs or assumptions embedded in the structure of an utterance action or another belief, and are required for the utterance, action or belief to make sense. According T Merriam Webster’s dictionary, to presuppose means to ‘suppose beforehand’ or ‘to require as an antecedent in logic or fact’. The term ‘suppose’ comes from Latin, and literally means ‘to put under’ – form sub [‘under’] + pan ere [‘to put’]. NLP presuppositions are primary ideas and assumptions from which everything else in the field is derived. They form the philosophy behind all of the NLP models, distinctions and techniques.
NLP is first and foremost a way of looking at the world. These are the filters of that viewpoint:
- The map is not the territory.
People respond to their map of reality, not to reality itself. NLP is the art of changing these maps (not reality)
I live in BSK 3rd Stage , Bangalore. To get an idea of where places are located in Bangalore, I can refer to a map. The map is not Bangalore, but a visual representation. Someone else, with a different purpose in mind, could draw a totally different representation (map) of Bangalore. Both would represent Bangalore and give a different perspective.
In a similar way, you make internal representations (maps) of your experiences in your mind. You remember events through pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells and words. The internal representations you make depend on your filters (beliefs, values, decisions, …) - Your map of an event is not the event. How you choose to represent the map in your mind is what gives meaning to the event. If you and I were at the same event, our maps may be quite different, depending on our filters. If we enter into an argument about the event, we are not really arguing over the event itself, but rather our differing interpretations (maps) of the event. For example, suppose you believe your boss is a horse’s ass. What sort of representation (map) will you make of your meeting with him? Will you tend to focus on those things that prove your point? If I am in the same meeting, and I think he is wonderful, how will my map (memory) of the meeting differ from yours?
Your senses take in raw data from your environment and that raw data has absolutely no meaning whatsoever other than the meaning (map) you choose to give it. If you were to choose a different meaning, this would change your experience of that event.
- Experience has a structure.
Changing the quality of the structure changes the quality of the experience itself. Our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them. When we change that pattern or structure our experience will automatically change. We can neutralize the unpleasant memories and enrich memories that will serve us.
- If one person can do something, anyone can learn to do it.
Modeling successful performance leads to excellence. If one person can do something it is possible to model it and teach it to others. There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.
- The Mind and Body are one System
You are in charge of your mind and therefore your results.
You are the one who choose the filters (beliefs, values, decisions…) that determine your maps, your model of the world and how you experience different events. You are also the one who can change these filters to gain a different perspective on the world and potentially significantly different results.
- People already have the resources they need to succeed.
People work perfectly. No one is wrong or broken; it is simply a matter of finding out how they function now, so that you can effectively change that to something more useful or desirable.
Sometimes they get themselves into a state of mind (overwhelm, sad, anger) that prevents these resources from being readily available. People already have most of the resources that they need. What they need is access to these resources at appropriate times and places. Chunking, anything can be accomplished if we break it down into small enough pieces. As a person with NLP training, you can help yourself and others to learn how to access these resources when required.
- Communication is redundant. We are always communicating.
You are always communicating in all 3 major representational systems: Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. You’re in a staff meeting sitting off to one side, with your arms folded, an angry look on your face and are not participating in the discussion at all. Or you choose to not respond to telephone/e-mail messages in a timely fashion, or at all. Are you communicating and what message are you sending? And who are you really hurting?
Through your tone of voice, actions, body language, you are always communicating.
- The meaning of communication is the response it produces.
Your intended communication is not always what is understood by the other person. It does not matter what your intention is, what matters are the results you generate from your words, tone of voice, body language, … .
Being flexible, you can change how you are communicating until you achieve your desired result.
Consider the following situation. I notice a male co-worker teaching few things new joinee (female) which makes her comfortable and I decide to pay him a complement (my true intention). I say to him “Hey you are doing great job, you seemed to have impressed that new girl too. He immediately gets mad and leaves the room. I do not know what is going on in his mind, but obviously he heard my message very differently from what I intended. Maybe in his model of the world and through his filters, he felt I was ‘pointing on him’. The next time I see him, I could continue with the same behavior and think all sorts of bad things about him. Or I can realize that I did not achieve what I intended and find different ways to communicate with him so that we can have a productive working relationship.
Communication is not about what you intend, or about saying the right words, it is about creating an experience in, and getting a response from, the listener. The bottom line is the response you elicit.
- All behavior has a positive intention.
No matter how strange, hurtful or inappropriate a person’s behaviour may seem to you; to the person engaging in that behaviour, it makes sense in their model of the world. They see the behaviour as the best or only way of meeting their need or achieving their outcome.
Similar ways to express this presupposition are:?
The key is to appreciate the positive intention of the other person’s behaviour. This does not mean that you view the other person’s behaviour as positive. On the contrary, you may find it quite distasteful. You need to look behind their behaviour to notice their positive intention - for them, for you, for someone else … Once you have an understanding of their positive intention, explore alternative ways to help the person achieve it.
As an example, assume you are having a discussion with someone and they begin to raise their voice, yell, knock things off the table and run from the room. From your perspective, this certainly is not viewed as positive behaviour. Now look at it from the other person’s perspective. What could possibly be the positive intention behind this behaviour? Maybe they did not feel safe or felt overwhelmed in the conversation with you. Given the resources they had available to them at that moment, this was the only option they had to get some space or flee to a place of safety. Assuming this is the case, the next time a similar situation arises is there something you could do to help them achieve their positive intention in a different way that would assist you in achieving your outcome at the same time?
Could you use this approach to improve your relationship with you boss? Your co-workers? Your family?, Your children?, Your spouse?, … .
- Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources available to them.
- Every behaviour is useful in some context.
- Everyone is always doing what they believe is right.
- This is the best choice available to a person given the circumstances as they see it.
- Respect for the other person’s model of the world. People are always making the best choices available to them.
People always make best choice available to them at the time, but usually there are lots of other betters ones.
We each have our own interpretation of reality (or model of the world). Our interpretations may be quite similar or different. We all have our own unique history. Within it we learned what to do and how to do. What to want and how to want it. This is our experience .We each map our experience of the world differently, because we all have different sets of experiences and filters. You may not understand or agree with my behavior, but if you had my experiences together with my beliefs and values, you might.
You do not have to agree with my model of the world, only respect that I may see, hear, feel, interpret the world and behave differently than you do.
Because we take all our decisions based on our experience , we consider best for us. Until we add new experiences and perceptions , we will continue to make best choice within our reality.
- There is no failure only feedback.
Every behavior or experience is useful in some context.
If what you are doing is not working , do something else , do anything else to get your desired results. You try something and it doesn’t work out the way you planned. How often do you interpret this as failure? Or maybe, it is simply information that you can use to change what you are doing in order to move closer to the result you want.
- I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas Alva Edison, Scientist and Inventor
- How would your life change if you viewed failure as simply feedback - an opportunity to learn how not to do something and be flexible in developing a new way to achieve your intended outcome?
- How different would work be if failure was viewed as feedback. Would you and others be more inclined to explore new ways to get your work done more efficiently and effectively, with more fun?
- It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all. Edward de Bono
- The system (person) with the most flexibility of behaviour will have the most influence on the system.
Have you ever been stuck in life, doing the same things over and over again and each time expecting to get a different result? - Definition of insanity! If you want your life to be different, doing the same things more often, harder, louder, is not the way. You must choose to do something different. If you try one key in a lock and it doesn't fit, would you keep trying the same key over and over again? Or would you be flexible and try other keys until you find the one that works?
Same for your life, be flexible and explore different behaviours/strategies to unlock what you truly want in life or who you are destined to be.
At work, I am sure you have noticed two types of people. One person who is very inflexible and tries to control everything. They live under the illusion that they are in charge. In actual fact, their co-workers are finding workarounds in order to avoid dealing with them. Then there is the other person, people enjoy talking to her and helping her with whatever needs to be done. Why? Because by being flexible in her behaviour, she is able to communicate with everyone and people see her as a valuable co-worker.
If you are a parent, consider the following: There are no resistant children, only inflexible adults.
- Chunking. Anything can be accomplished if we break it down into small enough pieces.
- The unconscious mind is benevolent
- We process all the information through our senses.
To sum up, you can simply read the above presuppositions or you can begin to put them into action by making them a way of life. In so doing, you have the opportunity to change your reality, your results and your life! Here are two ways you may wish to consider:
- Begin to incorporate these presuppositions into your life by selecting a different presupposition each day. Read it over carefully and during the day, at work and at home, notice when this presupposition applies and what other courses of action are available to you to achieve what you want in life.
- Identify a situation in the past in which you did not perform as well as you could have. Take each presupposition one at a time and review the situation from each of these perspectives. As you do, notice what you can learn about yourself, about others and what other choices are available to you to obtain a different result -- should a similar circumstance arise in the future.