The most powerful tool in the world is the human brain, but most people don’t know how to use this amazing tool effectively. NLP is like the user’s manual for the brain. It allows us to use our brains in the most useful ways to achieve powerful outcomes in our personal and professional lives.
Fundamentally, NLP is the modelling of excellence. When you look around, you can see some people who really excel at what they are doing. Whether it is business, education, sport, social interaction, public speaking, or any other realm of life, NLP allows us to model these successful people to find out how they are doing what they are doing so that we can do it ourselves or teach it to other people. NLP is all about identifying and adopting the difference that makes the difference.
NLP even allows a person to model himself or herself. For example, you can remember a situation where you achieved success. NLP will show you how to enter back into that state in order to achieve the goals that you really want in your life. By understanding how your mind works, you can change it so that is always working for you and improving your life and the lives of those around you.
As well as being a way to model excellence in any field, NLP can also be understood as the underlying attitude of curiousity and the trail of useful techniques that result from this modeling.
If we look at the word more closely, NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This name contains three important words that are useful for describing human experience: neurology, language, and programming. The neurological system regulates how our bodies function. Language determines how we interface and communicate with other people. Our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. So NLP describes the interaction between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how this interaction affects our body and behavior (programming).
One of the co-founders of NLP, Richard Bandler, coined this definition for the Oxford English Dictionary.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them.
… and a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.
The other co-founder of NLP focuses much more on the modelling aspect of this technology:
There are people who are recognized as being particuraly adept in their performance. NLP is the bridge between being jealous of these people and admiring them… it gives a third way … a set of strategies to unconsciously assimilate precisely the differences that make the difference between this genius and an average performer…. It is an accelerated learning strategy, a mapping of tacit to explicit knowledge … a program that allows you to explore one extreme of human behaviour – namely excellence.
(Transcribed from YouTube video of John Grinder).
In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions:
1. The Map is Not the Territory.
As human beings, we can never know reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us based on our ‘neuro-linguistic’ maps of reality – not reality itself.
2. Life and ‘Mind’ are Systemic Processes.
The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, our societies, and our universe form an ecology of systems and all of these systems interact and mutually influence each other. When we want to change one part of our life, it is important to consider the ecology – what effect will it have on other parts of our life or on the people and world around us?
In the belief system of NLP it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. There is no one ‘right’ or ‘correct’ map of the world. The people who are most effective in this world are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives. NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have and perceive. One of the co-developers of NLP, Robert Dilts, says: “Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.”
On this website, you can find details of NLP coaching for personal or professional life. You can also find out how to train in NLP so that you can incorporate these valuable skills and create a life that is richer in every way.