What is NLP?

NLPNeurolinguistic Programming (NLP) was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in 1975.  Neuro relates to the brain and the ways in which we process information from our five senses. Linguistic relates to language or communication and how we use symbols to organize and give meaning to our experiences, how we represent our experiences in our inner world. Programming refers to the way we code our experiences and program our subconscious with behaviors, filters, beliefs, etc. If we were computers, NLP would be the study of our programming and all this things that make up our interpretation of  life and determine our experiences. It’s very subjective. Each of us has our own programs, most of which were learned at a very young age. Because it strives to understand how we do what we do, it also reveals the means for changing, or reprogramming our subconscious. It allows us to understand psychology in a way that is easy to apply to daily life.


Basic suppositions of NLP:



The map is not the territory. Metaphor is at the heart of NLP. What you experience in the world is based on your perception, not what is real.


Every lives in their own unique model of the world. My NLP teacher told us once that if you spent 10 minutes in someone else’s head, you’d die of shock. The more I learn about NLP, the more I’m inclined to agree. Five people can witness an event and experience five different things. They can them remember the experience in five different ways depending of what their filters, values and beliefs are. How we react in any given situation is based on our subjective perception.


Experience has a structure. The way we experience the world, filter and pattern reality and how we code things into our minds are structured. Once you understand how someone structures their reality, you can help them make changes. Changes to the structure will result in a new experience.


There is no failure, only feedback. You can’t really do anything wrong. We’re all experimenting and finding out what works for us and what doesn’t. Each experience gives you feedback that allows you to shift what you’re doing eventually giving you the results you want.


The meaning of a communication is the response it gets. If you are communicating with someone, trying to get your point across, the meaning is determined by the listener not the talker. No matter how you say it, the message the listener gets is based on how they interpret it. It’s a good thing to think about who you’re talking to and how they interpret their world if you really want to get your meaning across to them.


If what you’re doing doesn’t work, do something different. NLP is all about flexibilty. Too many times we keep saying the same things to ourselves, and performing the same behaviors, yet expect things to change. All change begins within.

The person with the most flexibility has the most power in a situation. Living in a rut gives you the rut’s eye view.

You can’t NOT communicate. You’re always communicating with your voice, your eyes, your gestures, your energy. Even saying nothing has meaning.


You have all the resources you need to achieve your desired outcome. It’s just a matter of organizing them differently.

Every behavior has a positive intent. All behaviors are the result of your subconscious trying to do something positive for you.  People continue bad habits for one reason – there is a reward involved. Even if there are behaviors your don’t like, the intent behind them is positive. It is possible to achieve the same positive intent with a new, more desirable behavior.


The mind and body and interlinked and affect each other. Thoughts create emotions, emotions change our bodies down to the molecular structure. Your internal dialogue is conducting the whole concert.


People are much more than their behavior. You can love someone dearly, a child, for instance, but not like their behavior. The child isn’t ‘bad’ the behavior is.


Having choice is better than not having choiceDon’t buy into victim mentality. You always have a choice.


Modeling successful performance leads to excellence. If someone else can do it, you can do it. You can learn to model excellence by paying attention to how experts do it – how do they think, feel, breathes, what are their values and beliefs.


NLP is one of those things that you understand best once you start to use it. After all, you are your own laboratory. You can look within and recognize your thoughts, the images you create, the sensations you feel, explore how your beliefs limit you and what could happen if you changed them. NLP provides its users with many techniques and tools for self-improvement, positive change and personal growth. You can do many of the procedures on yourself and start changing today. Working with a practitioner is definitely easier, though, as a trained expert can see things we don’t allow ourselves to see. Either way, you can change and you can change fast with NLP.

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