Basic NLP Presuppositions

Don’t believe everything you think!

NLP is a model of generation: It generates new behavior; does not repair old ones.

Experience is not reality: “The map is not the territory”. What we perceive (see, hear, feel) is not reality, but our brain’s interpretation of it.  Our brains, via our five senses, interpret the situation in a way so that it has meaning for us, and this forms our experience. Interpreting reality in a different way changes our experience of it. Sure, reality exists.  We just don’t get to experience it first-hand.  Our brain creates a virtual reality for us- a map.  The map is not the town. But it’s useful to have, if you want to get to the station. The point here is that we can create a ‘map of reality’ to follow. [If necessary, in the case of trauma, it’s possible to create a map of the past and then go back and change that.]

The best thing we can do is change our attitude. Thought is the cause of what we are experiencing now. Furthermore, what we think now will contribute to what we experience in the future. We have choices about how to interpret our ‘reality’; this then changes our experience of it.

The meaning of your communication = results you get. What we intended to say is not always what the other person perceives. You can alter your communication until you obtain your desired results. Make sure they understand. Rapport is the way to do this.

There is no “failure”. Feedback sets direction. Feedback = food for thought. If you look at your mistakes in relation to your goal, then it’s all feedback. Results are the way you measure your progress and adjust your behavior to achieve your goal. Feed-forward!

The one with the most flexibility controls the system: Flexibility = having more choices/options. A robot has only one choice; two choices is a dilemma; if you have three or more, you are flexibile.  The entire point of being flexible is so that you can change your behaviour till you get the response you want.

All actions have positive intent. Everything we do is for one of these two reasons; anticipation of pleasure or avoidance of pain. Everyone has a different frame and we choose out of either fear or keenness. Realize that no one intends to do ‘evil’; find alternate ways to interpret the positive intent of inappropriate behaviors.

People have the ability to experience one-trial learning- Humans can associate any two things together instantly, if the state of mind is intense enough.  That’s how phobias are formed.

We already have everything we need to make a change. We only have to find the right direction. We have an infinite amount of resources. Once clear goals are set and commitment is made and self-discipline keeps us on track, we cannot be stopped.

The Meta-Model exists in all communication, intra- and inter-personal.

Generalization: when elements or pieces of a person’s model become detached from their original experience and come to represent this entire category of which the experience is an example. Our ability to generalize is essential to coping with the world.

Deletion: when we selectively pay attention to certain dimensions of our experiences and exclude others. People filter/exclude things to enhance understanding.

Distortion: when we make shifts in our experience of sensory data. Fantasy, for example, allows us to prepare for experiences that we may have before they occur.  Great novels and revolutionary scientific discoveries involve the ability to distort reality.


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