Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, is an incredibly holistic view of habit change and personal development. It focuses on modeling the behavior and habits of successful people in hopes of making it accessible to anyone. It has traditionally been used for a vast array of self-improvement goals such as quitting smoking, stress reduction, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, and achieving goals. It operates on a very basic and underlying mental level and therefore affects nearly every aspect of your life. Learning about NLP and utilizing various NLP exercises can help you improve nearly every aspect of your life.
One way to look at NLP is as instructions for your mind. You wouldn’t dream of operating a complex piece of machinery without instructions, right? Well, what’s more complex than the human brain? No wonder we have trouble completing seemingly simple tasks or goals — nobody ever gave us any instructions for using the most complex piece of machinery in existence!
NLP strives to develop models for how we experience the world. Most of the models are built by studying people who did/do things extremely well. By studying how these people operate NLP strives to break down their success into teachable systems that anybody can master and apply to their own life (with practice). The NLP “toolbox” is filled with models such as meta-model, metaprogram, sensory acuity, Milton-model, representational systems and submodalities among many other tools. Each of these tools can be used toward a different specific goal and situation, but they all strive to improve your life.
One example of a NLP concept you can use to improve your life is submodalities. We all experience the world through our five senses. We think of the world, both positive and negative emotions and events, with our five senses. The basis of many people’s phobias or stresses is picturing these events far too vividly and intensely. By understanding submodalities you can begin to dim and dampen these mental images while brightening and intensifying the positive ones.
Another useful NLP concept is presuppositions. A presupposition is just an attitude that you take for granted about the world. There is a long list of presuppositions that NLPers believe about the world. Try adopting a few of these and see how your life improves:
1. People respond to their experience, not to reality itself: There is no ultimate reality. We all experience reality through our five senses. The way I experience reality will never be identical to how anybody else experiences reality, even if we experienced the same events. Studying NLP can help us create a map of reality that is as detailed and accurate as possible. The map isn’t reality, but it can help us pilot through reality.
2. We already have all the resources we need, or we can create them: The resources we need to change our thinking and our habits reside within our own thinking. Understanding why we think the way we do is the only true resource we need to create change in our lives.
3. Modeling successful performance leads to excellence: If it’s possible for one person to do something, it’s possible for others to learn how to do it. Everyone can learn to get better results by better understanding the habits and thinking of successful people. This is the basis of many of the models within NLP.
NLP is an incredibly broad system of techniques and beliefs that can impact a wide array of your life. From understanding your thoughts to breaking down your goals into well-defined outcomes, NLP holds a plethora of options for improving your life.