My journey along the pathway of learning and then becoming a Certified Trainer with the Society of NLP, has been regularly interrupted by the question, what is NLP? (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).
From the Society of NLP, (Richard Bandler), it is said that :-
NLP is an attitude to be able to find out what kinds of communication influences others, and to pursue this with the sense of curiosity desire and adventure, and to view life as an opportunity to learn. Or “the art and science of communication”.
NLP is a methodology taking the presupposition that everything we do has a structure, and that this structure can be modeled, learned, taught to others, and changed, for ours and others needs as appropriate.
NLP is a technology which has grown and is evolving, that allows users or Practitioners to orgnise information, procedures and perceptions, such that they can achieve the inconceivable.
NLP is described as “the study of the structure of subjective experience”.
People have placed different meanings, their own meanings, as to what NLP is all about. I often asked Richard Bandler what NLP was, and each time I had a different answer. It was then I decided that NLP was anything that worked for you to achieve excellence in yourself and in others, to make the appropriate changes for this to happen. It was later in his book Modeling With NLP by Robert Dilts, that I read he too concluded that NLP is anything that works.
If you see someone who can achieve excellence, there is a presupposition that you can model, find out how they do it, and it is assumed that you too can achieve the same results.
You are working in a sales company, (or talking to people, teaching, what ever you do, we sell ourselves), and you notice another person achieving better results. Find out how that person does it, their thoughts, their strategies, and apply them to your own strategies, and if appropriate, you may find them better than those you were running before. Use them, you now have choice, and perhaps you can teach others.
Maybe you notice that there has been a time when you did something special. Would it not be great to be able to capture that time, that state, and to be able to reproduce it at will. You can with NLP.
When we look at modeling someone, (how they do), unlike other models or methodologies, we do not look at the content, how many eggs they put in the chocolate cake, how long it is left in the oven, we look inside the person to ask how do they know, what tells them it is time, that it is cooked.
NLP is content free.
Many years ago in California, a young student was riding home in his car. Back in those days, cigarettes seemed to take people places in their minds those of today do not, they were special and strong. This young man, a student, caught from the corner of his eye flashing lights, and thought to himself, that the tobacco was particularly strong that day.
It was not long before he realised that the flashing lights were in fact a police car behind, flagging him to stop. He stopped, not wanting to share his cigarette with the policeman, he stayed in the car.
The police man asked this student what was his job, and not wanting to say he was a student, he searched for an answer.
On the car seat by the side of him were three books. One book was on psychology, another he had borrowed on the English language, and the third was on his major he was studying at university, computing. He taught hard and then said, I am a neuro linguistic programmer.
Thus the birth of NLP.
The word Neuro is about the nervous system. We send a large time understanding the working of the nervous system, the way we remember, we think, creating, pictures, visions, and all the cognitive processes are part of the programmes which run within the nervous system. Our whole experience of our world, our learning, our interaction with the word, is through our nervous system, vision, hearing and speaking, feeling, smelling and tasting.
The word Linguistics is the way we communicate with ourselves with our own internal language and how we interact with others. How we verbalise our goals, our desires, our wants, instructions.
The word Programming is how we learn, our memory, our creativity, how we process information to do particular actions things, the mental process.
Other methodologies from the field of pyschology over laps with NLP, because NLP borrows from cognitive sciences, neurology and linguistics.
When we model we find out how the brain is working (Neuro), listening to the language (Linguistic), verbal and non-verbal, and then strategise them step by step (Programming), so that we can reproduce or teach others.