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Did you have an outstanding weekend?
Were you able to find new vehicles to meet the emotional needs we discussed on Friday?
I really hope you take the time to do the exercises I share with you. So many of us still believe that information is the difference that makes the difference in our lives.
The difference that makes the difference is the information you apply by taking action.
That’s the only leverage you get. Period.
So let’s move on.
A couple of years ago, when I was neck deep in studying how our sense of identity works, I unearthed a little video by a guy named Stephen Pierce.
In it, he presented a concept called “selfware.”
I loved the name at sight.
He shared that our sense of self revolves around three components (and by the way, this is as usual just a MODEL. This is not academic nor scientific data.)
The first component is our self-image. How we view ourselves.
Stop and consider that for your own case. How do you view yourself? When you think of yourself, are you happy with what you see?
The next component is our self-talk. What we tell ourseves.
You know that nagging little voice in your head? What does it tell you all day long? Does it edify you or debilitate you?
The third component is our self-esteem. How we like ourselves.
Do you like yourself? How much? In your intimate, do you praise yourself or knock yourself down?
In NLP, of course, we have much more granular ways of playing with each of these components.
But for what it’s worth, I find the model really practical. It helps us evaluate very quickly how we’re doing on these three basic areas and how we could make significant improvements by implementing just a few changes.
Imagine the significant changes you’d be able to achieve in your life if you mastered each of these components.
If you want to know more about this, let me know. I’m building a little program I’m going to offer to only a few subscribers in the next two months.
All practical, juicy bits of information that you can turn around and implement IMMEDIATELY to get results in your life.
As all of my clients will tell you, it just works and the effect is instantaneous.
Formal sign-ups aren’t open yet, but I want to gauge the interest to prepare my resources accordingly.
So if you want to know more, hit the comments and just jot down “Me!”
Chris contacted me yesterday with a series of questions that I’m sure resonates with many other readers. I’ll reprint our email exchange without edits here for everyone’s benefit (with Chris’s authorization, of course). I think you’ll find the raw dialogue much juicier than if I cleaned it up.
To make reading easier, Chris’s questions will all be printed in italics. My answers will be in standard print. Let’s go!
I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion. I’m still having a hard time understanding what NLP actually is.
I read about modelling which makes sense on the surface- identify someone that consistently delivers the results you want and learn the processes that they go through to get the results, filtering the parts that aren’t relevant. Am I wrong so far?
But then I also see a seemingly unrelated component of using language constructs to some purpose or another. I’m not really sure what to make of that part or how it is related. I’ve seen bits about using it to direct the subconscious mind in some way or another, but if done on someone else in day-to-day life, I’m not sure how that doesn’t qualify as manipulation.
Honestly, I started looking into NLP when I saw some mention but some conspiracist that President Obama uses NLP techniques in his speeches to achieve some particular result. I found this interesting (and/or shocking… and/or hard to believe) but that’s how I got here.
I don’t want to waste your time, but is there anything you might point me to that would help me better understand what NLP is and what it is about? I’ve read the wikipedia articles but I’m still not clear.
Great to hear from you. No intrusion at all, I’m here to help.
You wouldn’t believe how often readers ask me questions like the ones you ask. The field has been littered with so much garbage that new students find it challenging to navigate.
You wrote: “I read about modelling which makes sense on the surface- identify someone that consistently delivers the results you want and learn the processes that they go through to get the results, filtering the parts that aren’t relevant. Am I wrong so far?”
You’re dead on. This is really the heart of NLP. The few who master this are the ones who create amazing lives. Tony Robbins is a perfect example of that (although many practitioners and trainers poo poo him constantly).
You wrote: “But then I also see a seemingly unrelated component of using language constructs to some purpose or another. I’m not really sure what to make of that part or how it is related. I’ve seen bits about using it to direct the subconscious mind in some way or another, but if done on someone else in day-to-day life, I’m not sure how that doesn’t qualify as manipulation.”
This is where the confusion sets in. What I’m about to share with you is my own understanding. Many NLPers would disagree with me, but my students generally prefer my approach.
Let’s go back to the first part you brought up — modeling excellence. Basically, at the onset of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder modeled the best therapists in the world: Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and *blink, blink, blink* MILTON ERICKSON, one of the greatest hypnotist who ever lived.
Milton was an ace at using language to induce therapeutic responses from his patients. The legacy of modeling his language patterns is what you write about above. It’s that “seemingly unrelated component of using language constructs.” Students of those modeled patterns decided to apply them to other areas besides therapy. Notably, sales, negotiation and seduction.
Here’s my approach: that’s not NLP. That’s applied hypnosis. These patterns are somewhat like the Force in Star Wars: applied ethically, they transform lives; applied with only selfish interest in mind, they turn into cheap manipulation. So, in my book, that’s a misuse of the term “NLP.”
You wrote: “Honestly, I started looking into NLP when I saw some mention but some conspiracist that President Obama uses NLP techniques in his speeches to achieve some particular result. I found this interesting (and/or shocking… and/or hard to believe) but that’s how I got here.”
Once again, misuse of the term NLP. Obama probably uses techniques such as anchoring and language patterns. These, of course, are techniques borrowed from Milton Erickson.
So let’s get to your question: what is NLP?
I’ve written extensively about it on my site. If you will, I’ll point you to specific pages so you can dig in a bit more:
What is NLP?
What Is The Difference Between NLP and Hypnosis?
Getting Back To The Roots Of NLP
Can I Solve A Bunch Of Problems By Using NLP On Myself
Do You Think NLP Will Help Me Achieve My Weight Loss Goals
Take a look. If you have any question whatsoever, let me know. NLP transformed my life. I’m committed to helping others understand it accurately so they can obtain the same benefits.
Thanks for the clarification. I’ll read the articles you cited.
The confusing part comes from the LINGUISTIC component of the name. If NLP is fundamentally about modelling, codifying, and then teaching the model, why is LINGUISTIC so prominently featured in the name? It seems to suggest the hypnosis/trance elements as being a fundamental rather than just one application.
Am I missing it?
You asked: “If NLP is fundamentally about modelling, codifying, and then teaching the model, why is LINGUISTIC so prominently featured in the name?”
The linguistic piece refers to the operational epistemology of the field (I write more about this in the articles). “Neurolinguistic” refers to how we sense the world and encode it in our nervous system (in language). Language is how we encode and manipulate our experiences. “Programming” refers to the syntax of that code.
NLP, or Neurolinguistic Programming, is one of the worst labels I’ve ever come across. Frank Pucelik (the third, unknown founder of NLP) states in interviews that he, Bandler and Grinder used to call it “Meta.” Potentially equally as ambiguous…
I hope this helps.
Every once in a while, you run into these little nuggets that actually make all the difference in understanding what happens once you master NLP.
It’s like a benchmark you reach. A flagpost, if you will, that lets you know how you’re progressing in your mastery of a certain discipline.
I was chatting with Robert Johannson of Svensk NLP (and, incidentally, The Riggio Model — if you’re not a member yet, rush there) and this particularly skill or quality came up in our conversation. We both do what I’m about to tell you, and I’m not sure we’d paid attention to how important as a measure of NLP proficiency.
Before I tell you what it is, I just want you to start paying even more attention to these little flagposts, these little clues that let us know that we’re making progress. Whenever you get the chance to interact with a master of NLP, really try to figure out what sets their skill apart. Generally, these are tiny distinctions on how they read people.
They use different lenses.
Try to zero in on those as fast as you can, because they will guide your development and accelerate it.
So for the uninitiated, this sounds funny at times — and it is.
When we’re interacting with someone, as they speak, all kinds of visual cues start popping up above their heads.
I’m not kidding.
Depending on what we’re sorting for in a particular interaction, different pieces of visual information start hovering around them, over them, next to them, and so on.
Robert was telling me about this in the context of examining people’s relationship to time. I was mentioning it in the context of examining the impact other people have on the client.
And we both construct holograms with the information that the client is giving us.
What’s so important about this, especially to beginning NLP students?
One of the differences you’ve probably observed between beginning NLP students and those who master NLP is the ease with which they operate.
Masters of NLP work easily and elegantly, almost effortlessly, right? In fact, that’s true about virtually any field. Think Martial Arts.
So what’s the secret to this effortlessness?
I’ll tell you in just a second… Bear with me.
Can you remember a time when someone caught your attention in a unique way? I mean, one particular piece of information she shared with you really hooked in with something you were already curious about at the time and this led you down a totally new, unexpected path in figuring out a problem you had.
Now, all of this happened because you effortlessly followed the flow naturally to guide you to where you wanted to go. It was all free, all simple and you were blown away by what you discovered.
That’s more or less what I’m talking about here. Our clients guide us in how we form and shape those visual cues.
So the secret I was telling you about is the way NLP Masters package information.
When Robert and I visualize holograms, those contain and present all the information we need as we’re working with the client in real time. We don’t need to stop and check notes or any of that. The hologram updates itself as we interact.
The package is tight, elegant, simple and easily updated.
Also, it completely frees our attention since we don’t waste any live memory trying to remember details of the interaction. It’s all right there in front of us.
Pay attention to these little phenomena that will start happening as you master NLP more and more. They let you know you’re making progress.
Especially for us folks interested in modeling. As I’ve said countless number of times, you must master modeling to master NLP.
I dig Malcolm Gladwell’s books. He always offers a slanted perspective on stuff we consider obvious.
One of the keys to excellence he brings up is the notion of the “10,000 hours”. This is the idea that you need to practice deliberately — that is, with the intent of improving your skill and eliminating weaknesses — for at least 10,000 hours before you can truly hone your skill.
Of course, he cites the usual suspects as evidence that the 10,000 hour theory holds: Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and the like.
Since we’re interested in mastering NLP, we want to shrink that number down. How can you achieve Jordan’s proficiency in less time? How can you achieve Bill Gates’s business vision in less time?
Can it actually be done?
Tim Ferriss purports that it can and even created a TV show around the idea.
In the end, what is the key to excellence? Is it really the number of hours? We might ask ourselves “what’s important about the number of hours invested in honing a skill (read: master NLP)?”
In a nutshell: pattern detection.
(And then, of course, pattern mastery.)
Repetition makes it possible for our mind-body to detect and, subsequently, assimilate patterns in what we observe and what we do.
Incidentally, this is one of the key distinctions that differentiates NLP Modeling from other modeling modalities: assimilating behavioral patterns prior to attempting to code them.
So, as an NLP modeler, I find it useful to dig deeper into Gladwell’s findings to identify the lynchpins that lead to excellence.
(Of course, in NLP, we knew it all along……. Just kidding.)
What you’re about to read is one of the most powerful strategies for you to master NLP beyond the rational level.
You see, 90% of new students try to learn NLP rationally.
The little exercise you are about to engage in will get you to learn NLP irrationally.
And what you will do is this.
Within the context of your family, you will express yourself entirely non-verbally during the course of two days.
Yeah, you heard me right.
You will have to express your feelings, your desires and other communications using analog channels: making sounds, using gestures, facial expressions and so on.
The key here is to knock you out of the constant use of digital words, which usually tend to shut down our senses and prevent us from really taking in the rich contextual clues present in every communication.
If you’re pissed, make a lot of growling noises. Express your rage in that way. Only one rule: no words.
How can you express your caring to your kids without words? What sounds would you make?
How will you tell your spouse or significant other that they are the most important part of your life?
Hint: Welcome to the world of pattern interrupts! If you think that weird questions do a great job for interrupting patterns, wait until you experience this.
I routinely leverage this particular exercise in my own family to flex my analog muscles. It’s usually great fun for everyone. Do it too.
And if you want the fast route to the know-nothing, inner silence state, use the Mental Spa.