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Category Archives for "NLP Basics"
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NLP Is NOT Therapy


When I’m introducing Neurolinguistic Programming to new students, one of the first things that I stress is that NLP is not therapy.

Throughout the years, NLP has become primarily associated with therapy due to the fact that Richard Bandler and John Grinder founded the field by modeling outstanding therapists. This close association has created much confusion for the field.

While NLP has produced exquisite techniques and tools to resolve personal problems, the field remains agnostic as to its applications. As a competent practicioner, you can derive applications in various fields, including therapy, counseling, leadership, writing, publishing, advertising and many others.

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NLP Has 4 Areas Of Key Activities

To make sense out of the mish-mash of NLP-related material you will go through, you’ll find it useful to categorize the areas of activities tied to NLP.

This article will be very short and to the point but nevertheless one of the most important I will post. The distinctions you learn in this one will allow you to map out your areas of learning in NLP.

With that said, let’s get to our 4 areas:

1. NLP Modeling

This is THE main area of NLP, as I’ve constantly harped on since starting this blog. NLP You’re modeling any time you’re coding behavioral patterns into explicit strategies or models, more specifically the behavior of geniuses who produce outstanding results in a specific field. You can also be said to be modeling when you craft useful descriptions or maps of phenomena that you observe (for instance, eye movements tied to the use of a specific representational system).

2. NLP Design

As you become more proficient in modeling, you will inevitably be drawn to design. You are designing any time you’re using NLP variables to create new patterns with the intent of producing a specific result. For example, you might design a specific sequence of sentences that trigger specific sensory channels whose goal is to persuade a client to buy a house.

3. NLP Installation

Installation has to do with the actual “Programming” of NLP. You’re installing whenever you’re transferring, conditioning or programming a pattern in yourself or another person using anchoring, hypnotic language, chaining states or any combination of the former. For instance, you’re installing when you run someone through a swish pattern.

4. NLP Training

Training deals with teaching specific skills to a student. Either you’re training or you’re being trained. You’re training whenever you’re explaining, describing or exemplifying a specific pattern or model for a student to learn how apply that specific pattern or model. While writing or reading this blog can’t exactly be considered training, it would fall in this generic category. This is what we’ve been doing together all along.

Now, don’t take all of this for cash. These categories don’t really exist. I just made them up because they make learning NLP much easier. They help you to understand what’s going on and serve as a crutch to make sense of the patterning coming your way.

Ideally, as you progress in learning NLP, you’ll create your own categories (your models). Please share your models with other learners as it will enrich and stimulate your learning even more.

Master NLP: Did You Know That NLP Masters Do This?

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.

Master NLP With Malcolm Gladwell

In December, upon releasing Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell gave Charlie Rose an interview.

Fantastic stuff.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell

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.

Tim Ferriss training in horseback archery

Tim Ferriss training in horseback archery

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.)