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Category Archives for "NLP Modeling"

Do you know nothing?

NLP revolves around one activity: modeling.

You knew that, didn’t you?

What most NLP students don’t know is that modeling NLP-style differs in one specific way.

More about that in a second…

John Grinder has a unique focus in NLP. He’s really interested on top performance in a variety of fields. He thrives on that.

In fact, that’s pretty much all he cares about.

What annoys him about the field, right now, is that very few people care about that.

The big focus is therapeutic protocols that he modeled with Bandler back in the 1970’s.

People find that a big deal.

The big deal, he says, is modeling. That’s where we find the juice.

So Grinder is one of the few people who teach the original brand of NLP modeling. Just every once in a while.

He emphasizes that Pracs must learn to enter a know-nothing state.

It’s a state in which you experience no internal dialogue. In which you’re focused on your senses, in the present. In which you are COM-PLETE-LY available.

If you’re familiar with Carlos Castañeda, you’ll recognize this as “stopping the world.”

Bruce Lee used to start off with new students with a specific routine.

He’d take out two cups and fill them with water. Then, he’d put a cup on the lap of the student and say:

“That cup is you. It contains all of your knowledge. This cup is me. It contains all of my knowledge.”

At that point, he would take his cup and start pouring his water into the student’s cup.

The student would then yell for him to stop!

Bruce looked at him straight in the eye, picked up the student’s cup, tossed out the water and put back the cup on his lap.

He then poured the water into it.

There was space available. Nothing left.

Zip. Gone.

All prejudices, out the door.

Clean slate.

That’s the state we get you into with the Mental Spa.

That’s where the learning begins.

Stopping the world means shutting out internal dialogue and, with it, all your baggage, background and personal history.

Castañeda taught it with wisdom.

Grinder picked up on it.

That’s the difference that makes the difference in NLP modeling.

When you enter the know-nothing state, you’re able to absorb the patterns of excellence that you want to assimilate and code.

It’s not just observing and recording what you “think” is happening.

There is no thinking. It’s all doing.

NLP modeling is a full-contact sport.

Learn how to play and play full-out.

One Of Tony’s Little-Known Stories

Have you started modeling yet?

If not, you’re missing out.

Modeling is the single, most important, biggest contribution NLP brings to the table.

Sad part is, very few people take advantage of it. They focus instead on a few change techniques.

That’s not where the juice is.

But don’t take my word for it. Take Tony Robbins‘.

(I assume you have heard of him. Very likely.)

In the early 1980’s, when he was just getting started in his career, Tony encountered John Grinder and started training with him in NLP.

When he concluded the program, he walked up to Grinder and said:

“I fully understand that modeling is the core activity of NLP and want to demonstrate my commitment to that practice. Where do you suggest I begin?”

John Grinder casually said: “How about firewalking?”


Oprah firewalking at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within event

The rest, of course, is history.

Tony has then gone on to model outstanding performers in every area of human activity.

This just goes to show you the power of modeling.

And yet, so few people diligently work on their modeling skills and approach.

Be different.

Start spotting people who stand out by the results they produce. Then, learn the proper method to figure out how they do what they do.

At the beginning, it will be a little rough – as with learning anything.

Quickly, though, it will sink into your bones and you will understand intuitively how to do it.

So start now.

If you want to see how powerful modeling is in the real world, check out Mental Spa.

I modeled the induction from a Shaman with whom I became friends here in Brazil.

It’s deceptively simple to learn and apply. Read Ingrid Jeuring’s comments about her experience in the Mental Spa right here:


NLP Modeling: The 6 Master Steps

NLP modeling is a bit different than other types of modeling activities. In this article you will learn what distinguishes NLP modeling from other types.

*** Update: I strongly suggest you read the comments at the end of this post. They complement the information in the post and address such topics as safety guidelines when modeling. ***

In a previous article I mentioned that the modeling done in NLP distinguishes itself from other forms of modeling in significant ways. In this article we’ll explore this distinction more deeply.

NLP Modeling is incredibly exciting and rewarding. It leverages the behavioral learning skills that all of us used as small children to develop our first abilities. Unfortunately, most of us lose access to those skills after we grow up. But it’s never too late to bring them back…

Step 1. Identify a model

This first step requires that we choose a top performer. Maintain as your most important criteria to choose someone who produces outstanding result or results consistently. For instance, you could model a soccer player’s unique way of dribbling. Or you could model a top salesperson’s closing skills. Or you could model a clinician who has an unmatched record for helping patients recover from illnesses. Find someone who can get a result you’d like to produce time and time again, consistently without fail.

Step 2. Assimilate their behavioral patterns unconsciously

little guy and tall guyWhereas in most modeling methods the modeler acts simply as an outside observer, NLP Modeling demands that the modeler actually step into the shoes of the outstanding performer. Through repeated imitation and practice, you will unconsciously absorb his or her behavioral patterns.

This is the crux of NLP Modeling. So let’s talk about this some more.

When using other modeling methods, you’d be constantly trying to figure out how the top performer is achieving those results. You’d be analyzing his movements, his behavior, his words, his tonality, and so forth, trying to understand consciously how he produces those astonishing results.

NLP Modeling is different. When doing NLP Modeling, you’re supposed to imitate the genius without trying to figure out what’s going on. Just do as he does. Or do as she does. Copy him. Mimic her. But not in a caricatural way. Do it in a genuine way, trying as best as you can to let that person mold you so you become just like her.

As an example, imagine you’d want to model an outstanding tennis player’s serve. In Step 2, you’d actually pretend to be the player, going through the same motions over and over, seeking to emulate the player’s behavior.

For how long should you do that? You do it all the way until you…

Step 3. Produce results similar to those of the top performer

Thumbs Up! You've got results.

Image Credit:

You know you’ve unconsciously assimilated the behavioral patterns of the top performer when you produce similar results in roughly the same amount of time. Depending on the modeling project, this may take minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years. It all depends on the complexity of the skill you’re working on acquiring.

In the case of our example, you’d know you’ve unconsciously assimilated the other player’s serve once you were able to consistently produce a similar quality of serve.

Criteria are subjective, but you can always enlist outside help to evaluate whether your results are congruent with your model’s.

Step 4. Clean up the pattern

In anyone’s behavior, even that of a top performer, there will always be “white noise”. This simply means that certain parts of their behavior will not be necessary to produce outstanding results. In this step, after you’ve demonstrated that you’ve absorbed the pattern by producing outstanding results, you start testing what actually needs to be included in the pattern and what can be left out.

Let’s go back to our example:

Imagine that you were modeling an outstanding tennis player’s serve. One piece of the player’s behavior is to bounce the ball three times on the court prior to starting his serve motion.

During Step 4, you’d actually test serving without bouncing the ball three times on the court to verify whether that piece of the pattern is essential to maintaining the serve’s quality. You might discover that it’s absolutely necessary and you might also discover that it’s completely dispensable.

Step 5. Code the model

Build a model

Once you’ve cleaned up the pattern, it’s time to figure out what’s going on and to create a description of what you and the outstanding performer are doing. The key here is to describe this in a way that anybody truly committed to mastering the pattern can do it.

Step 6. Pass it on

This is where the rubber meets the road. The last step and master purpose of the modeler’s job is to transfer or teach the pattern to someone else. In this step, you’d take the model you created in Step 5 and transfer it to a new person. If this proves difficult, you might find it necessary to modify the description you created of the pattern until transferring it becomes easy.

The most elegant models can be absorbed very quickly by a committed learner.


There you have it! The 6 Master Steps of NLP Modeling. If you’re interested in furthering your comprehension of NLP Modeling, read Whispering In The Wind by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair. The distinguishing characteristic of NLP Modeling exists in Step 2. In most other forms of modeling, the modeler acts as a mere observer. In NLP Modeling, the modeler gets deeply involved in the modeling process.

That’s how as a small child you developed your first behaviors. How about claiming that unique skill back and using it to increase your overall sense of personal excellence?

The Key Discipline In NLP: Modeling

Milton EricksonI’ve pointed out before how NLP goes beyond therapy. Many new students falsely believe NLP to be a therapeutic modality because many publications about NLP revolved around therapeutic models and patterns.

Today’s lesson aims at giving you solid grounding in NLP’s most important discipline: modeling. So important, in fact, that it gave birth to the field. Once you understand the distinction presented below (and you will), the field will make even more sense to you.

A modeling technology

The central purpose of Neurolinguistic Programming can be described through a sequence of three activities:

  1. Choose someone who stands out in a particular field or activity (sports, communication, management, leadership, therapy, learning, education, etc.) Make sure they demonstrate stellar performance.
  2. Absorb their patterns and code them into an explicit model of how they produce outstanding results. (I’ll share in another post how this is carried out specifically in NLP.)
  3. Install the model in others. You have to be able to transfer it. You can deem the project successful if the person who receives the model can produce results comparable to those of the outstanding performer. A critical criterion is that ANY person committed to mastering the model can do so — provided there aren’t any biological limitations that make it impossible.

A meta-field

Over time, I’ve come to realize that Neurolinguistic Programming lends its fruits to other fields.

Let’s take the Milton Model, for instance.

The Milton Model consists of a series of language patterns used by Milton Erickson, the most prominent practitioner of hypnotherapy of his time (and among the greatest in history).

The majority of NLPers will tell you that the Milton Model is an NLP model. I find it more useful to identify it as a hypnosis model created by NLP practitioners.

As such, I find it also more useful to say that practitioners of NLP have created financial mastery, hockey shooting, or seduction models. Each field remains its own. NLP is the field of modeling. And its epistemology and methodology makes modeling possible.

Remember: this is only a point of view. Many NLPers would more than likely disagree with me. Nevertheless, I find it more useful to organize the field in that way – perhaps you also will.