Martin Messier

August 23, 2023

Famous NLPer crippled with health issues by destructive behavior

Let me tell you a story that most NLP veterans know about:

In 1988, Richard Bandler — one of the co-founders of NLP — was charged with the murder of a woman. Her name was Corine Christensen, a prostitute and NLP student, and she was shot dead in the face with Bandler's gun, while only he and a friend, allegedly his coke dealer, were present.

Bandler affirms he was set up for the murder — and, because of that, he points out the court acquitted him "in 20 minutes!".

He told the Independent: "And yes, I took coke for a while. But I also went on a binge of Hershey bars for a while too, and I was addicted to peanuts for a year, probably far more than I was to cocaine."

He used to get annoyed when people jerked his chain for smoking – a habit NLP is famous for ridding people of. He said: "I knew how to stop, I just didn't want to!"

Most people in the NLP world know that Bandler, besides his various past addictions, is diabetic due to his poor consumption habits of the past.

Despite all that, he's still extremely successful as a trainer.

Almost everyone in the NLP world respects him.

(Including his detractors.)

And he had a wife (who sadly passed away several years ago) and children that love him and depend on him.

Bandler's story offers two important lessons.

First, it's not because you have a powerful change technology in hand that you're immune to being a human. I can't tell you how many people I've come across in my life who believe that, because they understand a particular phenomenon (how people cheat on their spouses, for example), they're immune to the forces that produce it.

None of us are above the constraints of being human, no matter how significant and different we'd like to make ourselves. We're not. We're not above succumbing to any average, every day human weakness and flaw on the menu.

That's a sobering thought.

The second lesson from Bandler's story is the one I find incredibly empowering. It came to me during a walk in the forest last year. It was the most freeing insight I've had in the past ten years, and it liberated me from demons I'd been carrying since my childhood. I now use this lesson routinely in all my coaching work.

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