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How NLP Modeling stimulates intuition

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Paulo Coelho


To me, a witch is a woman that is capable of letting her intuition take hold of her actions, that communes with her environment, that isn't afraid of facing challenges.

Many a wannabe bestselling writer have poo-pooed Paulo Coelho's literature as infantile at best and mediocre at worst. That's OK. He may definitely not be everybody's favorite writer, but when you consider that his books have sold over 350 million copies, you know he has tapped into something.

That "something", in my opinion, has to do with his appreciation for what I call the "Understandings of the Right" in the Wish Design Workshop. He doesn't shy away from diving into the world of the unconscious mind, with its mysteries, symbolism and intuitiveness. Clearly, millions of readers want more and more of it.

There's a reason for that.

What is intuition?

Webster's Dictionary defines intuition as "instinctive knowing, without the use of rational processes." In other words, intuition is a kind of knowledge reached without resorting to rational or conscious capabilities. In a sense, it suggests that intuition is the direct grabbing of knowledge from reality or truth without reasoning your way to it.

Here are a few more words we often associate to intuition:

  • impression
  • sense
  • instinct
  • hunch
  • suspicion
  • empathy
  • insight

We struggle with intuition because they can be challenging to justify to others. Has that ever happened to you?

How many times in your life have you had a sense that something unexplainable was going to happen, and you couldn't quite put your finger on it, but somehow you just knew? And then you shared it with others, and they asked you to justify it (because they couldn't "see" it), and you had a really hard time doing it?

We've become so addicted to rational justifications we often dismiss or reject intuitions out of hand because they simply do not fit into the neat narratives we've created about the world.

However, if you pause for a moment and examine how we first build our knowledge of the world, you notice that intuition is our natural path to knowledge. Instinctively, as babies, we knew what adults were our parents and which ones were not. We knew day wasn't night and pink wasn't yellow.

Albert Einstein


I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.

Aristotle himself proposed that intuition served as the cornerstone of science. He claimed that we humans first acquire knowledge from intuition rather than reasoning. Then, we build scientific models atop our intuitions in an attempt to describe or explain these them.

This suggests that conscious reasoning sits atop unconscious intuition, and points the door to how these two faculties of ours may interact constructively.

NLP Modeling and the structuring of intuitions

The #1 purpose of NLP Modeling is to translate unconscious intuitions into conscious structures so these intuitions can be distributed and utilized at scale.

The Meta Model of language in therapy perfectly exemplifies this process. Bandler and Grinder codified a model of the questions that Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, two outstanding therapists, asked intuitively. Their model proved effective when they noted they could teach other therapists to become almost as effective as Perls and Satir by using it.

NLP Modeling helps human beings structure and codify their intuitions. As a discipline, it is designed to translate unconscious intuitions into conscious structures and codes. This insight suggest that, in any endeavor, we should first seek to build our intuition first before we seek to structure it into a codified model.

If you examine how an American child learns the English language, for instance, you'll notice it follows this process structure. By the time she is three or four, an American girl is already capable of intuitively speaking grammatically perfect English without ever laying eyes on a grammar book. If you offer a grammatically incorrect sentence to her, she will also intuitively let you know that you made a mistake in the way you speak. This will continue for years until she reaches middle and high school and starts studying the codified model of English grammar.

Our problem as adults is that we try to do everything backwards. We seek to first understand a codified model to only then attempt to develop intuitions. Unfortunately, the river doesn't flow in that direction.

The feedback loop between intuitions and models

I remember how Elaine, one of my modeling students, developed strong intuitions as a result of unconsciously absorbing patterns of excellence from her exemplar.

When the time came to begin the codification part of the modeling process, she let me know that she didn't want to go through with it for fear that it may disturb or destroy the intuitions she had developed.

As you know, the entire point of an NLP-generated model is to offer explicit, clear and consciously actionable instructions to achieve a result. Because of this, some people fear that the attempt to fit ethereal intuitions into a structure will destroy them.

My experience doesn't support this fear. Rather, I feel that a feedback loop exists between unconscious intuitions and conscious models. More than that, the process of distilling an intuitive process into an explicit one stimulates new intuitions.

dailyNLP - Intuition driven by modeling

As we develop rapport between left brain and right brain, we put in place a virtuous cycle in which intuition feeds coded models and coded models feed intuition.

The art of harmonizing the code with intuition

Whenever structure and code inhibits intuition, it is because the specific coded model we are using in that moment has misdirected attention, or because the structure of the code is not in harmony with the structure of the unconscious relationships that spawn intuitions in that context.

Our intuitions often come from how and where we place our attention. Conscious awareness can influence the way we direct our attention in ways that can stimulate (for instance, when we open up our perception to include more elements) or inhibit the development of our intuitions (for instance, when we're too self-conscious).

Similarly the code, or description, that we use to design a model of our intuitions may not be aligned with the form of our intuitions, and as a result, create problems.

The way out of this issue is always to change the code or the description used. The code is just a scaffolding that offers the general lines of how to do something. A piece of sheet music will not render all the nuances of Itzhak Perlman's rendition of the theme to Schindler's List.

The nuances are added on to a solid structure. The code, however, will give you a solid enough structure so that you can get the fundamentals right. Then, you can leverage your sensibility to add the nuance.

What NLP modeling offers is the ability to develop the intuition for nuance. During the dailyNLP Modeling Experience, many students start developing intuitions for the nuances that our exemplar offers.

When there is harmony between conscious structures and intuitive processes, the result is greater insights and the self-confidence that results from knowing what you are doing.

About the Author

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Martin Messier has been practicing NLP for 20 years. He was trained in NLP and Neuroassociative Conditioning by Master Trainer Rex Sikes and Tony Robbins. He holds a BA in Economics and International Studies and a Master's degree in International Political Economy.


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