I'm resurfacing an old post from 2013. I think you'll find the dialogue beneficial.
A few days ago, one of my readers - who we'll name Charles - emailed me, feeling a bit frustrated with the dismal return on his time and monetary investment in NLP. I asked him if I could post our exchange here for your benefit. Perhaps you've been feeling as he has. His messages will be indented and posted in blue.
I have read a lot about NLP. I have also practiced many of the techniques from the books. I have had minimal, at best, results from what I have learned. To date, I have NLP to be a very complicated technology only usable by those few who spent a fortune to attend live training courses. NLP, to me, seems more like a secret group of followers who promote NLP in order to get others to spend vast sums of money in order to become part of this secret society of practitioners and masters. I spent $200.00, back in 1987, so I could quit smoking. I went to a local NLP practitioner. I went from a pack and a half per day to 3 packs a day before the year ended. In 1992, I attended a live hypnosis session at a local hotel meeting room. There were about 12 of us in attendance. I paid $35.00 USD to sit through a brief talk. Before entering, I threw out 18 packs of cigarettes. We were asked to close our eyes and relax while the host played us a prerecorded hypnosis session. I sweat and shook for 4 days, but I never smoked again.
I don't believe hypnosis or NLP had anything to do with me becoming a non-smoker. I think I had had enough and reinforced my efforts by throwing about $40.00 of cigarettes in the trash.
I must also admit that I am fascinated by the human mind and the hype or fantasy of NLP. I just cannot honestly say it is real or has worked for me.
I look forward to your email so I can observe your take on NLP. Thanks.
Here's my reply:
Thank you for your message. It's great to hear from you.
I'm really sorry your experience with NLP hasn't been a thrill. I completely agree with you that, so far, it's been made to be this panacea that requires massive investments in order to become proficient at it.
"NLP, to me, seems more like a secret group of followers who promote NLP in order to get others to spend vast sums of money in order to become part of this secret society of practitioners and masters."
You're dead on. It's exactly what it's become: cult-like. People get indoctrinated into this sect and become anointed as trainers.
The good news is that it has nothing to do with that. Once we're able to see past the money-making gimmicks, the field brings a lot to the table. While it's peddled as magic, in a way, it truly offers a concrete approach to bring the scientific method into our lives.
"I don't believe hypnosis or NLP had anything to do with me becoming a non-smoker."
Bingo! It really didn't. While Pracs, Master Pracs and Trainers would like you to believe that, it's not true. You were ready to change and pretty much any approach would have succeeded at the time.
NLP revolves around a simple idea: there's a structure to how great performers produce results and we can decipher it. It provides a code, like HTML or C++, that allows anyone who knows it to see how human perception is structured.
The whole therapy bit misled everyone because Bandler and Grinder modeled therapists as their initial project.
The good news is that the code is easy to learn, provided it's described simply.
There are also a few skills to develop. Skills such as observation, listening, calibrating, using your voice differently, etc. You'll become proficient at them by practicing in the real world, not in seminar rooms.
Thank you so much for your kind response and for not misunderstanding what I wrote or taking it personally. I was expressing my frustration. Thank you for understanding.
I wonder if others might feel as I do. I also wonder how others have been able to get beyond the hype, expense, and frustration and are able to learn, practice and apply the "mysterious" technology. Personally, I am still looking for the best, yet, least expensive way to best learn and apply NLP.
PS - I found great value in your reply.
Guys, NLP is simple. There's no mystery to it. It's been, in my opinion, poorly described and taught so far. I want to make sure you get it. I want to make sure you're equipped with the basic knowledge you need to go out in the world, explore and confidently develop your skills.
By email or in the comments below, let me know the answer to any or all of these questions:
- Where are you stuck?
- What's unclear to you?
- What do you find p0orly explained?
- What's confusing to you?
- What do you want to be able to do that you aren't?
- What would you like to better understand?
- What skills do you find hard to build?