The triple “E” of Neurolinguistic Programming

by Martin Messier

Over the past few months, I've been spending more and more time explaining to non-NLPers the power of NLP Modeling.

So far, I'd say 90% of people — even hardcore NLP skeptics — have found it surprisingly intuitive within a few minutes of grasping the core concept.

As it should be...

NLP skeptics feel the way they do because of the stupid, irresponsible, out-of-this-world claims that unscrupulous snagoos make on the internet. You've come across them before, haven't you?

Claims about increasing your wealth.

Claims about improving your health.

Claims about becoming an influence ninja.

All delivered, of course, in less than 24 hours.

All you need is a quick read of the NLP Wikipedia page to see the lashing the NLP community has gotten from psychologists and other social scientists.

(I'll tell you, I'm thrilled by this. Couldn't be happier. The more NLP gets dissed, the more it leaves the limelight of the mass market. This means that those who follow superficial pop psychology trends go elsewhere, leaving the field to those interested in depth.)

The only reason for this lashing, though, is because of a fundamental misunderstanding about what NLP is and what it should be used to do.

People who believe the Wikipedia entry end up thinking NLP is a self-help or therapeutic framework or approach — and they'd be dead-wrong to believe it.

NLP is a modeling methodology and notation used to codify cognitive and behavioral processes.

NLP is to human behavior as music theory and notation is to performed music.


NLP is simply a tool to capture cognitive behavior on paper, just as literacy and the alphabet are tools to capture speech on paper.

When someone says: "NLP is BS/a pseudoscience." I hear: "Literacy is BS/a pseudoscience" or "Musical notation is BS."

Before they understand this, NLP students are swimming in yogurt, mired in all sorts of therapy and hypnosis concepts, notions and protocols. After they get it, they're ready to leave the confusion behind and tap into the real power NLP has to offer.

Phobia cures, compulsion blowouts, timeline therapy, yada yada yada are all useful tools... but that's not where the real horsepower lies.

The power lies in modeling the cognitive and behavioral patterns of outstanding performers, adopting these patterns in your own behavior, and then being able to transfer them to others.

This last part is particularly important if you're a coach of sorts, because NLP offers you a toolkit for leveling up your clients.

Not therapeutically (although it may feel like therapy at times), not magically (although it may feel like magic at times), not religiously (although it may feel like you touch the core of existence at times), but through the systematic and rigorous application of an explicit algorithm designed to elicit, extract and then enstall performance.

The triple "E" of NLP.

(Yeah, I know the correct spelling is "i"nstall, spud... Let's not take ourselves too seriously, shall we?)

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