The 19 Golden “Keys” To Understanding NLP

At first we need to understand The Fundamental Principles of NLP. These are some of the central principles, or working hypotheses, or presuppositions, which underlie NLP and which form an essential part of the ‘NLP attitude’.

The Fundamental Principles of NLP

• Meet people in their own unique model of the world – and respect their world view

• The meaning of your communication is the response you get

• The map is not the territory – people interact with their internal maps of the world rather than with pure, sensory-based, input.

• Positive self worth is always held constant. People are not their behaviors – behind every behavior there is/was a positive intention. In any situation a person makes the best choice with the resources currently available to them

• In any interaction the person with the greatest behavioral flexibility has most influence on the outcome

• All human behavior has a structure and results from how a person uses their representational systems

• NLP is a generative rather than a repair model – it emphasizes solutions rather than analysis of causes

• People have all the resources they need even if they do not currently have access to these resources

• NLP is a model rather then a theory

• Mind and body are part of the one system: external behavior is the result of internal behavior

• Conscious mind capacity is very limited – supposedly to about 5-9 chunks of information

• Always add choices – never take them away

• There is a solution to every problem

• Redefine mistakes as feedback – so if what you are doing is not working do something else.

• If one human can do something then, potentially, anyone can.

These are the principles on which, ideally, your application of NLP rests.

However they are not idealistic nor are they unrealistic. The principles, also called presuppositions, have been around since the early days of NLP and are a guide on how best to use NLP. In particular, some of the principles are excellent guidelines on how best to use NLP with other people.

NLP is a very powerful technology and, if you do not apply these guidelines, can quite easily be used to the detriment of others.

The Presuppositions of NLP

1. The ability to change the process by which we experience reality is more often valuable than changing the content of our experience of reality.

2. The meaning of the communication is the response you get.

3. All distinctions human beings are able to make concerning our environment and our behavior can be usefully represented through the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory senses.

4. The resources an individual needs in order to effect a change are already within them.

5. The map is not the territory.

6. The positive worth of the individual is held constant, while the value and appropriateness of internal and/or external behavior is questioned.

7. There is a positive intention motivating every behavior, and a context in which every behavior has value.

8. Feedback vs. Failure – All results and behaviors are achievements, whether they are desired outcomes for a given task/context or not.

The 19 Golden “Keys” To Understanding NLP

1. “The map is not the territory” or “The menu is not the meal”

What we see. hear, and feel is not reality, but our brain’s interpretation of it. Right now there are thousands of radio waves flowing through the air around you. When you turn on your radio, you hear only one wavelength- that one station. Your radio doesn’t play all the stations simultaneously it would be too confusing.

Also, your radio isn’t set up to receive microwaves or any of the millions of other wavelengths available. Humans are very similar. We have five basic instruments to pick up wavelengths. These instruments (the five senses- human antennae) take in information which is then interpreted by our nervous system (similar to radio circuitry), which then assembles the information in a way we can comprehend it.

Everything you think you see hear or feel is created by your brain in response to real external stimuli. Reality out there does exist. We just never get to experience it first hand.

So our brain creates a virtual reality for us- a map. Just like a map of your town. The map is not the town. But. if you want to get to the comer store and the map tells you how to get there- it’s useful.

2. People respond according to their “maps”

The human mind has a very special capability. It can give meaning to things. As we grow up in the world we experience things and give meaning to them. Michael Jordan gave a different meaning to getting kicked off his high school basketball team than other people in a similar situation did.

So, not only does our mind body system make it’s own interpretation of what’s really out there, but then we interpret it again by creating our own individual meanings for things. From these interpreted meanings we create our own maps.

We move through the world and respond using these maps we create based on the meanings we nave given to various experiences. Michael Jordan’s map didn’t label getting kicked off the basketball team as ‘failure’ he mapped a different meaning to it. Look where he is today.

3. Meaning operates context dependently

If I call my girlfriend “sweetheart” and then call a waitress I don’t know “sweetheart” I am saying the same thing. Yet, I may get a completely different reaction from each person.
No word or behavior is an island. Everything we do or say occurs within some context. The meaning we give to what people say and do is altered by the context.

4. Mind/Body inevitably affect each other

If I cut you with a knife your mind knows about it. If I say certain things to you, I can make you feel bad. Well where exactly do you “FEEL bad’? In your body of course. MINDBODY acts a whole.

Korzybski talks in depth about how language maps our reality and that separating things that really shouldn’t be separated by using two different words has a major impact on how we respond and function in the world. It’s really MINDBODY. Just like Einstein’s SPACETIME.

5. Individual skills function by developing and sequencing rep systems

We have five senses or antennae by which our brain receives “human radio waves’. Once our brain converts those waves into something it can work with, we start sorting the information in our mind to give it structure.

Everything we do has a sequence to it. Before you decide to buy something you may picture yourself using the widget, then you may say to yourself “this widget would be really cool when I go widgeting’, then you may feel a good feeling about the widget and you buy it.

This would be called a buying strategy and it consists of the 3 major representational systems- SEEING. HEARING AND FEELING or VISUAL (V), AUDITORY (A). AND KINESTHETIC (K).

Most of the time we use these 3 antennae more often than the two others. The way we sequence these in our mind enables us to exhibit certain skills.  Certain sequences work better than others. If your phone number is (876) 716-5512 and I dial (678) 551-2617, I’m not going to get you on the phone. It’s the same numbers, but the sequencing gives dramatically different results.

Richard Bandler uses a very funny example of this (paraphrased): “There’s all these books out there and they all have the same 26 letters. $15 or $20 and all I get are the same 26 letters over and over. I’m getting ripped off!’ Sequencing the letters the right way creates the right words and sequencing the right words creates a masterpiece.

We do the same at a very unconscious level with the VAK (Visual, Auditory. Kinesthetic.) The way we string together the representations of each sense in our mind will create very specific results. The spelling strategy of NLP was created from this presupposition.

6. Respect each person’s model of the world

Now that you know that we operate in a virtual reality of our own creation, you can respect that every other person on the planet is doing the same. The difference is you now know you are working through a map. Most people think everything they think and feel is REAL and it is for them. Respect that.

Rapport is created when you can step into that person’s model of the world (even if you don’t want to stay there). Leading is when you gently expand their map of the world.
NLP is all about more choices.

So respect someone else’s model of the world and if you want to change it always make sure you are installing a map that allows greater flexibility. Much of NLP is based on systems theory, which basically says that the system with the most flexibility and options wins.

7. Person and Behavior describe different phenomena

When you were 3 years old maybe you sucked your thumb. Does that make you a thumb sucker today? You are more than the behaviors you produce and have the ability to change them at any time. What you DO and what you ARE are two different things.

8. Every behavior has utility and usefulness in some context

All behavior functions from positive intentions. This presupposition separates behaviors from the person. A person may start shaking with fear and sweating when they need to make a presentation. That fear may be appropriate just not in that situation.

Maybe if a person held him up at gunpoint it would be natural to have fear. Fear is good in a certain context.

9. We cannot NOT communicate

Even if we don’t say a word, our internal thought processes effect our body in such a way that our message gets out. (See presupposition #4)

10. The way we communicate affects perception and reception

How many ways can you say “You’re the best”? Try it. Use different tonalities, voice tempos, tones, etc. Change the way you stand, the focus of your eyes, and your posture. Experiment with a few friends and try to come up with 20 ways to say it over the next week. The words are the same, but the way you communicate them can make a radical difference.

11. The meaning of your communication lies in the response you get

This is one of the driving presuppositions in NLP. It forces you to take full responsibility for RESULTS in your communication. If you get a response you don’t like- then you need to change something in your communication. Again, everyone is functioning through HIS OR HER model of the world.

If you communicate to everyone using your model only, you will not get the response you want. NLP is all about results- if one thing doesn’t work, TRY SOMETHING ELSE. You aren’t just communicating to hear yourself, are you? You communicate because you are looking for a response from another person.

Keep shifting and changing the way you communicate until you get the response you want. This is the basis of all sales and dealing with sales objections.

12. The one who sets the frame for the communication controls the communicating

We can consciously take in 7 +/- 2 bits of information at a time. Frames are the magnifying glasses that magnify the specific 7 +/- 2 bits of information our other than conscious mind will choose to have our conscious mind concentrate on.

When you use a camera, you don’t take a picture of everything around you. The lens ‘frames” the specific scene you want to focus on. Whoever sets this frame in any communication will control that particular communication.
‘The sun has a beautiful red color to it as it’s setting tonight, (frame) Let’s take a walk on the beach”.

“It’s going to be too dark when we get there (new frame- Dark is not good)”
Seductive voice ‘Well that will be nice. That way no one can see what I’m going to do to you once we get there” (reframe- Dark is good).

13. There is no failure, only feedback

There can only be failure if you put a time limit on something. Until you die, you can continually alter your behavior until you get the results you want.

14. The person with the most flexibility exercises the most influence in the system

The Law of Requisite Variety: In any system, the one with the most flexibility will exercise more choices and therefore more influence in the system. Make sure your model is big enough to allow a wide variety of behaviors. Again, simply, keep trying new things until you get the results you want. The wrestler with the most holds wins!

15. Resistance indicates lack of rapport

With the proper amount of rapport you can convince someone to do almost anything. You can literally change the way they map their entire world. If you are getting resistance on any level (verbal or non verbal- i.e. keep your eyes open) you need to step back into their map of the world for a minute and regain rapport. Remember presupposition #11!

16. People have all the internal resources they need to succeed

We all pretty much have the same set of antennae and the same nervous system to interpret signals. We have everything we need to deal effectively in the worid. Sometimes we just need other people to bring it out of us.

17. Humans have the ability to experience one trial teaming

This presupposition takes the Pavtovian thing to new heights. Humans can associate anything with anything and do it instantly if the state of mind at the time is intense enough. That’s how phobias are formed.

I was watching on a talk show about a boy who had an intense fear of downs. The boy was about 17 years old and he looked and talked like a pretty tough kid. When the host mentioned bringing a down in, the 17 year old rolled up on the floor in a fetus position and started crying hysterically.

A psychologist came on and asked the boy how this happened. The boy said that when he was 4 years old he was watching a movie about a killer down on Halloween. His aunt just happened to have dressed up as a down that looked very similar and during one of the intense parts of the movie the aunt, in her clown costume came up behind the boy. When he turned around, there was the down in the movie-in real life.

Now, intellectually, now that he’s 17 he realizes that his aunt wasn’t the clown in the movie. But, humans are one-time learners and his nervous system learned in that one intense moment to associate massive fear to downs.



18. People make the best choices open to them when they act

If I have a map of Florida (my home state) published in 1917 and I use it to get around, it’s probably not going to be very helpful. If my computer is an Apple II plus from 1982, I’m not going to be able to do as much as I can if I had a Pentium III 500 MHz.

In either case though, that may be the best I have at the time. Everyone makes the best choices they can from their current map or model of the world.

19. All communication should increase choice

Always increase the amount of choices someone has with your communication. See presupposition #14.

These 19 presuppositions are the framework or Greenhouse, as I like to call it, from which NLP blooms. If you don’t understand the 19 presuppositions, you really don’t understand NLP. They are the basis for the Attitude, which generates the methodology, which in turn leaves the trail of techniques. With just these presuppositions and the right attitude you can do better than the thousands of people out there that think they know what NLP is.

NLP is a major therapeutic tool and instrument for personal effectiveness and excellence.

NLP therapy is witnessing immense popularity with applications galore Richard Bandler and John Grinder created neuro linguistic programming (NLP). They studied and modeled people like Milton Erickson (hypnotist), Fritz Peris (gestalt therapist) and Virginia Satir (family therapist), took the most effective patterns from each and created a practical, replicable system to get consistent results.

They also borrowed heavily from Alfred Korzvbski, The author of Science and Sanity. In fact, Korzybski spoke about ‘neuro linguistic’ effects almost 40 years before Bandler and Grinder came on the scene. NLP was a major shift in therapy. Earlier, psychologists were interested in the question ‘why’ something happens and spent a lot of time revealing the cause.

NLP directly went into ‘how’ this problem could change just now. NLP practitioners claimed that they could change a phobia in half-an-hour and they did it! NLP then grew as a major therapeutic tool and as an instrument for personal effectiveness.

Initially, most therapists used NLP (since that’s where the model originally came from), but now its applications have extended into almost every area of life (sales, business, negotiations, modeling). So over the years NLP grew as an industry and in the recent past there have been many offshoots.

The issue of who owns NLP came up recently since many people had contributed to the development of the science. Richard Bandler now asks his participants to sign a contract that says he is the author of the trademark NLP. Now there are all kinds of training programs and trainers in the name of NLP and some of them can make you an NLP trainer pretty fast.

Ideally a practitioner level training is of seven to 10 days duration and master level around 15 to 20 days. To be a trainer one selects a topic within NLP and pursues that deeply.

Sourse:  Cheat Sheet by NLP Practitioner Certification Programme

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