Neuro-linguistic programming is not as popular as it used
to be, but that doesn't mean it has been invalidated. It's still
worth looking at if you want to change your thinking and your
life. The following is my own understanding of NLP, and an attempt
to condense its most valuable insights and techniques into a
few dozen paragraphs. Since using even one of these techniques
can change things for you dramatically, I think this is a worthwhile
Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed NLP into a usable
science of self-improvement. They noted that in traditional psychotherapy,
when something doesn't work, the therapist considers it to be
a problem of a "resistant client." Bandler and Grinder
approached their work differently, saying, "If what you
do doesn't work, do something else."
They often started their seminars by telling the audience
that everything they would say would be a lie, and that other
teachers believed their own lies, not realizing they were invented
explanations. The difference with Bandler and Grinder was that
they understood that words are a feeble and shifting attempt
to understand things. The other difference, they claimed, is
that "Most of our lies will work out really well if you
act as if they are true."
Many thousands of people will attest to the truth of this
claim. So what did they do? How do people use NLP to change their
Try This NLP Technique
Let's start with a simple demonstration of an NLP technique.
Choose a bad memory, a real event from your past that still hurts
you when you think about it. In your mind watch the event like
you are watching a movie, to be sure it still affects you.
Now watch it again, but take the most painful moment and make
a still photo of it in your mind. Take away the color, and put
it in a frame. Imagine the frame in detail. It can be wooden,
plastic--whatever you want. Imagine taking your framed black
and white photo and hanging it in a dark corner of some room
in your house. See it there from the other side of the room.
Repeat this exercise several times, and then test the results.
Recall the bad event again. For most people who try this, the
memory will have lost its emotional power. It will no longer
hurt to recall that moment. If it doesn't work, try the exercise
again, and then try anything else in the NLP "arsenal."
Always remember, "If what you do doesn't work, do something
What Is NLP?
"Neuro" has to do with the brain of course, and
"linguistic" refers to things having to do with language.
Neuro-linguistic programming is about changing the brain by speaking
its language. For example, for most people, a memory is more
vivid and emotionally strong when it is close to them in their
imagination. Recognizing this "coding" or language
of the mind, you can do something as simple as imagining a scene
to be farther away from you, and this will diminish the emotion.
Bring it closer if it is a positive memory, and you'll feel the
positive emotions more strongly.
NLP identifies the important ways in which information is
encoded in your brain, and teaches you to use that knowledge
to program yourself how you want. It also recognizes that there
are differences in the ways different individuals function mentally.
For example, some of us are more visually oriented, and some
of us put more emphasis on what we hear. It even shows in our
language. People who continually say, "I see," are
processing things differently than those who more often use "I
hear what you're saying." This has to be taken into account
whether you want to influence others or your own mind.
The way we use our words, the words themselves, and even body
posture affects our experience of life, and therefore our success
in life. To see (or feel or hear) the truth in this, slouch,
let your mouth hang open, stare at the floor, and say "everything
is messed up." Then sit up straight, close your mouth, take
a deep breath through your nose, look slightly upwards and say
"What a great day!" If you do this exercise, you'll
notice the difference in how you feel during the first part versus
the second. You are using the language of the brain to change
Two looks at sub-modalities.