How to Model Success
Note: This is the third part of a series
of pages on NLP.
Another important NLP method is that of is modeling success.
Basically, you find someone who is succeeding at something which
you want to succeed at, and then you "model" them.
This doesn't mean taking their advice, since they actually may
not know why they succeed. Bandler and Grinder said, "What
we essentially do is pay very little attention to what people
say they do, and a great deal of attention to what they do."
This means what they do physically, as well as what they are
doing in their minds. For example, when I have a computer problem,
I am likely to put my hand to my forehead, and say "Here
we go again" in my mind. I then think of the things I hate
about computers. Of course, this can be a very disempowering
approach to the problem.
My wife, on the other hand, will stop for a second, and think
or say "Hmm... that's interesting. I wonder how I can make
this work?" She'll also assume there is a solution, and
that she'll find it. Naturally, she is more successful than me
at dealing with computers. She has more knowledge, but that isn't
as important as her approach.
Now if I want to be more successful with my computer or with
problem-solving in general, I need to model her. This may include
even sitting like she sits, adopting her facial expressions,
and using the same words and thoughts she uses. The point of
NLP is to do what works, without spending too much time worrying
about why, or worrying about what elements fit into some theory
of success. You just copy success as closely as you can.
I can tell you from experience that modeling works. I may
never be as knowledgeable as my wife when it comes to computers,
but just saying "Hmm... that's interesting. I wonder how
I can solve this?" really helps. In fact, when I assume
I'll quickly find a solution, and even pretend to be her, I am
Don't Listen to Success - Model It
Don't do as they say, but rather do as they do. That is the
way to learn success from the successful. A wealthy real estate
investor once told me he didn't believe in setting goals. Only
later in the conversation did I realize that he knew just where
he expected to be with his projects in six months. That's goal-setting,
but he just called the process something else.
Don't stop listening to what successful people have to say,
but read between the lines. Look at their words for insight into
how they think about things, how they approach their challenges.
A successful basketball player might only advise you to practice
more, but if he mentions "I saw that going in," after
a great shot, follow his lead and start visualizing your shots
Copy Everything at First
Sometimes we won't know what's causing a person's success.
For example, when starting out on the internet, I tried to exchange
links with other web sites, but the owners didn't respond to
my e-mails. Then I found a letter used by a successful internet
marketer to get links from other web site owners. The truth is,
his letter sounded silly to me, and I really wanted to change
it, but I copied it and used it as it was, and it worked.
At first, it may be best to just copy many of the actions,
attitudes and approaches of someone who is succeeding. As you
learn, you can drop those parts that aren't contributing, and
add elements of your own. If you have children, for example,
model a successful parent, and if that works don't worry if you
don't know right away which changes were most helpful, or why.
You may not ever understand why some things work, but you
don't need to, do you? It is better to have success than to explain
it. So do what they do, not what they say.
Coming soon: Our next installment in the
NLP series will look at motivational styles and how to use yours.