What is NLP?
If you surf around the internet, you'll find many definitions of NLP, some more complex than others. The simplest definition of NLP is that it is "a study of how the brain works and the effect that communication (in all its forms) has on the individual or group".
NLP can be seen as a method of influencing behaviour (both externally and internally) through the use of language and other communication. This changes the way the brain responds to stimuli, leading to new and better choices of behaviour. In essence, you can change the way you think and respond. You can help others to change the way they think and respond too.
As the name suggests – NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming involves our neurology, language and our behavioural responses to external and / or internal stimuli. Logically, the name is derived as follows:-
From the nervous system through which our experiences are received and processed.
From language and non-verbal communication systems through which neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning.
The ability to organise our communication and neurological systems to achieve specific desired goals and results.
History of NLP
NLP was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder back in the 1970s, and was based largely on the "Modelling" work of Richard Bandler. Modelling is a way of duplicating behaviour. One should always choose to model excellence - life is too short to bother with anything less!
Richard found that by studying professionals who were excellent in their field (whether that be in business or therapy), he was able to understand and codify the structure of what they were doing in order to achieve the results they did.
Richard was able to do this in such a way that these techniques could then be taught to others, so that they too would be able to achieve the same results as the "masters".
The first people that Richard studied were therapists, Fritz Perls (co founder of Gestalt Therapy), Virginia Satir (one of America's foremost family therapists) and Milton Erickson (possibly the greatest hypnotherapist of the 20th century). Click here to learn more about hypnosis.
Many more people who excel in their field have been modelled, from business leaders to shaman and mystics, NLP is not static, it is being continuously developed and refined by Richard, and good practitioners alike.
So, what is NLP? NLP can be distilled down into 2 parts, the first being a set of skills and the second, the application of these skills.
Want to know more? Come to our NLP for All workshops, click here.
Here is a more detailed explanation and practical demonstration of NLP.
Key to our understanding of the world around us is the use of our 5 senses (the visual, auditory, Kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory sensory “modalities”). We receive this external information and run it through these sensory filters, process it internally (deleting, distorting and generalising it) to create our “map” (or internal representation) of the world around us and give it meaning.
Once external and / or internal information has been processed, this will influence our course of action or inaction (feedback – verbal or non-verbal behaviour) to achieve our goals and results.
This graphic helps to illustrates this.
As an example – if we walk into a supermarket in the morning and we smell (olfactory sense) the freshly baked bread, this may make us feel (kinaesthetic) hungry, we may even say to ourselves (self-talk or auditory digital) “Mmmm… that smells good!”. When we catch sight of it (visual), this may heighten our desire (kinaesthetic) for it and place a pain rustic into our basket to enjoy later.
Supermarkets understand this principle and utilise it, sometimes even pumping the smell of the bakery towards the ventilation system at the front door (ever wondered why you keep buying those fresh croissants or “artisan” bread?).
Of course, if we are on a diet or wanting to lose weight, this is not a great behaviour to achieve your goal. So, working with a client we may have them tune into the feeling of hunger and change its meaning to “great, I feel hungry, that must mean I’m beginning to lose weight”. In addition, if they picture themselves at their ideal shape and weight, they will undoubtedly have more choices in their behaviours and be well on the way to achieving their goals.
Having a clear understanding of how we react to external and internal stimuli is what NLP is all about. Being able to learn and utilise this information both for ourselves and for those wish to help / influence makes learning NLP one of the most important skills available today.
If you'd like to learn more about the work of Richard Bandler or John La Valle (President of The Society of Neuro-Linuistic Programming) then please click on their names and follow the links, Richard's contribution to the world we live in cannot be under estimated. The technology of NLP is around us everywhere, from the advertising we see on the television, to the music played in your favourite clothes store (did you ever wonder why you liked that store so much?).
Now is the time to "seize the day", take control of your life and reach your full potential by undertaking an NLP course, click here for more details.