Welcome to the 100th episode of the Super Smart Guy Podcast! Today I am kicking off a mini-series of episodes on the art of NLP. Some may be skeptical about what NLP is and what it can do, others are totally sold on the amazing powers of the human language and brain. Wherever you stand, I guarantee you will learn something from this odyssey. I am starting an NLP Mastermind group and these podcasts and blog posts will be used for training purposes. Also I pull together a lot of sources of information, not all are exclusively NLP based. Imagine it like a fusion bistro, but food for thought.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, USA in the 1970s. (Wikipedia) Bandler has a Masters degree in Psychology. Grinder worked with the US intelligence agency and has a Ph.D in linguistics. Both studied theory and techniques from great psychology and psychiatry contemporaries. Some of these are Fritz Perls, Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and others.
Neuro – neurology, how we think and feel.
Linguistic – human language and how we use it.
Programming – methodologies and strategies used to perform a task. Similar to a computer program, the neuro-linguistic program is the kind that uses thoughts and ideas to communicate and interpret language and events.
I feel that NLP is most effective if used as a form of cognitive therapy and leadership/influence. NLP can also be used as a form of hypno-therapy or speaking to the subconscious. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is hypnosis although there is a branch of it that is used as such. What I like to think of NLP being used for in this way is for regular people to communicate more effectively with their (and others) subconscious. There are some who have taken techniques into the realm of mentalism (and entertainment) such as Derren Brown.
The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits. This is similar to the Machiavellian method of the ends justify the means in the sense that your intentions are not guaranteed in the end result. You can say something meaning one thing, and your audience can interpret as meaning something totally different. What matters here, what you meant or what the audience perceives? From your perspective what matters is the result, the audience perception. Since you can’t change your audience, but you can change yourself, NLP teaches methods that will help with your perception and communication. Maybe to god your intentions matter, but in the here and now what matters is your effectiveness.
The map is not the territory.
The map is your interpretation of reality. It is your representation of what you think reality is, held in your mind. Reality exists outside your mind so it must be downloaded into your mind via senses, perceptions, and interpretations.
The territory is reality. Reality can be the universe, world, city, your job, or anything you interact with.
Your model of reality is not perfect. It is subjected to filters which translate reality to a perception in your mind.
The body and the mind is systemic and connected. If you smile you will feel a little better. Likewise if you think of a happy thought you tend to smile.
Law of requisite variety – when independent variables change, the dependent ones do not. (causation vs. correlation)
Behavior is geared towards adaptation.
Every behavior has a positive intent.
People do the best they can given their choices.
Choice is better than no choice. Flexibility is a major way to get choice.
Context matters in the way people behave.
People don’t have a shortage of resources, they have a shortage of resourcefulness.
In the spirit of NLP being a positive thing, there is a saying: There is no failure, only feedback. NLP wants to encourage people to try to achieve great things. So rather than use the concept “failure”, instead we use the concept of an attempted action and a neutral feedback as a result. Undesired results (an unsuccessful business, investments that return negative results) can be seen as failures, but this doesn’t serve you well. The better approach is to remove the emotion, specifically negative emotion, and view the lessons learned as “feedback”.
There is a distinction between peoples behavior and the self.
The highest quality information you can have about someone is their present behavior.
NLP exists to model excellence. It’s purpose is to make people happy and more effective. It is used to improve peoples lives.
NLP practitioners believe in a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, anything is possible. What one person can do, anyone can do (within physical limitations). A 5 foot tall person may not be as good a basketball player as a 7 foot tall person could be, but both could be excellent doctors (whereas being a doctor has nothing to do with height).
The NLP Meta Model
As your mind takes in information from the territory (reality), it performs functions necessary to process all the data. There is too much information for your brain to take it all in, so it needs to use techniques to reduce the quantity of data it has to process. The brain is limited in how much data it can process. The data reduction techniques it uses are called filters. Three examples of filters are: deletion, distortion, generalization.
Deletion – your brain will delete irrelevant information pertaining to the program that it is currently running. When driving your brain may block out your passengers, the radio, or any other distraction to keeping your eyes on the road. If you get distracted (texting), the consequences could be dire (an accident). We have many programs we use to delete information.
Distortion – Our brains will distort what our senses take in, in order for the data to fit our understanding of what we should be seeing. There are many distortion filters, one example would be confirmation bias – how we modify facts to fit our ideas. A common example of this is politics and how 2 people of opposite partisanship can read the exact same news article but get completely different interpretations.
Biases are forms of distortion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
Biases can be influenced by culture, race, age, gender, education, people you associate with like friends, family, and coworkers, nationality, and any other sociology or information based paradigm.
Generalization – we generalize things in order to reduce how many items we need to remember. An example would be when you see a car on the road. A generalized category is car, but there are many types of cars, make and model. There are ages, conditions, modifications, colors, etc that a car can be. But that is too much information for us to remember, the make and model of every car we saw on our way to work. If one stands out, that guy cut me off, we can remember maybe the color or size of it. Generalizations help with communication and interpretation of the world. When someone tells you they drove a car, your generalized concept of a car pops into your head – seats, windows, engine, steering wheel/gas/brake. If they say refrigerator, you don’t think of a steering wheel, you think of temperature, doors, bins, etc.
Submodalities are a method for representational systems in the human mind. Think of how you experience the world, through your senses. These experiences, real and imagined, are representations that your mind remembers and uses for future recall and sometimes triggering of those memories. Here is a short list of how you can remember or imagine things:
Adjectives are what is used to communicate submodalities.
Metaprograms are mental programs that run our lives at an unconscious level of awareness. They are the keys to the way you process information. content-free programs we run which filter our experiences. Any reading is a snap shot of how a person was when you met them and it could change if the person experiences a significant emotion event
There are many (over 50) documented NLP Meta-Programs
extrovert/introvert – like to relax alone or be surrounded by people?
intuition/sensing – rely on your gut feeling or do you want all the data first?
Thinking/Feeling – do you base decisions on feelings or are you more logical?
Perceiving/Judging – Perceivers are more open while judgers need closure
toward and away from motivation
External or Internal Frame of Reference.
Sorting By Self or Others.
Matcher or Mismatcher.
Possibility vs. Necessity.
Independent, Cooperative and Proximity Working Styles.
Anchoring – connection between a stimulus and feeling/memory. Can also be called triggers.
Future Pacing – imagine you are doing something in the future.
Swish – disrupts a pattern of thought. Redirects a trigger to a feeling/reaction that servers the person better.
Reframing – changes your perception so it changes the meaning. Thinking of things from a different angle.
Well formed outcomes – clearly define and state your goal. Imagine achieving your goal.
Ecology – understand the consequences of your past or future actions. Think of the congruence of your goal.
Parts integration – Imagine differing parts of a philosophy coming together. Dissonance mitigated. Resolve internal conflict.
Sleight of mouth – Imagine how salesmen, politicians, poets, and storytellers can craft words to influence and enchant.
Metaphors – stories, allegories, and figures of speech. One of my favorites.
State management – manage your current emotional state. If you ever had a panic attack, talking yourself off the ledge. Say it’s going to be ok.