What is NLP?
The name Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) originated in California and was developed 1975 by two Americans: Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Their interest lay in how they could reproduce the excellence of people whose performance they admired.
They posed the question: “What makes the difference between someone who is competent at a skill and someone who is excellent?”
To answer the question they ‘modelled’ these individuals, i.e. they looked at their thought processes, how they represented and processed information and experiences.
They found that these individuals had highly effective strategies, chains of sensory-based thoughts which would consistently produce extraordinary decisions, insights, behaviours and results.
What does “Neuro” refer to?
Neuro refers to the thinking patterns that make up the mental aspect of our strategies.
We take information in, and hold it in our minds in visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (feeling) ways.
For example a part of a strategy to feel confident at the start of giving a presentation might be to see ourselves as in a movie, in full colour doing the presentation in the way that we would ideally like to do it. We might hear an encouraging internal voice urging us to do well. We might imagine the smooth feel of the table that is beside us as we stand and the steady confident feeling in our stomach as we begin to speak.
What does “Linguistic” refer to?
Linguistic refers to the way we use language both inwardly to ourselves (our inner dialogue) and the language we use in conversation with others.
With NLP we can become aware of the patterns in our own and others language and the effect of these patterns on both ourselves and others.
For example did you realise that if you ask someone ‘why not’ when they say they can’t do something, that you have influenced them to become even more resistant to the idea of doing it? A more effective question might be ‘What would happen if you did do this?’
What does “Programming” refer to?
The programmes that we run are our strategies for getting results in all areas of our life and work. Sometimes those results are what we want, whereas at other times they do not seem to meet any conscious need.
We are like computers in that we have mental and behavioural codes for running our lives. Sometimes that code works well and sometimes it has ‘bugs’ in it and instead of achieving the results we want we sabotage our seemingly desired success.
Sometimes we have the code but we use it inappropriately. For example you might be perceived as stubborn in the way that you hang on to a point of view when it would be better to let go.
What you could do would be to use that same structure to tenaciously hold onto your goals when faced with disappointment. Stubbornness can be tenacity when used appropriately.
NLP is a means of tapping into the wealth of resources that we all have within us. They support us in achieving what we really want.