About NLP: There is no failure, only feedback

In no particular order, it’s time to delve a little deeper into another one of the NLP Presuppositions.

This time it’s number 6

All outcomes are achievements, there is no failure, only feedback.

The idea of this NLP presupposition is that when you want to reach a certain goal or outcome, everything that happens is information that’s useful.

Labeling a particular effort or result a failure quickly becomes personal. It says something about you, you become the failure. On the other hand, recognizing the information as simply that, information keeps you out of it.

As Thomas Edison replied when told, isn’t it a shame all your hard work hasn’t created any results, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

That’s the benefit of learning from all the information your actions and efforts provide.

It can be a challenge

Not getting things right, can be discouraging. It’s easy to form opinions and judgements about what has happened. It’s in our nature. You can embody this presupposition more easily by staying in an observational mode, instead in a meaning-making or judgemental mode.

Failure indicates that you have chosen to end your attempts. To stop trying to achieve a particular outcome. That is simply a choice. It is not a comment on your personality or abilities!

The value of it

By seeing the information as just that, feedback, you retain possibility and choice. You can try something different, you can choose to move on, you can tweak what you’re doing.

Imagine how this changes things

What would your life be like if you embraced this presupposition? Consider a prior goal or project that you attempted and “failed” at. What happens when you consider the possibility that you actually learned valuable information about what didn’t work. How does that change your feelings about the situation?

What are you working on now, that you’re worried about failing at? What if you embraced the idea of feedback with this project? How would you proceed? What would you do with the new feedback you gain?


Learn more about NLP

Explore the other NLP Presuppositions:

  1. The map is not the territory.
  2. The meaning of your communication is the response you get.
  3. You have all the resources you need to achieve your desired outcomes.
  4. Every behavior is motivated by positive intention. People make the best choices they can with the resources they have available.
  5. You cannot not communicate. Effective communicators accept and utilize all communication presented to them.
  6. All outcomes are achievements, there is no failure, only feedback.
  7. The element in a system that has the most flexibility will be the catalyst of that system.
  8. Respect each person’s model of the world.

* I tried to find the accurate and original quote, allegedly from the New York Time. I wasn’t able to find it, but I did find this quote: “

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