So About That NLP Stuff

Other than trying to define NLP, or mentioning it in a post or two, I haven’t really talked much about it, much less what drew me to it in the first place. And one of these days I’ll have to share the story of If you’re curious, here’s how I ended up getting trained in NLP, my motivations might surprise you.

Why do I care?

Recently, in an online community I’m part of, someone asked about NLP, and wanted to know what others thought about it. As a few people responded, I was reminded that first of all, not everyone is familiar with it, and if they are, they’re just as likely to have negative feelings about it as positive ones.

So I wanted to share a little bit about what I think is the coolest part of NLP – the mindset or tenets or beliefs that are behind it.

In NLP they’re called Presuppositions.

Which forces me to issue the disclaimer that NLP has about the worst names for things EVER. You want some jargon? NLP has it in spades. Anyway. Back to the Presuppositions.

The Philosophy

Here is a list of the basic Presuppositions of NLP as I learned them. Incidentally, when you google “Presuppositions of NLP” you’ll get a huge variety of lists, most contain these, or some version of them, and lots have extras added in too. This is a good place to start. Over time, I’ll be going deeper with these, explaining them, giving examples, sharing why they matter.

Here’s the list, with the specific posts linked:

  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 not 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.

Add to those the Presuppositions of Humanistic Neuro-Linguistic Psychology (which brings more heart and science into NLP), developed by the people I did my training with, John Overdurf and Julie Silverthorn:

  1. No matter what you think you are, you’re always more than that.
  2. Reality is a construction.
  3. Reality and meaning are created through relationships.
  4. Living is learning.
  5. Perceptions are learned. Memory is an active, synthetic process.
  6. Everything and everyone is interconnected.

Imagine what your life would be like if you believed all of these things to be true.


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