I owe the following knowledge to all my NLP mentors, especially my senior monks in the temple and my Life Coach trainer ‘Steve G Jones’ I have used NLP for a number of years, and still feel I am in practice. This is an amazing tool that can make yours and others lives a gift, I have treated many clients from negative life threatening/changing experiences into positive realisations, where they have then gone on to pick up their lives and make their dreams come true.
“We can all achieve our dreams, no matter how big they are… the only thing that stops us is our thinking of not being able to achieve them!”
Neuro refers to thinking patterns, Linguistic refers to use of language, and Programming refers to the way you use your patterns or habits to run your life. NLP examines the interaction of thought, language and behaviour.
There are three modes of thought;
- Kinaesthetic or Feeling.
The way you move your eyes reveals much about your thinking. You can change your reaction to memories by changing the way you think about them, i.e. fearful memory can become far less scary so you’re not living that nightmare every time you think about that memory.
You can improve the effectiveness of your communications by recognizing and matching the ‘mental filters’ that others use. Body language can be controlled but not particular movements of your eyes or various natural responses your body makes which are tell tale signs.
NLP can help enrich communication that uses sensory language which appeals to peoples hearts and minds, being precise in your communication can eliminate many relationship and business problems.
NLP also uses ‘modeling’ which allows you to adopt the thinking and behaviour of successful people to make yourself equally successful.
“For over 30 years, Anthony Robbins has dedicated his life to modeling the most successful people in the world. Through access to their experience, he has discovered and simplified the core distinctions and strategies that can be applied immediately to measurably improve the quality of your life.” www.tonyrobbins.com
What is NLP
Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) examines how thought, language and behaviour function together. The goal of NLP is to better understand how language and behaviour reflect thinking patterns, in order to identify conscious and unconscious thought patterns that produce positive results.
- Neuro refers to thinking patterns. If you can become more aware of the patterns that shape your own thinking, you can learn how they influence your life and use that knowledge to better tap your own inner resources.
- Linguistic refers to the use of language. NLP helps you recognize and master the structure of language in order to communicate more effectively and better understand what others are saying.
- Programming refers to the strategies that we use to run our lives, much like a computer uses a program to achieve a specific result. When you understand the strategies that you use, you can make conscious decisions to change, end or continue them based on the results that you seek.
Become aware of your thinking patterns
As you become aware of your own thinking patterns, you gain the ability to shape your own destiny. Your thoughts send signals to the world about what you want, what you believe and who you are. Since the world responds to those signals, the best way to influence the outside world is to change your inner signals, which is the ultimate goal of NLP. NLP also will help you to better understand the thinking styles of other people (as you learn about yourself), particularly people from different cultures.
There are three modes of thinking, which people use in various combinations:
- Visual — you think in pictures, representing ideas, memory and imagination as mental images.
- Auditory — you think in sounds, such as voices or noises.
- Kinaesthetic (or feelings) — you represent thoughts as feelings, either through your internal emotions or thoughts about a physical touch, or in some cases, tastes and smells.
How you think
Your eyes reflect how you think. If you look upward as you think about something (i.e. spelling of a word), you might be trying to see an image (of the word) in your mind’s eye. If you look to the side, you might be trying to imagine (how the word sounds).
Your thoughts are powerful, when you think about something; your mind doesn’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. For instance, if you actually see or think of a tasty apple, your mind will trigger the flow of saliva, as you imagine how good the apple is.
Changing bad memories
You can change your memories by changing the way that you think about them. If you do this consciously, you can make yourself feel better about a negative experience or enhance a positive memory. For instance, you can experiment with visual, auditory and feeling distinctions as you think about something, such as making the voices you recall softer or louder or adding an image of humour, so you can turn an unpleasant memory into a positive or amusing one.
Recognizing filters (mirroring)
Recognizing filters can help you distinguish how you and others view the world. This recognition can help you create rapport with others by taking into consideration the filters they are using. When two people have good rapport in a conversation, they are usually using the same filters. When people use different filters, misunderstandings and conflict often result. Accordingly, if you can use similar language patterns to your partner, you can increase the level of trust and influence.
Another powerful NLP technique i s distinguishing between an associated and disassociated state. In an associated state, you are aware of yourself through all your senses, and you seek even greater awareness to enhance an experience in the moment.
Alternatively, in a dissociated state you detach yourself from your senses to distance yourself from an unpleasant situation. Some other foundational NLP techniques for changing your thinking include:
- Mentally moving towards thinking about what you want and away from thinking about what you don’t want;
- Recognizing whether you and the person with whom you are interacting are more likely to engage in match or mismatch thinking;
- Noticing whether you and others are more likely to use ‘big-chunk’ or ‘small-chunk’ thinking, or whether you tend to see the big picture or look for the details.
- Distinguishing between people who are more externally or internally referenced, depending upon where they look for fulfilment — outside themselves (external) or within (internal).
Your eyes are the windows to your soul – well…your thinking anyway!
When I was in the police, I used to use this every time, and it NEVER failed me, I can recall one guy saying, “Your just like that guy in the Mentalist” at that time I had no idea what ‘The Mentalist’ was.
The way you think is reflected in your body movements and gestures and in your eye movements. Eye movement patterns reveal the following:
- You are remembering something visually when your eyes look up and to your left.
- You are constructing a new image when your eyes look up and to your right.
- You are not really focused on anything where your eyes are starting straight ahead.
- You are remembering sounds when your eyes look to your left side.
- You are creating a new sound when your eyes look to your right side.
- When your eyes look down and to your left, you are having a conversation with yourself or asking yourself mental questions.
- When you experience feelings, your eyes look down and to your right.
It is almost impossible to lie with your gestures therefore, pay attention to everything someone may be using to communicate when he or she speak, from the tone, volume and pitch of their voice, to their movements and gestures. This information can help you recognise the signals their body is giving you.
For instance, these gestures mixed with body language can tell you when a person is losing interest in what you’re saying, it can reveal the level of agreement you have reached, and it can indicate whether you really have good rapport with someone, or if they are just being polite. Besides picking up signals from someone else, you can use your gestures and body language to help you better achieve rapport with someone by matching theirs i.e., slow down your conversation if need be to speak slowly and position yourself so you are seated in a similar way, it’s all about mirroring the other.
Linguistics can help you achieve powerful and clear communications through a deeper understanding of language and how it works. You can improve your communications with the following linguistic tools:
- Enriched (heart & mind) communication: Sensory language that engages the heart as well as the mind. The richer your language, the richer your own internal experience and that of others. The most powerful communicators, from preachers to politicians, use language that is steeped in imagery that appeals to the visual, auditory, touch and other senses. In many ways, it is the opposite of the abstract, cold, unfeeling language that a bureaucrat might use. Tailor your conversation to the thinking style of the other person. For example, use more visual images when a person uses phrases like “I get the picture,” or “I see what you mean,” which suggest a visual thinking style.
- Precision communication: Clarity through detail. People often use lazy language, in which they delete, distort and generalize information in such a way that becomes disconnected from its deeper meaning. As a result, language is frequently imprecise, a situation that is at the heart of many business communication problems. For instance, people use the word “they” to identify a source of problems. Pin people down by asking precision questions: “Who are they?”
- Hypnotic language: Vague language that allows a communicator to make statements that sound specific enough to satisfy a listener. For instance, therapists have used such language to trigger an altered state of consciousness and overcome a person’s conscious resistance. Common people use this in everyday speech, as demonstrated by politicians who talk in comforting generalities. Be on your guard, lest someone uses the technique on you. Alternatively, learn to use such language skilfully yourself to give a listener the space to create his own meanings.
- Metaphors: Symbols that reflect what your unconscious mind is saying. They also reflect common ways of expressing meanings through references to other experiences. They may be single words, expressions, or stories that express an idea. An example is when you think of seeking success in business as “a battle” or when you tell a story to make a point. By listening to the metaphors in your life, you can better draw on the power of your unconscious mind.
- Metamessages: Information that is communicated but not spoken. Often this information is transmitted to others through your behaviour. Because you might not be aware of your metamessages, people might perceive something much different than the message that you intended to communicate. Alternatively, your perception of what someone else wants can be wrong. Thus, to get the right message across, know what message each part of your communication is giving, along with the sum total of these parts. Among the factors that contribute to the total message are the environment, the way you dress, the way you behave towards others, and how you demonstrate skills to others.
With this understanding of the elements of NLP, you can now apply them through programming. A key element of this approach is using modeling, which is the process of coding talent, through which you step into someone else’s shoes to reproduce what they do and the results that they obtain. In other words, you seek to reproduce their sequence of thinking, language and behaviour, and you might temporarily take on their identity and beliefs to do so. This process enables you to reproduce the excellence of a successful salesperson, manager or presenter. Many top performers may be unaware of the mental and physical programs they are running. Often these programs are specific to an industry, client, place or occasion. You can identify the elements of a program that are valuable to you, and you can further modify and enhance these elements to achieve an even higher skill level.
Likewise, you can become more aware of your own living strategies and modify or enhance them. By becoming aware of the patterns or habits that affect you, you can choose the ones you want to use and discard the others. In NLP terms, your patterns and habits are called strategies — sequences of thoughts and behaviours based on a set of beliefs and a sense of self. As you become aware of what you are doing, by paying attention to your thoughts, gestures, speech patterns and other factors, you can change your thoughts and actions to achieve even greater success in your work and in your life.