is the science of expressing what works best. It is individually tailored, and it recognizes what’s possible is limited only by the imagination.
We wanted to write something about the neurology of love, given that it’s Valentine’s day, but a couple of people were asking us to define what is NLP. So we’ll start there ..
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NLP is short for Neurolinguistic Programing. Unfortunately that might still have you wondering! Five Changes sometimes defines NLP as Now Live on Purpose, which may explain a little more ..
NLP is a system that was co-created in the early 1970’s. A linguist and a computer programmer put their heads together to learn how certain individuals, in the fields of psychotherapy, hypnosis and cybernetics, achieved the extraordinary results they were getting with their clients. The guiding question was whether those results could be replicated.
NLP began as a science of modelling what worked best, and then applying or adapting it to different arenas. Is it possible to re purpose your best attitudes, performance, and skills from one area of your life, and use them to help you in other areas? Is it possible to take what really works well for one person and learn what it is they do so that you can learn the same skills yourself?
The answer is yes. NLP is a science allows you to take something that works rea
lly well in one area of your life, and bring elements of it across to another area of your life. For example, the shy athlete can learn to bring the confidence she might feel on the playing field into the boardroom or onto the stage. You could take the wonder, curiosity, and excitement that you feel in your most inspired moments and bring it to an area of your life where you are challenged. Most importantly it teaches you to do so precisely and reliably and for the greatest positive long-term effect. In addition it reinforces the understanding implicit in this work that change really is possible, and that often means change that goes way beyond what was previously anticipated. We’re talking about the achievement of excellence in any area you like: professionally, personally, romantically, creatively. Human beings, that means you and me, have the capacity to lead extraordinary lives!
For example, in the area of therapy, NLP can work to help someone overcome a phobia, by using some of the innate skills that already exist in their imagination. In the days of behavioral therapy it might take months to help someone overcome a phobia. With NLP it can be done in minutes.
Many of the current revelations of neuroscience simply confirm observations and skills that have been used in NLP for decades. Many things that are theoretically possible are made effective because an attitude, unconditioned by fixed assumptions about what is or isn’t possible, or what is or isn’t wrong with a person, is implicit in the work of NLP. That attitude .. that change really is possible bears fruit through the skillful use of NLP, Since NLP is hypnosis’ Cousin.
In addition, NLP lets you take the excellence embodied by others; the communication skills of Martin Luther King, the creative imagination of Stephen Hawking, or the creative daring of Lady Gaga, the determination and dedication of Mother Theresa, or the fearless curiosity of Emelia Earhart, and adapt them so that you can use elements of their brilliance yourself.
NLP is based on a foundation which recognizes that each person is made up of a unique set of perceptions, strategies, attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors .. as unique as your fingerprint .. and that much of it can be changed.
It assumes that how we respond to the circumstances of our life, though based on what we learned in the past, is entirely up for change .. if we choose to see it that way, and it then goes on to provide the tools for us to embody that change.
A definition that I like of NLP is “[an]attitude followed by a trail of techniques”. The attitude is one that is determined to live ‘at choice’, and ‘on purpose’, rather than as the victim of circumstances.
We say that the future is fixed. You can’t change it, you can only change the past. Unless you change the past the future will be the same. It sounds counter-intuitive, but unless you change your perceptions and reactions that you have accumulated from your past experience, you’ll keep on making the same assumptions, holding the same beliefs, and repeating the same strategies and mistakes, to get the same results. Some of that ‘trail of techniques’ consists of specific ways to change the past, using the imagination, trance, and age regression in very specific ways, to allow you to access resources that have been blocked.
What’s love got to do with it?
If the above sounds a little dry and clinical it’s because the work of NLP is very specific. NLP is geared towards adapting and discovering the very best way to work with any individual regardless of where they’re at. It starts with where you are, and it proceeds from there with the idea that anything is possible.
Just as in the past, NLP is applied in the realm of therapy, education, leadership and business, and public speaking. It is guided by what’s possible: What might work better than you ever imagined? What works well here that we can apply there? How can we let go of what doesn’t work well anymore, simply and rapidly? It is guided by limitless empathy and a limitless desire to do the greatest possible good. In other words, it is guided by the most practical sort of love.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that practical love is a watered down version of love. It’s the most sustainable and powerful kind there is.
What is NLP? Simply put, NLP is based on the understanding that our reality, and our experience of the world, is made up of the words and pictures through which we perceive, remember, hold, and revision it. The work of NLP is the science of changing those words and pictures, as well as the emotions that are rooted in them.
This is a natural manifestation of love because it works towards greatest possible good for the individual, and ultimately for the planet.
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