This weekend just gone I joined around 70 others to attend an Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training course in London.
If you’re curious about NLP then I hope this post will shed some light on the subject so you can make a better decision on whether it is worth pursuing for yourself.
Also, I should state the obvious here which is that I’ve only gone on a 2 day workshop and this post is purely here to pass on a few things I learned. It’s purely my take and nothing more!
What actually is NLP?
If I’m asked this question by a friend here’s what I’d say:
“NLP is a collection of tools and techniques which allows you, or help others to, change thoughts, feelings, behaviour and ultimately outcomes.”
Like any definitely this only scratches the surface so another way to think of NLP is that it is like having a user manual for your brain.
And who wouldn’t buy one of those if they were for sale in the local bookshop?!
Can you “NLP people” to get them to do whatever you want!?
No, fortunately, you can’t!
For me this is one of the big myths about NLP, that a lot of people imagine that it’s all about influencing others to get what you want.
In other words NLP has the reputation of being all about manipulation.
But actually it starts with yourself, not others and indeed this is one of the big takeaways for me from the seminar.
A way of thinking about this is that there are various “software programs” running in your brain. For example, we all software programs which control things like:
- Our punctuality
- Our priorities
- Out eating and drinking
Left alone these software programs kind of write themselves and are influenced by years of real life experiences.
But because these experiences are all different (e.g., good, bad, common, rare, etc) it means that the software scripts running in our brain are not as good as they could be.
For example, some people are consistently late for appointments, make bad choices about what to prioritise (a big one in online business!) and eat/drink too much or the wrong type of foods.
So learning NLP helps you discover what is happening already in the various departments of your brain, understand them and then change them for the better.
So you end up with a better brain which makes better decisions and helps you more easily achieve the things you want to achieve in life.
What about others?
NLP isn’t just about yourself though. Our ability to get the things we want in life is hugely dependent upon how abilities to interact with others.
And NLP helps a lot with this.
If you think about people you’ve worked with over the years, some do well and get promoted, others seem constantly stressed and end up getting fired or stuck in a rut.
Now sure, how smart a person is is important but really if you think about it, so much of it is to do with how these people conduct themselves in relation to others either consciously or unconsciously.
I know I can personally think of so many examples of this from past years spent working in numerous different jobs.
NLP comes into play by introducing techniques such as reframing, presupposition, pattern interrupts and many more.
Some of these can just make the whole experience better, faster and more productive for you and the person you are communicating with.
Taken to an extreme and used in an unethical way there is no doubt these techniques can be used to significantly influence people. And this of course, is where NLP gets it reputation from in terms of manipulation!
Ethically speaking I would say that it’s really like so many other things that are powerful, they can be used for good or for bad.
Should you study it?
I would definitely recommend buying a book or, as I did, going on an introductory NLP course.
It certainly is very powerful and although many will be sceptical my experience over the 2 days was that it is possible to make some pretty simple changes for pretty significant life benefits.
We spend so much time, energy and money on other things but how much actually on improving the inners workings of our brains?
That’s worth thinking about I’d say…
As I mentioned, this is all just my take! Unless you are already an NLP expert then I hope this helped shed some light on a subject that is become increasingly popular and widespread. Would love to hear your thoughts below…