NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and it began its life as a ‘modelling technology’ to capture patterns of excellence in people who did a really good job with thinking, feeling, language and behaviour.
In essence, it’s a ‘cheat manual’ for the brain, and a pragmatic and solution-based approach to traditional psychology and counselling. It asks less ‘why something happened’ but more ‘how are you going to deal with it’.
Sounds pretty efficient, right? It is!
Now that the introductions are done, let’s ease ourselves into three really easy NLP techniques, and see how we can use them in our daily lives.
1) Description, NOT interpretation
This is a really cool technique that helps with better self-communication and communicating with others, that challenges you to speak about something with objective and factual details, as opposed to how you interpreted them.
Let’s try an example: a relationship breaks down, and suddenly all we remember about it is how loving, caring and mutually beneficial it was (much to the eye rolls of our friends who had definitely seen it coming)
So… was it perfect?
A really good way to help with the heartache that might stem from a breakup is to stay away from statements like ‘everything was perfect and we barely fought’ or ‘my partner was the only one who understood me’ (interpretations) in favour of more fact-based and detailed statements like ‘my partner was loving, but also forgetful and prone to anger bursts’ or ‘my partner would listen, but not always see my point or accept a different solution to his own’ (description). Descriptions force us to break down generalised statements into more tangible ones, by ‘chunking down’ large shapeless concepts into defined ones.
This way you can detach yourself from a romanticised situation that is holding you back, in favour of a more accurate version of events.
2) Get the most out of ‘I am’ statements
…because who doesn’t love a good pep talk in the mirror, complete with hair flick and wink?
‘I am’ statements can be great friends when positive and empowering, and an absolute waste of time when negative and disrupting. And though we all know better than to speak ill of ourselves (because when has ‘I am a failure’ ever resulted in positive change?) we should also be mindful of going full sunshine-and-rainbows on the other side.
Let’s try an example: I am powerful seems like a great Monday morning motivator, right? Yet, it’s not grounded in facts, unless you are an electric socket.
Try something more fact-based like ‘I am confident in my abilities to deliver the presentation’ or ‘I am able to juggle family, career and great skin all in one day’
(N.B. If you are going to use ‘I am’ statements negatively, at least stay away from ‘ I am a failure’ in favour of a more factual ‘My cake-baking skills are borderline homicidal’, so at least you can pinpoint what kind of a failure you are)
3) No failure, only feedback
Failure is quite a heavy word, isn’t it? It not only describes a negative outcome, it also makes it feel final.
However, unless you have died at the end of whatever you were trying to accomplish (see homicidal baking of above paragraph), you do have the chance to try again. Because although you can’t remix the cake batter that never rose and recook it, you can shove the whole thing down the trash can, get a new set of ingredients out, and start again.
Let’s try an example: you get fired from a job. It sucks, and it means no more Sky Sport for a while, and a wagon of beans on toast for dinner. Not ideal, but also not final. Failure is simply your decision to stop. Feedback is your willingness to try again, and analyse what did not work in your previous endeavour, so you don’t repeat it.
Let us know in the comment section which of these three easy NLP techniques you have already use, or which one you are curious to try, and if you want to find out more about NLP courses or certifications, check out the iNLP centre and their amazing courses here!