Five things I have learned from being an NLP practitioner

NLP is an acronym for “neuro linguistic programming” and at its core it is the use of specific language patterns and techniques to rewire your brain to make the change that YOU want to see.

I was given the opportunity to do a refresher on my NLP coaching certification by ActionFactory last week. The effectiveness of NLP techniques in creating change was mind blowing, again.

Starting in the early 70s, it is often dismissed as being ‘non-scientific’. When you see and experience the changes firsthand, you understand how deeply valuable this collection of teaching, techniques and methods can be.

#1 – Collapsing an anchor (unwanted program)

NLP teaches that our behaviour is a ‘program’, something that served us when it was created. Over time, our need change, but these ‘programs’ can become stuck, no longer serving us.

Do you have something or someone in your past that continuously evoke strong emotions in you – for example anxiety and fear when going to the dentist? What if I tell you that within five minutes an NLP coach can change that for you by collapsing that ‘program’ that runs in your mind every time?

Yes, it is possible. I have seen this with my own eyes, and experienced it for myself.

Considering seeking out an NLP practitioner if you also need to make a change like this.

#2 – Everything we need to succeed is already in our own heads

Imagine an iceberg. We all know that one tenth of an iceberg sticks up above water, and 90% of the iceberg is below the water. If I tell you that your conscious brain, the part that remembers things and use logic, read, speak, etc. is the 10% above the water? And that that part can only process 7 bits of information at any given moment? While your subconscious, the 90% that is under the waterline, can process 20-40 million bits of information? Your subconscious is also the part that recognize patterns, and filter out only what is necessary for you right now?

That subconscious mind has also already got the answers you need, you just need to be able to access it. Quick proof? The old saying “Sleep on a decision” – your logical brain access your subconscious mind during sleep, and an answer will drift up for you in the morning, without you thinking about it consciously.

#3 – We delete, distort and generalise all the time, every single one of us

What? Delete things? Me?

Yes, we all do it. If I tell you right now that you have deleted today how your clothes feel on your skin, you will suddenly become aware of how that material feels again. You will also realize that up to this very moment today, you have not felt your clothes consciously.

The same with how your seat feel under your body, or your skin folds around your eyes. Only when I mention it do you feel it again. We do this because our conscious mind cannot cope with all this information at any point, so the piece of our brain in charge of filtering out information just deletes what it sees as unimportant.

Distort? Yes, we all do that as well. No, you probably did not get a hiding every day while you were a child. Your brain is just distorting that memory. Check with your parents, if you can, and see how differently they remember your childhood.

And generalise? Our brains love patterns. If you walk into a new location, and you see a room full of differently shaped chairs – did your brain consciously have to think to recognize the patterns that they are all chairs? The same with driving – are every single person on the planet in a car really behaving like an idiot today? No, your brain is just generalizing because two people pushed in front of you in traffic and your brain recognized the pattern.

#4 – Our brains can be re-trained

Yes, even yours and mine. They can be stuck in specific patterns, telling you that you are not clever, not pretty, not successful, a total idiot and failure. Such negative self-talk will train your brain to only find more and more examples of this.

If you instead tell yourself daily, as often as necessary, that you are a talented and multiskilled unique human being. Tell yourself that you are capable of doing ANYTHING, and do it well. What do you think your brain will start looking for?

Sounds simple? It is. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself about this – at each mealtime, or every second hour, or morning and evening.  Take a minute, when that alarm sounds, to find something you just did extremely well. Do this again tomorrow, and repeat for seven days.

Want to take a bet that you will feel better about yourself? And feeling better about yourself, can reach out to others and help them feel better as well?

#5 – We all coach, all the time

“If you continue to address the king inside the man, eventually the king will respond”.

Deon Groenewald, a MASTER NLP coach in South Africa, quotes this often during his courses. This is so meaningful, and so deep, and absolutely worth embracing if you relate with other people at all.

That difficult teenager in your home? Address the magnificent human being inside, not the stubborn and rebellious outside.  Start each sentence with “I know you are … (more organised / cleverer / more helpful). Please help me by….” See if anything change in a week’s time in that attitude at home.

 That ex that let you down so badly? The boss that rules by fear and intimidation? They can all change, if only others can see the king inside them, and start addressing that magnificence. It might take more than seven days, but is it not a worthwhile life goal to have? Finding the magnificence inside every person you interact with, and pulling it out?

Coach yourself, and those around you, in this one thing. You will leave the world a better place.

NLP is a fascinating field of study, often referred to as the user manual for the human mind. Find a reputable practitioner if you need help in changing things.

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