I’ve been amazed and interested for some time in NLP or neuro linguistic programming. Now, it’s not an exact science. It’s a study of psychology which is not grounded in hard facts or research but rather a theory or idea of how people organize thoughts and do things. I found it to be a very helpful schematic about the world. The basic idea of NLP is that we each store thoughts and ideas based on our experiences through internal pictures and maps. We focus on certain things that are areas of focus and we don’t focus on others. We attach meanings to images as we store memories. Those of you that aren’t familiar with NLP it probably sounds like a lot of quasi-science mumbo jumbo. It could be viewed that way. In reality, I think it’s a very helpful tool.
It allows us to think about how we think and that’s where I think the power is. How are we thinking about things? How are we framing things? If somebody does something we don’t want them to do, under NLP, we can step back and think about why that frustrates us and why that angers us. It’s probably because it doesn’t fit our framework, plans or our timeline. It probably has nothing to do with the other person. We can also put things in perspective. The here and now tends to be very vivid in our memories, our minds and drives our thoughts and actions. The long-term is also important too. The more we can focus on perspective, long-term, or short-term, the more we can put each moment into perspective and understand how important a current moment is and how it connects to the larger schema. NLP is also valuable for interfacing with others because it allows us to think about them. One of the basic techniques of NLP, when you’re relating to others, is what they call matching and mirroring.
Basically, looking at the other person’s body language and actions and trying to match it. Now, this is not to be used in a manipulative way or to put other people on guard. It’s a way to get other people comfortable. Sit in a similar posture. Look the way they do. Breathe at the same level as them. This allows you to feel like you’re in rapport with the person, that you’re understanding each other and you’re building a basis.
There are a lot of aspects to NLP. I have found NLP to be very valuable in having conversations with others and understanding human psychology. Is NLP perfect? I don’t think so; it’s largely unproven. It’s a type of science that is hard to attach rigorous study to or prove whether it’s right or wrong. In reality, I’ve found that it works. The techniques are valuable for me for reframing my thoughts and actions. It is helpful for getting perspective and for relating with others. I recommend it to you – as something to study, understand and see how you can apply it in your world. What’s been your experience? Have you used NLP? Have you had a good experience or bad? Join us in the comments below and let us know about your experiences.
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About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.