September 10

Neurological Levels: A Breakthrough NLP Tool


Have you ever wondered why you do what you do, or why others behave the way they do? Do you want to improve your communication, motivation, and problem-solving skills? If so, you might want to learn about a powerful tool called Neurological Levels.

Neurological Levels is a model that was created by Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, two prominent trainers in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is a discipline that studies how our mind, language, and behavior affect our experience of reality.

Neurological Levels helps us organize our thoughts and feelings into different levels of abstraction, from the most concrete to the most abstract. By understanding these levels, we can identify where our difficulties lie, and how to overcome them.

In this article, we'll explain what each level means, how they relate to each other, and how you can use them to improve your life.

Environment: The Where and When

The first and lowest level of the model is Environment. This level represents the external conditions that affect us, such as the place, time, people, objects, sounds, smells, etc. that we encounter in our life.

The environment is what we perceive with our senses. It is the context in which we act and react. It answers the question "What context does this behavior occur?"

For example, if you are feeling stressed at work, you might want to examine your environment. Is it too noisy or too quiet? Is it too hot or too cold? Are there too many distractions or interruptions? Are there enough resources or support? How does your environment affect your mood and performance?

By changing your environment, you might be able to change your behavior and experience. For instance, you might find a quieter place to work, adjust the temperature, use headphones or earplugs, set boundaries with your colleagues, or ask for help when you need it.

Behavior: The What

The second level of the model is Behavior. This level represents what we do and say in response to our environment. It includes all our externally observable actions and reactions, such as words, gestures, movements, breathing, etc.

Behavior can be described with specific terms that can be seen or heard by others. It answers the question “What am I able to do?”

For example, if you want to improve your public speaking skills, you might want to observe your behavior. How do you stand or sit? How do you use your voice? How do you use your hands? How do you make eye contact? How do you handle questions or feedback?

By changing your behavior, you might be able to change your results and impact. For instance, you might practice using a confident posture, a clear and loud voice, a relaxed and expressive gesture, a friendly and attentive eye contact, and a positive and constructive attitude.

Capabilities: The How

The third level of the model is Capabilities. This level represents how we do what we do. It includes all our cognitive and emotional processes that enable us to perform certain behaviors. It answers the question “How?”

For example, if you want to learn a new language, you might want to explore your capabilities. How do you memorize new words? How do you understand grammar rules? How do you practice speaking or writing? How do you deal with mistakes or frustration?

By changing your capabilities, you might be able to change your effectiveness and efficiency. For instance, you might use different strategies to remember vocabulary, such as flashcards, mnemonics, or associations. You might also use different methods to learn grammar, such as examples, exercises, or games. You might also seek feedback from native speakers or teachers to improve your skills.

Values and Beliefs: The Why

The fourth level of the model is Values and Beliefs. This level represents why we do what we do. It includes all our inner criteria that guide our actions and decisions. It answers the question "Why?"

Values are what we consider important or desirable in life. They are our personal standards of excellence or satisfaction. They motivate us to pursue certain goals or avoid certain situations.

Beliefs are what we consider true or false about ourselves, others, or the world. They are our assumptions or expectations about reality. They influence how we interpret events or situations.

For example, if you want to start a new business, you might want to examine your values and beliefs. What values are driving your entrepreneurial spirit? Is it freedom, creativity, challenge, contribution, or something else? What beliefs are supporting or limiting your success? Do you believe that you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Do you believe that there is a market for your product or service? Do you believe that you can overcome obstacles or failures?

By changing your values and beliefs, you might be able to change your motivation and perception. For instance, you might adopt new values that align with your vision, such as innovation, quality, or customer satisfaction. You might also challenge or replace negative beliefs with positive ones, such as “I can learn from my mistakes”, “I can find solutions to any problem”, or “I can create value for my customers”.

Identity: The Who

The fifth level of the model is Identity. This level represents who we are as a person. It includes our self-image, our sense of identity, our roles, and our personality traits. It answers the question “Who am I?”

Identity is how we define ourselves in relation to others and the world. It is the central model of our overall personality7. It shapes our values, beliefs, capabilities, and behaviors8.

For example, if you want to change your career, you might want to explore your identity. Who are you in your current job? Are you a manager, a teacher, a lawyer, or something else? How do you feel about your role? Does it match your skills, interests, and passions? Who do you want to be in your new career? What kind of role do you want to play? How do you want to express yourself?

By changing your identity, you might be able to change your direction and purpose. For instance, you might discover that you are not just a manager, but a leader, a mentor, or a coach. You might also realize that you want to be more than a teacher, but an educator, an influencer, or a changemaker. You might also decide that you want to pursue a career that aligns with your values, passions, and talents.

Mission: The For Whom and For What

The sixth and highest level of the model is Mission. This level represents for whom and for what we are here. It includes our vision, our mission, our purpose, and our contribution. It answers the question “For whom and for what am I doing this?”

Mission is what gives meaning and direction to our life. It is what inspires us and drives us to make a difference in the world. It is what connects us with something bigger than ourselves.

For example, if you want to find your mission in life, you might want to reflect on your mission. What is your vision for the world? What is the change that you want to see or create? What is your purpose in life? What is the reason why you exist? What is your contribution to the world? What is the value that you add or the impact that you make?

By changing your mission, you might be able to change your perspective and fulfillment. For instance, you might develop a vision that inspires you and others, such as a world where everyone has access to education, health care, or clean energy. You might also define a mission that guides you and motivates you, such as empowering people to learn, heal, or innovate. You might also discover a purpose that resonates with you and fulfills you, such as teaching, helping, or creating.

Neurological Levels - Conclusion

Neurological Levels is a powerful tool that can help you understand yourself and others better. By applying this model to different aspects of your life, you can identify where your challenges and opportunities lie, and how to overcome them.

You can also use this tool to communicate more effectively with others by matching their level of thinking and speaking. For example, if someone is talking about their environment or behavior, you can respond at the same level by acknowledging their situation or actions. If someone is talking about their values or beliefs, you can respond at the same level by expressing your appreciation or curiosity. If someone is talking about their identity or mission, you can respond at the same level by affirming their role or purpose.

Neurological Levels can help you improve your life in many ways. By exploring each level in depth, you can gain more clarity, awareness, confidence, and satisfaction. You can also enhance your skills, performance, and results. You can also align your actions with your values, beliefs, identity, and mission. You can also create more harmony, connection, and influence with others.

For more information, check out this excellent article on Neurological Levels.

How do you use Neurological Levels in your life? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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neuro-linguistic programming, NLP, nlp neurological levels, robert dilts

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