May 12, 2022

NLP Presuppositions

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The meaning of a communication is the response one gets. - NLP Presuppositions

In communication it's usually assumed that one is transferring information to another person. One has information which "means" something to them and intends that the other person understand what it is that they intend to communicate.

Frequently one assumes that if they "say what they mean to say," then their responsibility for the communication is over.

If you want to be an effective communicator, you must realize that your responsibility does not end when they finish talking.

For practical purposes, what you communicate is what the other person thinks you say and not what you intend to say.

Often the two are quite different. In communication it is what the other person thinks that one says and how they respond to it that is important.

This requires that you pay attention to the response that you are getting. If this is not the response that they want, then you need to change your communication until you get the desired response.

The map is not the territory. - NLP Presuppositions

Good communicators realize that the representations which they use to organize their experience of the world is not the same as the world.

It is important to distinguish between several semantic levels.

The first semantic level is the external world.

The second semantic level is one`s experience of the world.

This experience is one`s "map" or "model" of the world and is different for each person. Each person creates a unique model of the world and thus lives in a somewhat different reality than anyone else.

One does not operate directly on the world but on one`s experience of it. This experience may or may not be correct. To the extent that one`s experience has a similar structure with the world it is correct and this accounts for its usefulness.

One's model of the world determines how one will perceive the world and what choices one will see as available to them.

Many NLP techniques involve changing one`s model of the world to make it more useful and to bring it more in line with the way the world actually is.

Language is a secondary representation of experience. - NLP Presuppositions

Language is a third semantic level after the external world and one's representation of the world, respectively.

Language is not experience but a representation of experience. Words are merely arbitrary tokens used to represent things one sees, hears or feels.

People who speak other languages use different words to represent the same things that English speakers see, hear or feel.

Also, since each person has a unique set of things that they have seen, heard and felt in their lives, their words have different meanings to each of them.

To the degree that these meanings are similar people are able to communicate effectively. When there are more differences than similarities, then problems begin to arise.

We can use language patterns like the "Sleight of Mouth" model to help us speak more concise as well as create positive change in others.

Mind and body are parts of the same cybernetic system which affect each other. - NLP Presuppositions

Mind and body both refer to aspects of the same "whole" or "gestalt". They act as one and they influence each other in such a way that there is no separation.

Anything that happens in one part of a cybernetic system like a human being will effect all other parts of the system. This means that what you think affects how you feel and that the condition of your physical body effects how you think.

Your perceptual input, internal thought process, emotional process, physiological response and behavioral output all occur both simultaneously and through time.

In practical terms this means that you can change how you think by either directly changing how you think or by changing your physiology or feelings.

Law of Requisite Variety: In any cybernetic system, the element or person with the widest range of behaviors, variability, or choice will control the system. - NLP Presuppositions

Control in human systems refers to the ability to influence the quality of one's own and other people's experience in the moment and through time.

The person with the greatest flexibility of behavior, i.e. number of ways of interacting, will control that system.

Choice is always preferable to no choice and more choice is always preferable to less choice. 

Behavior is geared towards adaptation. - NLP Presuppositions

One's behavior is determined by the context in which that behavior originates. One's reality is defined by one's perceptions of the world.

The behavior that one exhibits is appropriate to their reality. All of one's behavior whether good or bad is an adaptation.

Everything is useful in some context. All behavior is, or was, adaptive given the context in which it was learned. In another context it may not be appropriate.

Present behavior represents the best choice available to that person. - NLP Presuppositions

Under every behavior lies a positive intent. When you take into account who a person is, based on all of their life experiences and the choices that they are aware of, they make the best choice available to them at any moment in time. If they are given a better choice, they will take it.

In order to  change someone's inappropriate behavior it is necessary to give them other choices. Once this is done they will behave accordingly.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming has techniques for providingadditional choices. Also, in Neuro-Linguistic Programming one never takes away choices from their clients, nor anyone else for that matter. One only provides more choices and explicitly contextualizes the existing choices.

Behavior is to be evaluated and appreciated or changed as appropriate in the context presented. - NLP Presuppositions

We need to evaluate other people's behavior in terms of what they are capable of becoming. One needs to strive to be all they are capable of being.

People have all of the resources they need to make the changes they want. - NLP Presuppositions

The task is to locate or access those resources and to make them available in the appropriate context.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming provides techniques to accomplish this task.

What this means is that in practice people do not need to waste time trying to gain insight into their problems or in developing resources to deal with their problems. They already have all the resources which they need to deal with their problems.

All that is necessary is to access these resources and transfer them to the current time frame.

Possible in the world and possible for me is only a matter of how. - NLP Presuppositions

If any other human being is capable of performing some behavior then it is possible for you to also perform it.

The process of determining "how" they do it is called "modeling" and is the process by which Neuro-Linguistic Programming came into being in the first place.

The highest quality information about other people is behavioral.

Listen to what people say but pay more attention to what they do. If there is any contradiction between the two, then rely on the behavior.

It is useful to make a distinction between behavior and self. - NLP Presuppositions

Just because one "screws up" on something, does not mean that they are a "screw up."

Behavior is what a person says, does or feels at any moment in time. This does not equate to one's self. A person's self is greater than their behaviors.

There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback. - NLP Presuppositions

It is much more valuable to view one's experience in terms of a learning frame than in terms of a failure frame.

If a person does not succeed in something, this does not mean that they have failed. It just means that they have discovered one way not to do that particular thing.

One then needs to vary their behavior until they find a way to succeed.


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neuro-linguistic programming, NLP, nlp presuppositions


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