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Malti Bhojwani is a certified life coach who offers her services at Multi Coaching International. When she’s not teaching people how to use basic NLP techniques in daily life, she’s helping scores of corporates, educational institutes, and individuals better themselves using her unique coaching techniques. She’s also on MensXP’s expert panel; begin the process of self-improvement by asking her a question.
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NLP refers to neuro-linguistic programming, which is an approach to psychotherapy and organizational change based on “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences underlying them.”
These techniques I’m about to introduce are based on simple NLP presuppositions and are sometimes misunderstood as being NLP jargon. In reality, they are all very basic and once understood and practiced in our daily life, especially as part of our “self-talk,” can have a huge and extremely powerful impact.
NLP Presupposition 1: “The map is not the territory”
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are” – Albert Einstein
Keep in mind that whenever you try to be the observer and “see” a situation from different viewpoints you are practicing NLP. If you deliberately put it in a different frame or change the context, you are “reframing” (in NLP parlance). When we remember that situation, we are all looking at it from our own subjective point of view. Our brains will either delete, distort and generalize information so that it suits the image in our minds. To give you a simple example, a menu describes the food, yet it is not the food.
So remember: your viewpoint is just that–your viewpoint. It’s shaped by your learning, experiences, and opinions. So to go back to the presupposition, your view of the world (the map), is just a fragment of the total, absolute reality (the territory) available out there. Incorporate this into the way you see the world and check whether it affects your decision-making process or your opinions about those around you.
NLP Presupposition 2: “People work perfectly” and “Behind every behavior lies a positive intention”
At any given moment, people make choices that are the best ones they consider possible for themselves. The intention is ultimately for life preservation. If you can always think of what people do to you, around you, and the things that you do as having a positive intention, you will be more compassionate and understanding with yourself and the people around you.
To illustrate this, let me relate a story, which is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Manifest Your Desires:
“Imagine you are in a room that looks like it’s straight out of a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie. The walls are closing in, literally. Imagine a countdown clock that tells you how long you have before you’re crushed, and you have 60 seconds left.
59…58…57…42…41…39…Time is running out.
You are alone in the room, the ceiling is very high, and on the ground, you see three covered manholes.
You lift the lid off the first one and it is a sewer. The stench is so strong it infuses the entire room. Just like the one little Jamal in the movie Slumdog Millionaire jumped into to get to Amitabh Bachchan when he was locked in the outdoor toilet. Yes, full of faeces. It stinks, but it is shallow.
Disgusted, you put the lid back on.
You open the next manhole, and you see great white sharks and crocodiles swimming in here. Petrified, you close this manhole too.
You open the third one, and in here are venomous snakes, huge spiders and scorpions. Now you know you are really in an Indiana Jones movie.
So, what do you do? Basic survival instinct will kick in. So you take a deep breath, pinch your nose tight, and jump into the first hole–the sewer.
Now you are alive, and wading in a smelly sewer. Not nice at all, but you are alive.”
Looking back at a situation, I might realize I could have chosen a different path. However, accepting that I chose the best option available at the time helps in choosing my next step and most importantly, living in peace with myself. You already have it in you. The most basic resource is the ability to learn.
NLP Presupposition 3: “You cannot NOT communicate.”
What we say non-verbally is more influential in a conversation than what we say. The classic example of this is when I say to a group, “put your right finger on your right cheek” but touch my chin while saying it. Guess what most people in the room end up doing? Yup, they mimic my action instead of heeding my instructions.
The meaning of communication is the response you get. So if someone did not respond the way you expected, maybe you are the one who was not clear enough. A great way to practice this is to always ask people to repeat or confirm the message you gave them. You can do this in a casual way without revealing your intentions; it just needs a bit of practice.
Implement these 3 basic NLP techniques in your daily life, and you’re well on your way to using neuro-linguistic programming to positively impact your life. Good luck!