Do you find yourself wanting more out of life, but stuck where you are? Are you feeling trapped in what the philosopher Thoreau called a life of ‘quiet desperation’?
Well, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of people attend seminars, conventions, and ‘boot camps’ by some of the world’s most extraordinary motivational speakers and coaches, searching for the keys that will set them free. Like you, they know there is more to life than ‘just getting along’ or making do.
Of course, not all of these seekers will find their answers, or even if they do, they may not know what to do with them. After all, the key to personal transformation is changing your thought patterns, and that’s not always easy.
That is why many of the most effective presenters use NLP (neurolinguistic programming), both in their own lives and as a powerful training tool. Scratch the surface of high-achievers and outstandingly successful people (no matter how you define success), and you’ll find the principles of NLP at work. Why? Because the underlying principles of NLP are based on how real-life high-achievers think and perceive the world.
When you learn or use NLP, you are learning (or helping someone else) to think like a successful person. The mind is being reprogrammed to perceive the world, yourself and your relationships in a way that frees your thinking from inhibiting doubts, fears and insecurities so that you can see things more accurately, and receive valuable insights from your deeper, wiser mind.
What is NLP?
The founders of NLP, Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder, developed NLP as a practical tool to help others achieve goals by changing their thinking. It is based on the work of some of the most venerable and influential authorities on human thought and behaviour, including Fritz Perlz, Virginia Satir, Noam Chomsky, and Milton Erikson.
Bandler and Grindler realised that the body-mind is highly programmable, which allows a person to learn entirely new behaviours and thought patterns by modelling the behaviours and thought patterns of others. This is the main goal of NLP, and accounts for its enormous popularity as a method for achieving excellence in any area. Since its inception in the 1960’s, NLP has helped famous high-achievers, powerful motivators like Anthony Robbins, Chris Howard, Oprah Winfrey, and many successful people in all walks of life consistently achieve excellence.
How does it work?
NLP draws on two systems: our neurological system (basically, the mind and its message pathways, the nerves), and our linguistic system (the symbols, including language, through which we make meaning). The NLP practitioner uses language and subconscious symbolism to help you reprogram your neurology to perceive and think about the world and yourself in ways that are modelled on the thought patterns of highly successful individuals. You are not being brainwashed, but rather, you learn strategies for perceiving more possibilities and choices in any situation, and for making better decisions.
If you listened to biochemist Candice Pert explained in the film, ‘What the Bleep Do We Know?’ you are already on the way to understanding how the programming part of NLP works. Our bodies produce a different chemical for every emotion that we experience (such as envy, self-doubt, desire, happiness). When certain emotions are triggered by our experience or attitude, the appropriate chemicals are rushed along neural pathways to set off certain physiological responses (such as increased heart rate, a surge of testosterone, arousal or whatever).
Over time, our neurology develops strong neurological pathways for the emotions we often experience, while pathways that are rarely used weaken or may eventually disappear. Just like with our muscles: Use it or lose it.
This means that if you often think negative thoughts, you develop more and stronger neural pathways for negative emotions (pessimism, fear, anger, self-doubt), and neural pathways for positive emotions (optimism, trust, tolerance, confidence) disappear.
How can NLP help me?
Your NLP practitioner can help you reprogram your mind so that it works for you, not against you. You will not be taught what to think, for the purpose of NLP is to broaden your scope, not narrow it. Rather, you will learn strategies for more empowered thinking.
NLP helps to remove the fear and anxiety that can complicate many health and life changes, such as pregnancy and birth, menopause, and serious illness, so that your body’s natural support and healing resources can be fully utilised to reduce pain, alleviate symptoms and speed recovery. It can help you overcome addictions, and help you make better health and lifestyle choices. Your ability to communicate can be improved, helping you to forge stronger, closer, more mutually satisfying relationships, and get ahead in your career. With your new insights and increased self-awareness, you will find it much easier to set realistic goals and to identify what must be done to achieve them.
Ultimately, NLP is focused on results. When freed from limiting and narrow thinking and beliefs, the subconscious mind is very resourceful and understands how to use the strategies that the person has learned. Almost without realising it, my clients find it easier to set goals that are important to them, whether they want to make new friends, find love, create wealth, have a richer spiritual life, or get close to their kids. All this because their mindset has changed.
Now that’s empowerment!