Neurolinguistic Programming for young entrepreneurs

Take control of your uphill battles.
Written by Rizwan Asif and Sidra Ali

I became an entrepreneur right after graduating my bachelors studies. It was an exuberant experience. Build a business, put together a team, galvanize them.. so much to learn and so much to prove and it felt like this is what I want to do the rest of my life. Until reality dawned on me. The financial pressure, the expectation, the downfalls. It became harder to smile everyday, and to smile is important because it is what your team looks at.. if you are downcast so is your team.. if your team is downcast, so is your dream.

As an entrepreneur, confidence is the one thing you need to wear everyday.

How can one be happy or at least pretend to be happy everyday? Answering this question changed my lifestyle forever. I realized it wasn't only the world that I had to fool but I had to fool my own mind. The science of Neurolinguistic Programming is what taught me this.

Today I want to share this gift to all you struggling superheros, who took the mettle of chasing their dreams.

What is Neurolinguistic Programming?

NLP is a sub-branch of psychotherapy that was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder that believes in the connection between neurological processing, behavioral patterns and language of a person i.e. learned through experience.

According to this school of thought, it greatly helps in improving communication of an individual that in turn helps in personal development. Good thing is that anybody can acquire these skills, often in a single session. Moreover, it can be used as a therapy for various psychological disorders including depression, phobias, psychosomatic illnesses and learning disorders.

Understanding the basics:

I won’t get into boring technical terms but this is what you need to understand about NLP and humans.

  • Subjectivity: Basically, a human being perceives this world subjectively either through the five senses or through language. So, NLP focuses on enhancing the sense-based subjective learning of the participant.
  • Consciousness: NLP approaches both dimensions of consciousness i.e. conscious mind and also the unconscious mind. Most of the psychological approaches only use the conscious power of the mind.
  • Learning: This component involves an imitative and copying style of learning. Hence, it enables the person to produce expertise in any field.

Why you need NLP?

Young entrepreneurs have to go through a lot of stress and need to be polite and patient to get through the toughest situations. Therefore, it is very important for them to keep their calm.

NLP is a simple to learn and practice technique. Once you have mastered the technique, you can see that it would help you in overcoming your various personal challenges thus, helping you in boosting your confidence and leading a successful life.

One of the best guides for understanding this concept is ‘NLP: The essential guide’, written by Tom Hoobyar. In the start of the book, the author focuses on the perceptions and thought process of people so it basically lays foundation to understanding the psychic of the other person. Once you have mastered the idea of putting yourself into the other person’s shoe then, you can couple your thought process with your belief system to view the reality in a very clear way. Also, the belief system of a person has its own filters. If it is positive, then no worries. But if they are negative then, one needs to be aware of that as it wouldn't allow him/her to see the actual reality. You need to accept the fact that; you have as much right to think your way, as the other person has a right to think their own way. There is no inner enemy neither in you nor in someone else. Because even if anybody is having a bad trait, let’s say nail biting, they are doing it because they think that it is essential for them.

In NLP, you need to look inside the mind of that person and amend it accordingly. In other words, you should understand that people are not bad exactly, but it is the circumstances that are bad.

Most people fight seeing what’s true when it’s not what they want it to be. That’s bad, because it is more important to understand and deal with the bad stuff since the good stuff will take care of itself.
Principles, Ray Dalio

To be able to figure out things subjectively, you really need to be stable emotionally. But sadly, most of us are driven by our untamed emotions. Emotional anchors play an important role here. It can help you in staying positive and totally under control. Here, take a note that you can change a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ just by being under your self-control.

As in September 1938, when Egypt and Israel relations were at high tensions, the U.S was called in to play intermediary. The U.S could have lost its temper when in 13 days, the team had worked on 23 drafts to bring the two into peace.
When President Carter recommended the final solution both parties had to agree since all other options were expired. Same happens to us entrepreneurs, we have revisit our plans so many times that our patience starts to feather. This is where you need to be strong.
Make the problems give in to your resilience.

How to use it?

Now, if you really want to learn NLP, you need to learn to live within the moments as it would be helping you to concentrate. Thus, helping you perform better. So stop putting your life on ‘auto-pilot’.

The Navy SEALs are instructed, during their murderous training, to focus on right now. It’s not about the number of miles left but the mile you are doing right now. Then, if things seem to be not going as planned then, just think about your past successes and embrace those hard times thinking that in the end of the victory, how good it feels to accomplish your set goals. And just when everything is failing, inhale deeply for a count of 6, hold it for 2 seconds and then release slowly at the count of 6 (the 6-2-6 rule). Do this for three times and keep on going. Motivate yourself. This means that you should act when there is time and not wait for the time to heal things.

Believe it or not the life of an entrepreneur is not less than that of a navy seal. You star to wither and everything comes crashing down. You will have to use these tactics if you want to survive all that comes at you. Keep your mind busy by the positives of the present than burdening it with prediction of the future, since it is easier to process. Now let’s see what happens when you live too much in your future:

As in 1938, Neville Chamberlain, PM of Britain, fearing a clash of nations had decided to stay quiet in return to Hitler’s negotiations. His preemptive thinking was what Hitler exploited and in turn raised his demands and World War II happened anyway.

How to win a negotiation?

Negotiations are something you’ll have to encounter every now and then. It can be with a partners, clients or maybe your own team questioning your plans. To keep everything in order you must win. And the art of winning a negotiation lies in how well you behave and respond. Some tips that might help are:

  • Don’t interrupt
  • Don’t contradict because everyone has a right to think their own way
  • There is no space for “buts” and “whys.”
  • Be respectful
  • Refer the other person by name.
  • Try to look for the agreement that might be present between you two.

In ‘Getting to Yes’, Roger Fisher says that if two people have to get to a better solution then they have to think irrespective of their feelings for each other and try to solve the problem as a shared problem to reach at a joint solution. E.g.

Two men who are fighting in a library on the topic of either opening or closing the window. The librarian comes and solves the situation by considering it as a joint problem, opens the window of the other room.

So basically, the librarian takes ‘the two people quarreling’ as a problem, but not ‘opening or closing of window’. Look for another angle.

Like I said earlier that a human being tend to look at things subjectively. So, just be careful to not judge the book by its cover. Try to find the reason behind the reason to everyone’s actions. Because to them it was the best solution.


You are more than just stimulus and response. Your mind and body are yours to command, you need to learn to control them. As an entrepreneur, this is what separates you from other people. That you keep your cool under impossible situations and come at the top.

It’s not easy to be that person but time, passion and persistence shapes leaders. Be one of them, it’s in you.

It’s never too late to be the person you might have been.
George Eliot.

If you want to learn more do read NLP: The essential guide, by Tom Hoobyar.