What Is NLP and Why Is It Important?
Imagine what it would be like having an instruction manual for your brain?
We are born without an instruction manual and manage to learn everything we know about the world and ourselves along the way, whether it’s positive or negative. We gather experiences that shape us into the person we currently are. Anxious or very sociable, cheerful or grouchy, tolerant or impatient.
Some people put the main focus on their jobs and careers, others on their families, some don’t care about anything other than themselves. Bottom line, we are all very different. Some of us are better, and others are worse in handling the situations that life brings us.
But in each and every one of us, there is something that can always be improved and changed. How would you feel if you were a little more patient or maybe more organized? Is it possible to overcome your sluggishness and start being more productive instead of procrastinating all the time? Or think about your phobias and past negative events. Would you like for them to go away?
Many times people face situations where they can’t control something, which of course can be frustrating. We are beings that want to control, instead of being controlled. But what many of us don’t realize — the most important thing is to control ourselves, our thoughts and emotions. It’s the only road that leads to greatness.
We are programmed by the people and things that surround us, but what is a device without an instruction manual?
Do you remember when you bought your first smartphone? At first, it was difficult to get used to the apps, the touchscreen and the complexity of this small yet helpful device. But, nonetheless, you had a manual to guide you, to tell you the purpose of every application on the phone, and now you are a pro.
Imagine if you had the instruction manual for the applications in your brain? You can actually use the whole potential of it. You can control your anxieties, depression, fear, and anger. Every problem you once thought it was impossible to handle, now can be easily overcome.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming — How it came to be
You are probably unfamiliar with this term. As a matter of fact, many people are. Until accidentally stumbling upon the name a while ago, I didn’t know it either. However, it caught my attention and I decided to do a little research.
Namely, it all started back in the ’70s in Santa Cruz, California thanks to two psychologists, Richard Bandler, and John Grinder who crafted the term NLP.
The abbreviation, obviously, stands for Neuro-linguistic programming. Bandler was a student at the time, while Grinder was an associate professor of linguistics at Bandler’s college.
After becoming friends they teamed up for a project intended to study the main sources that dictate the language structure of the gestalt therapy. The two scientists put the main focus on experts in their own fields to understand how they achieved their phenomenal results.
It’s rather difficult to explain what exactly NLP stands for, as it’s a variety of things. The simplest way to put it is that learning NLP is like learning the language of your mind. Every word, and every segment of it. It’s a mixture of methods that were designed to understand communication and behaviors and then induce a change in them.
This technique relies on language processing, (although not natural language).
The two masterminds behind NLP believed that it was possible to identify the patterns of thoughts and behaviors of successful individuals, and then teach them to others.
Grinder and Bandler have written books on the topic, that can be quite helpful for people who are interested in learning what exactly is NLP.
How does NLP work?
You can look at it this way — people operate by inner “maps” of their world that is learned through personal sensory experiences.
These individual maps can be modified. That’s where NLP comes in handy. It can, or at least tends to, detect and modify the unconscious limitations of an individual’s map of the world.
However, it should not be confused with other types of therapies, as it’s more complicated than that. In a way, it’s a mixture of everything that results in success.
Therapists that work with Neuro-linguistic programming use conscious language to make a change in someone’s behavior through their unconsciousness.
NLP practitioners use all sorts of techniques including:
It’s an excellent procedure which can help patients become more confident and relaxed when, for example, you are meeting new people. In other words, it can really help you with your social skills, among other things. Anchoring turns sensory experiences into internal or external triggers that will bring out a specific emotional state. Therefore you will feel the way you want to feel, whenever it is necessary.
Do you experience compulsive behaviors such as biting your nails when you are under stress, or lighting a cigarette every time you see someone do it?
These actions of yours are triggered by a certain stimulus. The NLP Swish pattern helps people in addressing these thoughts or behaviors and changing them with to a more desired outcome.
The practice operates through empathy, creating trust and understanding. It means seeing the other’s point of view and understanding it, then get them to do the same. It’s an extremely important and powerful technique, but above all its very subtle.
Visual/kinesthetic dissociation (VKD)
The past needs to remain in the past. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it seems. Many of us carry a baggage of unpleasant negative past thoughts and feelings. Through VKD effects of past traumatic memories that are deeply damaging for individuals can be easily eliminated. It can also help with phobias.
Even though we think that we know how to overcome a bad habit, it doesn’t happen all that easy. That’s because we set up our goals with the conscious part of our mind.
However, the real goal-getter is the unconscious mind. If you don’t know how to communicate properly with your unconscious side, then it would be a real challenge to give up on that bag of potato chips that you eat every night even though you know it’s bad for your health.
NLP can help in all areas of your business and personal life, by using perceptual, behavioral and communication techniques, making it easier for people to change their actions and thoughts.
All in all, it’s a quite complex technique that cannot be explained in only an article. That is why I encourage you to research NLP. There are many other examples and fields where the Neuro-linguistic programming technique can find a practical use. However, you will see that it is still uncertain whether NLP really works. The studies conducted on this method are somewhat different and show mixed results.
So, despite more than 40 years of existence, Bandler and Grinder’s work has yet to be proven by a solid research. But if it really does work for everyone, not just certain individuals, then in the near future this might be the next big thing. No more irrational phobias, say goodbye to your past traumas, learn how to react better in unpleasant and stressful situation, etc.
NLP will provide a better and more conscious society and a brighter future for humankind.