You’ve heard the acronym ‘NLP’ many times but what is it actually about?
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and it is used to understand and change human behavior patterns.
- Neuro refers to the neurological system – the world is experienced through the senses and the sensory information is translated into our thought processes, both consciously and unconsciously. These thought processes in turn could have an impact on our physiology, emotions as well as behavior.
- Linguistic refers to how we use language to make sense of the world – Because language has a role in the way you capture and conceptualize the world around you, the words you use can influence your experience of the world.
- Programming refers to the process of learning things – We all use the different internal strategies and patterns to learn things and make decisions.
The idea is that all of humans share the same basic neurology. Your ability to do things in life essentially therefore depend on how you control your nervous system. NLP shows that your neurological system is directly related to your linguistic and behavioral patterns. Since all of them are essentially learned through experience, or programming, you can also gain control of these aspects with the right modelling.
The idea is that external behaviors are controlled by internal processing strategies (like an internal recipe that your brain follows). So, while you are making a sale, for example, you are using an internal processing strategy to engage in the behavior, even if you don’t consciously know it. With NLP, you are able to understand and utilize different strategies, which can ultimately help you achieve certain goals.
How was NLP born?
NLP was first developed in the 1970s by Richard Bandler (a psychologist) and John Grinder (a linguist), in California. The two men drew upon previous theories in the fields of psychotherapy, language and personal development and created their own therapeutic form of improving human behavior.
Bandler and Grinder believed that our neurological processes, language and our behavior are all connected. By focusing on certain skills, we could use the connection to our advantage and possibly treat problems ranging from phobias to psychosomatic illnesses.
Parts of NLP are deeply rooted in ideas and techniques from people such as Milton Erickson, Noam Chomsky and Carlos Castaneda.
Since early on, Bandler and Grinder wanted to understand the complexity of human nature and how different aspects of the brain interact with others. In 1975, the two published a book called The Structure of Magic I: A book about language and Therapy, which has been the basis of the system and how it is used by therapists and other practitioners.
Why I chose to be NLP Certified
I was drawn into NLP for several reasons:
- I have a scientific background (maths, and engineering major at school) and at first, everything has to make sense to me. NLP gave me this comfort. It’s an art but with a scientific angle. By studying NLP, I was able to connect with my unconscious mind and accept that my unconscious mind is my friend.
- I was looking into ways to let go of limiting beliefs.
- I was looking to improve my understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication cues.
Do you want to know more about NLP?
Here are some further readings for you:
- Read my article Your Mind is an Iceberg
- The movie Inside Out
- Free training Intro to NLP from Inspire 360 (where I graduated from!)
- Tony Robbins
- NLP for dummies