13 NLP presuppositions
I have used these 13 NLP presuppositions and practiced on a regular basis; These 13 NLP presuppositions are the foundation of NLP. These are simply assumptions about yourself.
You will find tremendous changes in your life if you take these 13 NLP presuppositions as empirical truth of life. Start assessing your word with these 13 NLP presuppositions and see the changes.
1. If you keep doing what you did, you will keep getting what you got.
We must be more flexible with our behavior and specifically the choices we make.
You can not expect different results for the same actions and effort you put in. If whatever you are doing is not working or not giving you the results which you simply want, change what you are doing.
Imagine, if you are trying to open the lock with one key and that is not working, will you keep on trying using that key or change the key.
In life, also whenever we get stuck, we keep on repeating the same actions again and again also expect different results.
Everyone is responsible for the state of their own life. It is difficult to control external factors, but we can always change the way we want to respond to the situation.
If we keep reacting or repeating, in the same way we will get the same results only.
I have observed this in multiple places. Let take an example of an office.
I am sure you all must have one colleague who wants to control everything. They believe in my way or highway. They might feel that they are successful, but people know a workaround to handle this person.
You will also have a colleague who is loved or liked by everyone; he/she is always flexible with his/her dealings with others. They help everyone and treat them equally.
In my experience, the second one is not only liked by the subordinate but also by the management. This is because of his/her behavioral flexibility.
Try this, Imagine your ideal workday and try to find out where you can be more flexible in your dealing. Notice the changes you can make in your behavior.
2. The meaning of communication is the response you got.
This NLP presuppositions simply mean that the result which you got from your communication becomes the meaning of it.
The only parameter for successful communication is the response you got.
For example, you ask your housemade to bring water if he/she brings a bucket full of water. It’s your fault you did not clarify you want the water to drink.
I know it is a bad example, but you get the idea right.
People respond according to what they think you meant to say, not actually what you meant to say.
To get the right result from the communication, that responsibility lies with you always. You have to make it clear what you intended to say.
For Example, You appreciate your spouse for the excellent cooking skills, for the particular dish he/she has prepared today. You just say “It was terrific”. Chances are if terrific means something bad to her/him they feel sad.
Let’s take another example, You delegate a task to your subordinate and he/she does the exact opposite to what you expected. Then it is you who need to change the communication with them.
So according to this NLP presuppositions, The key to successful communication is, conveying the message in such a way that the other person understands in the same manner.
Try this, Can you find out how many times you are able to communicate the way you want to others? This will help you to take the onus of communication on yourself.
3. The map is not the territory
We are taking millions of bits of information through our five senses every second. The brain’s ability to process this information is just 7 plus or minus 2. Most of the information deleted, discarded, or distorted.
We may not know the reality as it is because of the filters of our values, beliefs, and states. In simpler terms our conscious awareness is limited.
We all experience the world and reality differently and create a map of our experience. So my maps are different than yours.
For example, when you say food, non- vegetarian will assume non-veg food while vegetarians will assume veg food.
We are continuously creating an internal map in our mind. This map is created by picture, sound, feelings, tastes and smells.
So when you are describing an event it is not an event itself, but how you perceived that event.
For example, If you watched a movie with your friends. You may like it, others may not. You will give good reviews but others may not.
I have written a detailed article on NLP Presuppositions, the map is not territory, you can read it here.
4. Respect the other person’s map of the world.
To understand this NLP Presupposition, you must have read the article on the map is not territory.
As we know, everyone creates their own map based on the belief, experience and circumstances they go through.
The map can be different for different people for the same event.
For example, You and your friends went to watch a movie, each one of you will share the experience about the movie differently. The movie is the same but the maps are different.
You may not understand or agree with most of the explanations on my blog. Imagine if you had the amount of experience, added with values and my belief system, You may agree.
This NLP presuppositions, asks us to respect each other’s map of the world. This allows you to have more flexibility on part of your own behaviour. As mentioned in earlier NLP presuppositions, a person with more flexibility will always win at communication.
While we respect each other’s Maps, we can understand their point of view, this can be an added advantage while communicating with them.
We may not have to necessarily agree with other’s map of the world, just have respect for that. We all see, hear, feel and process information differently; it is that simple.
Try this, can you understand another person’s perspective? Try to walk in the shoes of another person at least once in a day.
5.Every behavior always have a positive intention
This NLP Presuppositions can be also expressed as
A person is not his/her behaviour
Every behavior is useful in some contexts.
Everyone is doing the best they can do with available resources and circumstances.
I know it may sound so strange but no matter how negative or positive the behaviour of the other is, it must be serving some purpose to them.
Our all actions are aimed to achieve something, and for that, we have all reasons to behave in a certain way.
This applies to everyone, so the next time when someone annoys, it must help him to achieve something for him or her.
For example, we all know smoking is injurious to health, but we all have friends who are smoking. With this NLP presuppositions in mind, you can understand that smoking must be serving some purpose to him or her.
If you can identify the positive intent behind this behavior, you can also try to search for alternative behaviors that are less harmful and can serve the same purpose for them.
Try this, Can you observe the positive intention of other people? How about identifying a person from whom you get negative vibes. Try to find at least one good intention of theirs.
6. There is no failure there is only feedback
Have you ever faced failure? Like you really wanted to achieve something but simply could not do so. This NLP Presuppositions states that each failure brings the feedback with it.
Imagine, what changes it will bring to life? If you start to look at all failures as feedback. It is just another opportunity to take action without repeating the same mistakes.
We can stamp the unsuccessful attempt negatively as a failure or we can try to learn from it and find out what went wrong.
Failures are feedback about corrections we need to make in order to achieve what we want.
In order to achieve what we want, we should continuously map our progress and this could be possible with help of proper feedback only.
Remember this, Feedback is positive but failure is negative.
Let’s take an example of Two students, both of them failing the exam. The first student keeps on studying and improves on the process. While the second one is taken aback by failure and does nothing about it.
The first student commits to self, that he/she has to pass in this exam and will not repeat the same mistake again. The second student has now developed a fear of examination and not studying.
The first student has taken failure as feedback learned from his/her mistakes and working towards achieving his/her goals.
Feedback motivates us to work towards the solutions while failure affects adversely on our morale and self-confidence.
7. We have all resources we need
The NLP presuppositions can also be termed as
There are no unresourceful people there are only unresourceful states.
There is no negative experience, only negative meaning to the experience.
We have all resources in order to achieve success. Some of the states like anger, anxiety and overwhelm can prevent you from accessing those resources which are usually readily available.
With NLP and awareness on NLP Presuppositions, you can help yourself or others to ways to access these resources.
Remember, it is only the negative behavior is just an emotional or mental condition, this does not mean an inherent attribute of the person. So if you are not able to find quick solutions let the time just pass. We react as per the circumstances we are in.
If you practice self-control and meditation, you will be able to replace negative states with a positive ones.
We are always in some kind of state. This state varies in intensity based on the emotion, physical condition and mental factors. If you can change those you will be in a different state.
For Example. Whenever I am feeling bored or moodless, I listen to my favorite 90’s songs that lift my mood up. I sometimes take a long walk and this immediately clears my mind of all negative thoughts.
The most important thing is how you are currently feeling this affects your performance greatly. If you are a trainer and you are not feeling confident to deliver the training you will not perform up to the mark.
Find the ways by which you can change your state easily, this will take practice.
8. The mind and body are one system.
The mind and body are not separate, they are part of the same system. They affect each other.
This simply means what we think affects our feelings and our feelings affect how we think.
If your body tense you feel tense and vice versa, you can make a change to one without affecting another.
It is now proven by many types of research also. Many psychosomatic diseases are the effects of our thoughts on our body. Now the awareness for mental health has also increased. Earlier it was only physical well being now it’s about holistic well being.
This simply means if you change your physical conditions it will have an effect on your mind.
If you change your thoughts, it will have an effect on your body,
The advantages of regular exercise are known to all, it also helps our mind. You must be doing meditation also it calms our mind and helps to relax the body,
To take advantage of this NLP Presuppositions, You can do many things.
If you are feeling bored, do some yoga, or just take a walk.
If you are not able to focus, do some meditation,
If you are feeling tired, do some stretching and meditation.
The point is if you are having a mind related issue change the physical condition will help and vice versa.
9. Every experience has a structure and structure can be changed
As we know from earlier NLP Presuppositions, We create an internal representation of each experience in our mind. We make this internal representation through our five senses.
To put in simple words, we create an experience in pictures, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.
These experiences will have further distinct qualities, For Example Sound will have near or far, high pitched or low pitched, loud or soft. Pictures will have further details like color, movement, brightness, and so on. This will be for each of the internal experiences.
In NLP there are techniques to change or alter this behaviour in our favour.
With help of NLP techniques and NLP presuppositions we can change the intensity of any experience.
For Example, If you have some image that makes you sad, you can make that image more colorful if it is black and white, to push it far, there are many ways you can change the impact of the experience.
This concept in NLP is known as submodalities, I will write a detailed article soon on NLP Submodalities.
10. There are choices in response to every situation.
This NLP Presuppositions, can also be referred to as
You can not not have choices
People always respond to the situation with the choices they are aware of.
Most successful people are those who believe that there are solutions to every problem, we just need to look for it.
If I tell you, if you follow this NLP Presuppositions you can get rid of anger, anxiety, and fear. Yes, it is true.
When we are angry we are not able to see the other solution, if you think like you have multiple options to choose from you will be more calm.
If you believe in this NLP Presuppositions there are chances you will be able to find solutions rather than feeling angry, sad or depressed.
We all have a pre-defined system, built-in us, when we face a certain situation this system becomes active and consciously or unconsciously we behave in a certain way. Sometimes we regret after behaving like that. Does this ever happen to you? It happens to me.
Imagine, if you had a choice of behavior to choose from in order to react to that situation, how amazing would it be? Isn’t it?
You just need to believe that you can find more solutions, and will not be stuck to one single behavior. This will take time to get rid of old ways, but with practice, you can make it.
If you firmly believe that there are multiple solutions to the problem then that problem is no longer a problem for you. That problem will no longer bother you the way it used to bother you in the past.
So in simple words, it’s good to have options, if you develop beliefs the solution is everywhere no one can stop you from achieving your goals.
11. You can not not communicate
This one is most interesting of all NLP Presuppositions,
You are always communicating, whether you are speaking or not.
We all communicate by verbal or nonverbal communication, like you know verbal communication includes written and oral communication.
Nonverbal communication includes posture, gesture, and body language. It can also include tone of voice.
For example, This is the sentence. “Did you take my wallet?”
- Read this sentence imagining as you are angry
- Read this sentence as you are asking your spouse in a romantic tone.
- Read this sentence imaging funnily inquiring with your friends.
The sentence is the same: your tone, gesture, and posture makes an impact on your communication.
For example, Your spouse is angry with you for some reason, but he/she does not talk to you. Does not participate in the discussion, keeps mum, and isolates himself or herself. Does it communicate something to you? Yes, we do not need verbal communication in some situations.
The research says that nonverbal communication has more impact than the verbal communication. It is well said that “No response is also a response”.
12. Modeling a successful performance can lead to excellence.
In the NLP presuppositions, the founder of NLP believed that if you model the successful performance you can also achieve excellence.
When Richard Bandler and John Grinder founded NLP they have taken inspiration from many role models.
It is simply believed in NLP the performance can be copied or modeled to.
The people who are extremely successful in their field have reached an unconscious level of excellence at that field. They may not be able to answer why they are successful.
In NLP there are processes and techniques you can use to model the behavior, you just need the small details like their submodalities and all.
So, If you want to run like a marathoner, and are willing to put effort. NLP Presuppositions can help you to build required beliefs, values and enable you to make necessary changes in your environment.
You need to do all the things like a marathoner, You see, listen, feel, and practice like them. With help of NLP strategies, you can achieve that.
You may not have that high ambition, but want to learn the good aspects of your colleague.
For Example, Your one of the colleagues is extremely good at time management and you want to learn that, you can do that by using NLP strategies tools.
NLP modeling is a vast subject, please follow this blog for more details.
13. People are much more than their behaviour.
The NLP Presuppositions states that people and their behaviour are different.
We behave differently in different situations. so if your boss is shouting at you for a petty mistake. This does not make him/her a bad person.
We all behave based on the state we are in, the emotions we are having, the environment we are in.
By saying that, Your shouting boss can be the life of the party. The person is the same, the context changes.
If you label a person based on their behavior in a particular environment, that will be very unjust.
For Example, Observe yourself. How do you behave in an office? At home? Outing with friends? You are the same in all situations, it is only situations that change.
If you are a strict boss at the office will you be a strict friend on vacation? Probably not.
If you see, person and his or her behaviour separately then you will be able to communicate more effectively. This will certainly help you to become less judgemental.
I always see people behave based on the environment, capabilities, values, identity and they change due to external factors.
These are the list of 13 NLP Presuppositions, the list may vary from presenter to presenter.
I have tried to cover the NLP presuppositions which I use in my coaching practice regularly.
Which NLP presuppositions you liked the most, share your views in the comment section.
I know you may find this blog on NLP Presuppositions is quite long and how you can use them for your benefit. To use this I am sharing NLP Presuppositions exercises to help you.
NLP Presuppositions exercise
I have learned this NLP Presuppositions exercise from NLPU blogs.
If you are facing any negative emotions, let us say you need to make a decision and you are not able to make up your mind. You can use this exercise, you can also use it to get out of negative emotions.
Here is the process.
Please make sure you have enough space, this NLP Presuppositions exercise will require you to move quite much.
- Imagine at the center you are putting the problem statement, for example, how do I approach career change?
- Then arrange all NLP presuppositions around this problem statement. Like all NLP Presuppositions are encircling the problem.
- Stand on the problem statement space and explore the feeling in quite a detail. Like how you behave, you feel, you see or you hear in that particular problem.
- Now gradually move to the first NLP Presuppositions, and look at the problem statement, like you are standing on “The map is not the territory”. You might want to explore if the problem is the same as you were imagining?
- Make sure you have explored the presupposition fully before moving to other NLP Presuppositions.
- You have to continue this exercise till you have explored all NLP Presuppositions or may want to spare more time on some of them.
You can make notes at each and every NLP Presuppositions, this will help you to find the solution to the problem easily.
You can use this NLP Presuppositions exercise to get rid of negative emotions, to break bad habits, to create new habits, to set new goals, or anything you need to think through.
I have used this exercise to make my career change and it helped me to give more perspective on my decision.
Where are you going to use this exercise? Share your thoughts in comments.
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