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NLP presuppositions - what are they and how can they help you? Part 1

Updated: May 8, 2022

Last month I started my NLP Master Practitioner programme. I first came across NLP in 2018 when I was encouraged to go on the NLP foundation diploma with the fantastic NLP in the Northwest. I am so so so glad I did, it changed the way I think and feel about so many things, the way I interact with others and gave me so many tools to support clients. I highly recommend NLP for anyone who wants to make changes, achieve goals, interact better with themselves and others or just to learn more about different ways of doing things.

What is NLP though? In a very small nutshell, it looks at how you think, feel and behave and the links between these. Basically, it helps you to look at why you do what you do and offers a guide to change unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

A big part of NLP is the presuppositions, in fact I would say they are the foundation on which NLP (and any effective way of working/being) is built on. They are a set of ‘statements’ that you can hold to be true, that you can, if you believe them, integrate into your life, to help make positive changes. Now these are not hard and fast rules, I am not saying you MUST 100% believe in them, but when you do believe them they open up so many new, positive beliefs and ways of being/working.

In this blog and the next I am going to briefly present my take on the ones I hold to be true, in some places you may see them written differently, may see ore, may see less, to me, though, these are the ones I believe and integrate into what I do and who I am. Have a read and let me know what you think, which do you like?

1. The map is not the territory

We have all had different experiences over our lives and understand the world through our senses which influences how we see the world.

The way we see the world, the way we map the world, is not an accurate depiction of how it is, just a reflection of how we perceive it, everyone will see things a little bit differently, there is no right and wrong only different perceptions

Whatever you focus your attention on is what you will see in the world, it is like being in a dark room with a torch and only shining it in one place, that is all you will see whereas if you move it around who know what wonders you may find.

2. There is no such thing as failure only feedback

When you see failure as a bad thing you feel bad when you ‘fail’ at something, you use the failure as another stick to beat yourself up with (how big is your wardrobe of sticks you use to beat yourself up with?). If failure is a bad thing you may set yourself high, often impossible to reach, standards which cause stress/anxiety. How would it be, instead, to see failure more as a lesson in how to do something different next time? To see it as testing a theory, being persistent and growing?

3. You are not your behaviour

The way you, anyone behaves, is not you, the behaviour is separate from your identity. Behaviour is a learnt pattern, (often dating back years and years and years) which means, if it is not serving you, it can also be unlearnt and a new, more productive one put in its place. This leads onto the next presupposition…..

4. If what you are doing isn’t working do something different – do anything different

As I often say, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got, so if you don’t particularly like what you have always got maybe it is time to change what you have always done and do something different? You are only limited by what you believe is possible because….

5. Possible in the world and possible for me is only a matter of how.

If something is possible in the world, if another person is capable of doing it, then you are too, it is just a matter are determining how. If you tell yourself that you can’t then you won’t so how about, instead, you find a way, because I fact, as the next presupposition says, you already have the tools you need and it you don’t you can create them…

6. We already have all the resources we need, or we can create them

You have a lot of resources/tool within you to help you in any situation, it is often just a case of looking at what you have and applying it, sometimes this may mean using things you have used in a different situation in the one that you are struggling with. It can also mean that if what you have tried hasn’t worked you just haven’t found the thing that does so keep on looking and testing. There are no unresourceful people only unresourceful states and you can change your state.

7. Energy flows where attention goes

Where you focus your attention, the things you think about and focus on, is where your unconscious will go, so if you focus on only negative outcomes then you are more likely to make choices that take you in that direction, more likely to see the negative whereas if you focus on positive outcomes, you are more likely to go that way.

8. Mind and body are one system

Your body and mind are connected; one affects the other. Your thoughts affect your feelings, affect your behaviour, and affects how you feel physically, change one of these and you will change the others.

If you have got this far and what to know more stay tuned.......

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