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The Ultimate Introduction to NLP
How to Build a Successful Life
- Read in 13 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 8 key ideas
The Ultimate Introduction to NLP (2012) offers a fascinating primer of Neurolinguistic Programming, or NLP, a novel approach to the ways your thoughts and language can “program” your emotions, behavior and communication. When you learn to master NLP, you’ll connect better with the people around you, have a healthier outlook on the future and lead a happier life, too.
Key idea 1 of 8
Everyone creates a mind map they use to understand the world.
What causes humans to disagree with each other? The answer is simple: we see the world in different ways.
Everyone creates a map in their mind that they use to make sense of the world. This concept is central to the idea of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP: a person’s understanding of the world is based on their internal map, not the actual world around them. Your personal map is a composite of your ideas, values, knowledge and preconceptions.
When you create your map, you employ three basic processes.
First, you delete some of the information around you. Just think of a city map: it doesn’t have cars or trees on it. Your personal map is also missing certain things, but they can be much bigger. Have you ever walked down a familiar street and noticed a shop for the first time? That’s because your map didn’t include the shop before you noticed it.
Second, you generalize. Physical maps generalize too: roads are all drawn the same way and water is always the same shade of blue. Making these generalizations on your personal map can get you into trouble, however.
Sometimes it’s good to generalize information, like “hot things shouldn’t be touched,” for example. However, if your partner cheats on you and you become paranoid that everyone will cheat on you, this can become a serious problem.
The third thing we do when using our maps is to distort information. A map of a city distorts information because it's flat and smaller than the actual city. On your personal map, you might distort information by attributing meaning to things when you shouldn’t.
Imagine one of your colleagues doesn’t greet you one day. Your map might tell you to believe that they’re angry with you – but they might just be late for a meeting.