I decided to take up a formal NLP qualification last year. Other than the obvious intention of adding more credibility to my training and HR consultancy as a licensed practitioner, I had personal reasons for joining the class, too. Two years ago I had experienced a sudden loss of a loved one and ever since then, I had felt, I was being engulfed by a strong sense of unresolved grief which I thought NLP might help me with! I had heard raving reviews about the positive changes the latter brings about and while I was eager to learn about it, I must confess, I was still quite skeptical about the impact it would have on me, in the long run!
However, the first day in the training and I already knew why people claimed it to be a life transforming experience! There are many NLP presuppositions that form the foundation of Neuro Linguistic Programming and are fantastic but in this post, I shall only be sharing the ones I found to be most helpful to me. Here they go:
1. Everyone has a unique map of the world and each one responds to it differently:
This is such a powerful concept and explains why some people react so differently from you even when you are faced with similar situations. Do you often feel frustrated with someone for what he/she does or does not do? Well, that’s because, simply put, he is not you! His map is different from yours. His perceptions, his perspectives and his model of the world and hence his way of acting or reacting will not necessarily be the same as yours, in fact, he could possibly be way different from what you believe in or expect! Think of any objection, concern or even complain you have had with someone in the recent past: Why is she so aggressive? Why is he so submissive? Why can’t’ she take a stand for herself? Why doesn’t she reciprocate love and kindness, the same way I do? Why can’t they be more genuine? Why does he always compare? Why is he always so negative? Why can’t she be more realistic? Why is she so cold and expressionless? Why are they so thankless? Why can’t she be warmer? Why is he so hyper and over excited all the time? Why can’t she move on and get over it? What! he has already moved on, but why? These and many more similar queries will often come up when you are encountering various people in your life, every day. It is but natural to be affected by what people you care about, do or do not do. However when you start acknowledging ‘the difference of maps’ in various individuals in your life, you will start being more empathetic and understanding of how and why the react, the way they do.Now, I am definitely not suggesting that after reading this presupposition, you will transcend to an extraordinary, ethereal level where you will start viewing each and every person positively and favorably irrespective of what they do, but yes, after reading this belief, you may already be looking at different situations & people with a new light in your eyes!
2.The meaning of communication is the response you get!
At work or even at home we often feel exasperated for not being understood. Why doesn’t she listen? Why is it so difficult for him to understand? Why she always, misunderstands? This is where this NLP assumption comes in handy! In every communication, our purpose is to influence the receiver. It could either be an emotion, advice, instruction, statement or a combination of all these. Now, this communication will only be meaningful and will serve the purpose, if the recipient responds in a way, that you have intended him to respond. I once had a helper who habitually misunderstood every instruction I gave her which annoyed me profusely and even though I had promised myself not to react vehemently, I did end up being thoroughly frustrated. After reading this presupposition I belatedly realized that my communication failure with her was more my fault than hers! You see, before asking her to do anything I had already made up my mind that this instruction would have to be reiterated several times before I could expect it to be executed smoothly. The result being an unconducive, irked tone of voice combined with vague details of what had to be done, shared rather half-heartedly. If I had varied my communication style the very first time until I had elicited the desired response, then I probably would have saved, both of us, more time and energy! Some communication variations include adjusting the tone of your voice, the volume, facial expressions, eye contact as well the words themselves. It would be a good idea to ask yourself the following questions: Are you using any jargons? Have you given too many instructions in one go or did you leave out some important details? Is your tone too gentle or too firm? Are you squinting your eyes or furrowing your brows? Is there eye contact? Is the eye contact too intimidating? Do you look interested or bored or tired? The best way to know if you are on the same page as the recipient is to gauge his reactions and response; if they seem satisfactory then go ahead, if not then go back to the previous questions and reassess your communication style! To summarize, in any communiation initiated by you, much of responsibility to impact it positively lies with you and not the other party. Once you believe this premise to be true and start taking responsibility for what you want to exchange, trust me you will be an even better communicator than you already are!
These two founding principals or presuppositions really helped me in reevaluating my relationships with several people and changed the way I looked at them and to be honest, it was quite liberating. After all harboring grievances and holding on to grudges can be quite draining, isn’t it? It’s okay to feel vengeful and resentful in some situations but when you are lingering on it for too long and more than necessary, remind yourself; her map is different from yours and move on. Neuro Linguistic Programming is indeed a very interesting study. The presuppositions are just the beginning of your NLP journey with me and you already seem quite fascinated, aren’t you? Well, imagine what the rest of it will be like! Stay tuned for more blogs on this topic and be ready to learn many more interesting concepts behind this amazing science. I love NLP and by the end of it, I am positive, you will too!
Until next time,