Reading time: 2 minutes Sep 25th 2010

One of the things I loved in an interview with Richard Bandler a few years ago was when he was asked where is NLP going? He replied instantly that NLP isn’t going anywhere because it isn’t alive. Now, of course, we all talk ‘about’ NLP and sometimes our language refers to it as if it is an ‘it’. But the key is not to assume that NLP can change our life. Because ‘it’ can’t. Only we can.

The Irish Institute of NLP has recently celebrated its ninth birthday. For almost ten years, my training partner Brian Colbert and I have taught thousands of people from across the world to use the skills and attitudes of NLP to change their life.

One of the things that I believe makes us stand out and deliver high quality trainings is the focus that we have on making the concepts as simple as they are. As far as I’m concerned this is pretty rare in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Often, the more complex the ideas sound then the more valuable they are supposed to be.

I have read my fair share of NLP books and sadly found the vast majority of them repeating the same message with the same examples or presenting the ideas in such a convoluted way that it was near impossible to understand them. For me, the simplicity of NLP works like this.

It’s a set of attitudes and skills to do with how you think and communicate that allow you to improve your life when you use them. You are the one who needs to use the skills and have the attitudes for you to make the appropriate changes. If you go to an NLP Coach, they will use the skills and attitudes to help you make changes.

The problem comes when we become obsessed with the ‘idea’ of NLP and we forget to actually practice it. I know I have slipped from time to time from practicing the skills but I always remind myself to get back on track. Unfortunately, there are many people who ‘speak’ NLP lingo or talk all about it but fail to actually use the skills.
So what do I mean by using the skills. If you want to create rapport with someone, you pace the representational system they use, mirror their body language and ask yourself how can I help them get what they want? If you find yourself thinking in unproductive ways, you use the meta model and challenge your limiting beliefs by using the questions on yourself. If you have to make a sales presentation, you prepare by practicing using anchors, creating powerful states and using Milton Model patterns.

These are just some basic examples that should be obvious but yet they just aren’t. So, how are you using the skills of NLP to change your life?

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