Reading time: 2 minutes Mar 25th 2010

One of the biggest mistakes people make in NLP is they confuse a persons behavior with their identity. As soon as you label a person a ‘visual’ you are immediately making a gigantic mistake. The truth is that people are never ‘visuals’ or ‘auditories’ or ‘kinesthetic’. Instead, they are people who do stuff.

Sometimes they use visual terms more often. Sometimes they use auditory terms and sometimes they use kinesthetic terms. The only thing you need to know about this is that if you use the same kind of words as they use then they will probably relate to you better. that’s it. full stop. There is no need to do any analysis of their personality characteristic. The same is true of meta programs. A person isn’t a towards person. They just are more motivated by what they have to gain or move towards in that context.

The idea of labeling in the first place is simplifying and shortcutting the required steps for one person to do when they are trying to understand the other. The problem is that in doing so it actually causes them to miss a lot of information. As soon as they label the other person and put him in a box, that becomes who he is so from then on, they look at him in the same old way.

When you label a person that is how you see them so you filter out all the other information except that which fits into the model and predictions you have decided upon for this person. This makes you really stupid. The trick is to do your best to always see other people as engaging in messed up behaviors or having different preferences of behaviors rather than ‘exhibiting different traits’. When you do that, you’ll be smarter in dealing with them.

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