Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to Train your Brain

One of my favorite courses of study for self-development is Neuro-Linguistic Programming.   Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. NLP analyzes the connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.  Bandler and Grinder also claim that NLP methodology can “model” the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire those skills.

Though it was built for clinical purposes, it’s most common uses have been in the field of personal development.   NLP can be credited for putting formal structure to using Rapport in sales.   It also permeates almost everything you read or hear about performance optimization.

And, for better or worse, is synonymous with his most visible expert – Tony Robbins.   Though he has gone into many other areas, most of Tony’s early (in my opinion way better) outputs where largely NLP.

I have heard NLP accurately described in many ways that all seem pretty true:

      • NLP is about how words and thoughts lead to goals and actions
      • The quality of our life experiences are largely driven by the quality of the conversations that we have with ourselves and others.  NLP provides the effective framework
      • NLP is the study of what works and how to replicate it.
      • If you think if the brain as a cell phone, NLP is how you add and remove aps to make it work better.

Or one of my first thoughts was “Jesus Christ, it’s like I’m seeing into the matrix.”

Basically, yeah, I like it.

So, I am making a series of shorter (than this) posts on what NLP is about and how it can help you in everyday life.   This is going to follow the path of the “Pre-suppositions” that NLP is built around.   This is a group of 14 premises that are effective enough to be held as truths when building your model of the world.

But first, we are going to look at the NLP model for manifestation.   Like many thing in NLP, it’s going to seem pretty common sense.   Which is kind of what NLP is all about.   NLP doesn’t not focus on right or wrong, or should or should.   It revolves around “is this effective” and “does it serve you”??

Which, to me, is wayyy more important and less subjective.

It’s also nice because simplicity is important for replication.   Building many models on many parts of life to help make your life serve your more effectively.   So let’s look at the Path to Manifestation:

Programming -> Thoughts -> Feelings -> Emotions -> Action -> Results


Programming:   Everything starts at the level of thought, or energy.   Someone gets a thought or inspiration from…..somewhere.    You might call it God, the Ether, inspiration, the muse.   Wherever it comes from, EVERYTHING  starts with the spark of an idea – which starts a vibration in someone’s mind.

And, if you don’t have one………you can program that too.    You can actually program yourself to have an idea.   It might start with an area of your life that you want to improve.   Think of the area you want to improve and lock yourself is a quiet secluded room for 30 minutes a day.   You WILL start having some thoughts.

Programming is about telling your mind what to do.   In a computer, a batch of silicon semiconductors comes out of an Intel assembly line blank.   Your brain is the same way.   It’s the programming of the computer (Windows/Mac OS) that is added later that makes it work.   Someone has to program the computer of your brain.    If you don’t do it intentionally yourself, someone else will.

Or, you can  learn this and do it with your employees and customers.   <shrug>

Like I said, NLP isn’t about right/wrong.   It’s about what’s effective.   Right/wrong is up to you.

The programming phase of NLP is what is often packaged and resold as “The Law of Attraction” or “The Secret”.   It’s where something is sooo damn interesting to you that you REALLY like thinking about it.   Hopefully you can’t stop thinking about it! The Law of Attraction/Programming phase of NLP is where you intentionally tell yourself to …..

Thoughts:  think about it more and more.  So maybe you put thoughts to paper.

Then maybe someone convinces you to put notes on your mirror.

Or maybe your create Affirmations.

You ever wonder where those tips of creating morning/evening affirmations came from?   The people who told you to tape a goal to your mirror every morning?   To write down and read your goals?   Yep, NLP.    Thoughts is the NLP process where you think about something enough to the extent where you…

Feelings: ….get an emotional response to it.   Where you start feeling a certain way when you think about it.   Where the thought vibration seems to go through your whole body.   Excitement.   Enthusiasm.   Where just thinking about the Thought (previous step) makes you feel good and energized.   You are obsessed with the dream.   And because it feels good, you think about it more and more until……

Action:   ….. Emotion creates motion.   You take action.   You love the dream so you take the first steps.  This could simple come in the form of a Google search and lead all of the way to applying for a job or starting a business.

It could manifest in tell/asking friends about it.    You are taking action on your idea until it becomes a plan.  A plan is a series of thoughts, driven by feelings, to create a course of action.

It’s awesome, crazy, and undeniable –  this path of manifestation.   For some people and some thoughts, this step could take minutes or seconds.   For others, months and years.

Generally, though, it’s pretty much continuous.     Your life is a series of this loop until it’s over…… Your Grand Result.

In our living lives, this loop of manifestation is continuous.   You have an idea.   So you think about the idea.   You see how that idea feels.   If it doesn’t feel good, scrap it.   Think about a new idea – or think about the idea in a different way.   Until you find an idea that…..feels….good.

So you think about it more and more, and the emotion builds and builds.   Until it turns into Inspiration – and emotion.

If that feels emotionally good enough, you take action on it.

And that will creates some sort of Result.    If you don’t like the result, you don’t want to give up.   “Don’t give up” is ……..mental PROGRAMMING.

You automatically go back to step one.   You/society had already “programmed” yourself with that notion.   So you think (“Thoughts”, step 2) “I need to find a way”.   Which will create a feeling and an emotions (“hell yeah” or “nope”) to drive a new course of action.

All seems super logical and “duh” right?    Yep, I get that.   Now, let’s look at using it to Intentionally Reverse Engineer our lives!

How many people do we know in our lives that were programmed by their parent on what they should think about.   Told what they should do, who they should be, and what they should want.   Many of them are programmed real good and go out and get it.   And are miserable!!

Look at all of the people who are told to go out and get married and buy a house.   Divorce rates, debt levels, and use of anti-depressants (prescription and non) are at all-time highs.   I think that it has a lot to do with so many people’s thoughts and actions not being congruent with their REAL feelings and emotions.

I read an article recently that was entitled something like “Explaining 10 things that Older Generations Need to Understand about Millennials”.    A couple of them were real good.   The one that stuck with me was basically “You all can’t understand why we aren’t in a rush to get married, buy a house and start a family.   You don’t consider that we are probably the first generation to see the previous 2 generations do exactly that – and be MISERABLE.”    It’s a good point.

This is why you are seeing more and more people advise young people to reverse engineer look at life in a different way.    To actually PROGRAM yourself to THINK about the things that make you FEEL good while doing.   Then, PROGRAM yourself to find (thoughts) ways to make is work (action).

A couple of years ago I was talking to my friend Steve about his nephew.   His nephew was in his late 20’s and was working on a business that us old guys (early 40’s and 50’s) didn’t completely understand.    I remember saying to him, “Well here is the thing I’m learning from a lot of the books I’m reading and podcasts and stuff:  With the internet, the world is connected in a way we can’t understand.   You can make $100k per year now adays doing ANYTHING.   But you have to do THE SHIT out of it.  You have to go all in.   You can make $100k doing doll house furniture.   But you have to do the shit out of doll house furniture.   Make 3 websites selling it.   Do a blog.  Do a podcast.  Create a chat room.   Talk to people in chat rooms.   You have to do it like crazy!!!!   But for some people, that’s better than sitting in cubicle calling leads.”

In fact, recently a kid won $3,000,000 for winning a video game tournament.  Ridiculous – you think.   Is it?   You want to say “these kids don’t want to work, they just want to play games.”   Oh, games??   Games like the millionaires in NBA and NFL that get millions playing a ‘kids game’?     I double dog dare you to work the next year on hour job for the hours and intensity that the $3 million kid played his video game.     It’s these kids who built their lives around what makes them feel good – and going all in on it- that have created a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR esports business.

The results that are generated by NLP can be seen in every aspect of human achievement.   In this series of posts (every Tuesday and Thursday) we are going to look at the underlying rules or tenants of NLP.  They are also known as “presuppositions” or “convenient truths.”   If you understand and incorporate these truths into your life, you will live better and achieve more.  Money back guarantee.

In our previous blog post we looked at how to use NLP to add ANYTHING to your life.  Because, if anyone else in all of human history has done something, you can to.   You can use this proven process to make it happen.

NLP is awesome.   If will change your life.   The study of NLP is based on a set of Presuppositions.   Also known as “convenient assumptions.”   In short – If you accept these as true rules, and implement them in your life, you will have a happier more effective life

  1. Respect for other people’s model of the world.  You don’t have to buy into it though.

This one seems particularly important, and missing in today’s world.   It goes back to one of the core tenets of NLP: Rapport.   If you have a level of rapport with someone you are communicating with, you will have a better experience.   Especially if you are trying to influence them.

When you argue with people, they are only going to dig in deeper on their point of view.  However, if you gain rapport they will not.

Ask yourself – “Who in the world do I trust the most?”

You all have the same answer:   Yourself.  We like ourselves and trust ourselves the most.  That’s why 90 years ago Dale Carnegie said that our own names is the sweetest song that any of us hear.

Since we like and trust ourselves, we are more likely to like and trust things/people just like us.   The reason for that is another groundbreaking concept that came from NLP:  The idea of assuming positive intent.   We like and trust ourselves because we assume positive intent.   We assume that all of our actions are rooted in the idea that the things we do are with, at least, the intention of positive impact to our lives.

The concept of assuming positive intent is at the core of Respecting the other persons model of the world.    I think many people have forgotten that it IS possible to listen to an opposing view to yours and simple choose to not agree.   And it IS possible to do it quietly in your own head.

But here is the thing that most people don’t consider when thinking about the people that they disagree with:  If you were born exactly the same time as that person, to the same parents, and lived the exact same life and experiences and influences — you MIGHT just think the same way.

We are all just doing the best we can.   If you can at least to think from a higher level about that other person’s model of the world you might get some insight into why they think that way.    If you can disconnect from your own experience a bit, you might even find some options of how THAT PERSON thinks this model is serving them.

We are later going to learn that the person with the most flexibility in a system will generally control it.   So, if you can connect with that person at the level of where they think their model of the world is serving them, you might actually gain rapport and have a chance to influence them to see things a different way.   If they see things enough different ways, one of them might be your way.

2. Behavior and change are only evaluated in terms of context and Ecology

Right vs Wrong and Good vs Bad are very subjective.   Does this work or not is a lot less arbitrary.   NLP focusses on what is effective and whether or not the things that drive our lives are serving us or not.

Drugs serve as an interesting example.   In the last post I wrote about “assuming positive intent” in people’s thoughts and actions.    Meaning that it’s important to respect someone’s model of the world by assuming they are going to act in a way that THEY THINK (their model) is going to cause a positive improvement in their world.

So let’s use someone killing themselves with a heroin addiction as an extreme example.   To an outsider, you can clearly see that killing yourself isn’t a great idea or course of action.   However, to the person doing it, being dead or numbing themselves with the drug might be a better option to living.   That is their model of the world.

NLP tells us that if you want to change the behavior, you don’t focus on the right and wrong of doing drugs.  You focus on why they want to feel the way they feel on heroin.  Understand the context of why they are choosing that route.   Then, once you have rapport (again, you don’t have to buy in and do heroin) you can suggest other courses of action.

The concept of Ecology was a real eye opener to me as well.   In the larger world, the term of Ecology has been taken over by the world of nature, earth, and our physical environment.    However, the real concept of Ecology is apply the same IDEAS to the larger world.

NLP teaches it’s practitioners to think of their lives – and the changes they are seeking in people they are trying to influence- in terms of a greater Ecology.    Ecology means asking:   Is what I am trying to do good for Me AND the person I’m working with AND the larger entity as a whole.   In environmental concerns, it means thinking of the World as a whole.   In our everyday lives, it might mean our company or family unit

Let’s use ecology in the context of a corporate environment.  Almost any company is going to have a salesperson.   That sales person is going to want prices to be as low as possible.  That why they can sell more an make more money.   Then they will defend the concept by saying that the lower prices will help bring on more clients.  So we are helping more clients by delivering our world-changing product at a lower price.

It’s a win-win!!!

Unless you are delivering the product at an non-profitable price.   Then, like a laprey fish that sucks the nutrients from the side of a host fish until it eventually dies, this is not Ecological.    When you sell products at an unprofitable price long enough the company will either close or investor/owner capital will be allocated elsewhere.   Now the entire unit is dead.   That is not Ecological.   It’s good for you (customer)  and good for me (mo $$) but not good for all of us.

3.  Resistance is a Sign of lack of rapport.  If you can’t build rapport, you must respect their model of the world.

In NLP, it all starts with Rapport.   Getting into DEEP levels of rapport with the person you are communicating with.   NLP was originally built for use for clinical psychological work.   To formulate NLP, the founder meticulously studied people who were curing phobias and things like alcoholism in single appointments.

Yep, you read that right.

And the core thing they learned is that it ALL comes from rapport.   The more that the people you are working with are like you, are similar to you, and think the way you think the more likely that they will do what you want.   In sales and office environments, we have been learning for years to have small talk conversations with people to build rapport.

That’s surface level, amateur hour stuff y’all.  Sorry.   REAL rapport is at away different level.   You ready for some deep shit?

REAL rapport is at the unconscious level.

You know how we always hear that “we only use 10% of our brain”?   Not true.   Our conscious mind uses 10%.   Our unconscious mind uses it all.   It sees everything and it runs everything.   It takes something like 127 muscles to raise your index finger up and touch your nose.   You think your conscious mind could process all of that and still remember to breathe??

Want more proof?  Ok, here’s a fun one.  Both of your eyes can see your nose at all times where you are looking even vaguely forward.  Without anybody telling you, your brain decided way early “I don’t need to watch this” and deletes it for the rest of your life.    Until you read that…sorry.

Back to our point: Real Rapport comes in the unconscious.   We all have the same answer for who the one person on the planet that we trust the most: Ourselves.   So we have a tendency to trust the things most like ourselves.   So, when building rapport going forward, consider these other things:

  • Tone of voice:   Speak to the person you are communicating with is a similar tone of voice.   Don’t mock them, of course.   God I hope I don’t have to say that.   But adjust your natural voice up a bit for the sake of the customer.  This often goes hand in hand with
  • Speak in a tempo that is similar to that of your customer.   Dr. Matt James had a great story for this.   He relayed an earlier experience he had as a fired up young man.   He was trying to sell something to an older gentleman in the deep south.   Matt was young and fired up and bouncing info off of the prospect.  To which the client was answering in extremely slow…….low……and measured……….tones…….and tempos.   Finally, at one point, the Southerner asked Matt “Young man, do you hear ….the way….I am speaking with you…”    Matt replied “yes sir” thinking “and it’s driving me nuts.”   To which the man replied, “Well, young man…….that’s the speed I’m listening to you too.”
  • If communicating with someone in person, match and/or mirror their body language.   Again, don’t mimic!!!

Let me paint you a picture:   You are in a huge hurry to get something done, when you suddenly realize that it’s going to require the assistance of a co-worker or vendor.   Because this project or task is super important (to you), you go rushing in to their desk and sit on the edge of your seat telling them what you need them to do.    To which they promptly lean back in their chair, swivel over to their work station and start typing.

How does that make you feel about their effort to be on your team?   Does it seem like they are looking out for you?    Ummmm, probably not.

Here’s the thing:  You don’t know them or how they work.  What if they have a back issue and the reclined posture is how they work faster.  You don’t KNOW that having them sitting on the edge of seat with an upright posture (like yours) would actually generate a faster or better output.

Same thing if you are mulling your options at the car dealership and the car guy is leaning 3/4 of the way over the desk staring you down?   Is that a fella that you trust?

Getting body rapport with anyone you are trying to work with or influence.   I have a great story about this that involved a pretty girl and psychic that I might save for another day, as I don’t want this post to go on too long.   It one of the biggest things that the unconscious mind will pick up when determining “is this person like me?  Do I like them?  Do I trust them.”

You do this with a process called “Matching and Mirroring.”   With this practice, you subtly use similar body language, mannerisms, and gestures as the person you are trying to work with.   If they are sitting upright with their hands folded – you sit a little more upright maybe with your arms overlapped at the wrist.   If they are kicked back with their arm slung over the chair next to them – slide back a little more yourself, maybe with the side of your elbow on the table.

And watch their mannerisms.   If they point at things, point a little more.   If they use a lot of hand gestures, use more yourself.   Just not quite as much as they do, at least at first.   Likewise, if they are sitting still with their hands neatly on their lap, you are probably not going to get very much rapport by communicating like your Joe Pesci arguing with Robert DeNiro in Good Fellas.

Working on the phone?   Sit how you think they are sitting.   What’s it going to hurt??

Listen for the words they use for “Representational Systems.”   Getting a little more advanced here.   I think we have most all heard that we receive almost all of our information by sight, sound, and touch.   There are actually 2 more – smell and taste- but let’s keep it simple.   Well, people will actually, literally, tell you what theirs are when they are speaking with you.

Listen to the words they use like “See”, “hear”, or “feel”.   When you notice them using these terms, feed them back to them.   They are telling you the words that are the password to your heart.

If someone is telling you “This just doesn’t sound right to me” – don’t come back with the “I know how your feel, and what others have found…”    People aren’t one size fits all!   Give them “Ya know, I hear what you are saying.   Let’s talk it out a little more.   We can find something we can both agree on.”     Experts can even work in “Here at DTWS mortgage we always find a sound deal.”   The person will hear the “here” as hear.   I swear – not making this up.

If someone says the deal “just doesn’t feel right”, offer some new perspective “to help get their arms around it.”  Offer some “tangible savings”.   Maybe talk some more about how they will feel in the house or the car.   “I feel ya.   I just want to find you the best deal so you can sleep well knowing you got the right deal when you laying around in your new house.   That’s what we are all here for.”

Those are the basic ones.   Experts in NLP will actually train themselves to match the blink rates and breathing rates of their subjects to getting into that amazingly deep level of rapport that almost can’t be refused.    You might think that sounds ridiculous that someone could do it, but it’s true.    The unconscious mind of the subject can pick up this and know it.   It’s just another deeper level of “this person is like me, I can trust them.”

You have heard the old expression:  If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it probably is a duck.   If I talk like this guy, tempo like this guy, sit like this guy, use the same terms and hand gestures like this guy, and blink and breathe like this guy – I will probably like this guy.

NLP teaches us that the key to overcoming resistance is Rapport.   If you are hitting roadblocks and rebuttals with your clients, it’s because you don’t have enough rapport.  They don’t believe that you are wanting what is best for them.

So pay more attention to finding out what they want, by listening to them on all levels.   Focus more on that than how you are going to present what you are offering.   If you are EVER talking over the customer, you are not focusing on rapport!!   There is NOTHING wrong with having a couple of seconds of silence after a person stops speaking.

You can even ask a person “what would be your definition of a ‘real best case scenario’ from doing this?”    A lot of times, the first half of the sentence if going to give you the first hint on how to work with them.   “I need to feel good about…..”   “I need to see a benefit……”   “You need to tell me…”   “Whoever can show me…..”   “I feel like I need to…..”

Once you have rapport that you are on the same map and model of the world, they will believe you are going where they want to go, and will follow you there.

4.  People are not their behaviors.  Accept the person, change the behavior.

Stem Cells. Do you  know how Stem cells  work? They were first  discovered in the Umbilical  Cord. They are blank  Cells that can become  any other cell.

they are the cells that  become US.    And just like these cells  that we are made oat  of, we are born  as a blank slate.  Neither Good nor bad.  Neither successful nor  unsuccessful.  Its what happens from  then on that defines  as as a person.

Which is why we would want to accept the person, and change   the behavior.

Alas, murder is illegal

In NLP, the concept is that” if one person  Can do something -Anyone else CAN do it too.” It takes the right attitude and behaviors. Because, as we noted on previous posts, attitude will lead to behaviors which leads to results. That’s just how the game of lifeworks.

So, to encourage the person to change, you will want to accept the person. Accept  that the CAN change. Believe in them so they believe in themselves. This will increase their emotion and radically increase the odds of  Success!!

5.  Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available.  Behavior is geared for adaption, and the present behavior is motivated by a positive intent

“Be kind…. for everyone you know is going through a great struggle.”

That verse was written . on the wall in a Church I used to go to. I always liked that. Its a good perspective.

When was the last time you spoke with someone, asked how they were doing, and heard them say ” Ya know. I really could Stand to have life dump a lot more on me. I’m a little light on responsibility.”

My guess is the high scone answer is maybe 1 person ever. It never happens. In our own minds, we always have 500 much responsibility. Whether you ane Eton Mask running 5 companies while exploring space AND dinging holes to drive in or the average parent with a job and kid responsibilities.

We are all doing the best we can…. Until!

Until life changes and we HAVE to do move.

Until you get offered that amazing promotion you can’t say no to.

Until you have that once in a lifetime opportunity.


You gain new resources to do move. You get a new tool (technological or psychological) to accomplish more. Or maybe someone shows you something that expands your perspectives on what is possible.  THAT can give you a new, better definition of “the Best I can do.”

So when you are working with someone, you will do better at inspiring positive change if you (1) assume they ave going to operate from positive intent and choose options they think will have positive outcomes for them, (2) they ane going to do the best they can, and (3) they will do more if you give them new resources that they believe will have positive effects for them.

This is how you Inspire people. This is how you lead.

6.  Calibrate to behavior.  The most important information about a person is that person’s behavior.

I am on a plane right now as I am writing this. And we are off-coarse. I know it. I just freaking know that we are off course!

I know we are because almost every airline flight is off course (As defined by “most direct path”)something like 90% of the time. But they always seem to get there. How?

They get there because it’s only the beginning and ending that matter. To the travelers we only really care that you pick me up at the right place and drop me off in the right place.

It’s “Where am I now,” and “where am I going”?  That’s what really matters.

And it’s the same for the people you are trying to inspire. Whether it’s your friends, your kids, or your employees. Where are we now and where are we going?

In the middle, we are going to use the our NLP tools to show them new possibilities.  To create a new “the best I can.”

Then you are going to give them resources to accomplish things.   And they are going to take your resources.   Because they are going to act in their best interest.  Also, they aver going to believe in you because you have rapport (not the same thing as a job title!!!).

THIS is how you propel the people you are working with FORWARD.

Now it’s about getting to the right destination. How do you go that? You check and recalibrate.  You will constantly check progress and recalibrate.  You calibrate the Behaviors to get there.

The pilot of this plane will not change who he is to get us to the right airstrip. He will change his behavior and turn the plane.

In business, Dennis Sivers famously said “No idea ever survives first contact with the Customer. ”

So you calibrate and change, calibrate and Change. It’s the same with you and the people you communicate with.

If their behavior isn’t going to reach the Goal, they have to calibrate and change their behavior. If ALL of them aren’t doing the right behaviors – then you must calibrate your behavior to get a better plan or better rapport.

7.  The map is not the Territory.  Different people have different labels for different things.   The words we use are not the event or item they represent.

What color is a Stop Sign?

Go ahead and picture it in your mind. What does it look like ? What is the color? Is that your final answer?

Did you say “Red”?  And are you 100% Save that Is the correct answer and nobody could have another correct answer?

What if I told you that I just left Cabo San Lucas Mexico and A whole bunch of people say its Roio? And it turns out they are correct too!!?? And just 2 sentences ago you were 100% that there could be No other 100% right answer than Red.

But it turns out THAT is correct too.

Ok,  you are probably saying “those are the same thing.” And I’m probably definitely saying “No they are not. They only have 1 letter in common and 5 that are different.”

To which you will say, “Yeah but…. ”

What I am trying to point out is that pretty much everything in our life’s experience is just what have decided to define them to be.

That’s worth reading again: pretty much everything in our life’s experience is only what have decided to define them to be.

That Stop sign can be defined as “Red” or “rojo”.  Hell, before you can do that someone has to establish “Stop Sign” in your mind.

Here is the trippy thing: Everything else in your life works exactly the same way. Up, down, left, right, good, bad are all relative definitions that have been constructed throughout our previous life experience.

“All things you see are just inferences based on patterns you have seen in the past.   That does not guarantee continuance in the future.

Everything we see/experience is a NAME for a PATTERN we have observed in nature.  The narrative is just the paradigm that we have given it.  Based on our past experiences, and the experiences of others.

Is a Red shirt still red if you are color blind??

Even all of science is still rooted in rules that assume it to be true.  These assumptions can change or be proven wrong.   Science is patterns and regularities that we put labels to.  That’s it.   There is no concrete logical reason to KNOW it will continue.

Consensus does NOT equal truth.”

In our lives we have all seen our definitions/judgments change.  We have changed many times through careful deliberation. Many were created in an I instant and never 2nd guessed. However ALL of them ARE subject to change and under our control. NLP is here to give you the resources for the Change.




Quoted section is not a direct quote but a summary of a podcast I heard with Firas Zahabi.   Zahabi is one of the leading mixed martial arts trainers in the world, coaching the likes of Georges St. Pierre and others.  He’s a smart guy.

8.  You are in charge of your mind, and therefore your results.  I am also in charge of my mind and therefore my results.

It’s all about Empowerment.   You CAN create your own future.  NLP is entirely built upon the idea that “If any one person can do something or achieve something, everyone CAN do it.  If you study and model that persons thoughts, actions, any physiology.”

It doesn’t say ‘as easily’.  For example, there probably isn’t a model out there for me to win the NBA dunk contest at 6′ and 44 yrs old.  Because, as you re-read the previous sentence, there is no precedence for that to study and model.   However, I bet there is some training course that could probably get me to dunk within a year and a half or 2 years.

Though anything that is worth doing, that is of significant value to your life, is going to require effort.   Because, if you aren’t pushing your boundaries you are not growing.   And everything on this planet is either growing or dying.

Rule 8 says that this dedication starts with YOU being in charge of YOUR mind.   Whatever you set your mind to, you have to be all-in on.

Napoleon Hill said in his GREAT book “Think and Grow Rich” that you must go to battle with the willingness to burn the bridges behind you.  Which might be a little extreme.   But only a little…

“You are in charge of your own mind” means that you burn the bridges between your own mind, and it’s goals, from the outside world.   The roadway between you mind and the outside world must be a 1 way road going out.  Not in.  What the world thinks doesn’t matter.

The millennial-whisperer Gary Vaynerchuk is monumentally outspoken on this.   Proclaiming that what others think if your goals doesn’t matter.   A google search will likely turn up hundreds of clips of him talking to kids who have friends or family telling them that their ideas are stupid.   His most common answer is some version of “Are they Rich?  No? Then fuck em.”   Because Gary knows that you can make $100k a year doing anything in this world.    But you have to do THE SHIT out of it.

The great part of Presupposition 8 of NLP is that YOU are in charge.   You are the controller of your world.  You are the decider, the doer, the getter.   And if any other person has done what you want to do, there is a path.  It’s up to you to decide to find it.

If you are off the path due to some outside forces, you can get yourself back on course.  Because you are in charge of your brain and your brain is in charge of the world.   Your world.   It can do whatever, to say what needs to be send, to find whatever resource is necessary to achieve your goal.

All we need are resources.  Because our previous rules established that we don’t need to change ourselves as people.   We just need to add resources – ideas , thoughts, tools, learnings, exercises, discipline, drilling.  These are like aps to our phone that are out there in the world to be put in.

Every excuse people give for not being successful boils down to “not enough resources”.   Not just money or materials.  “I don’t know how to” is a resource.  But all this means is that you are not resourceful enough to get it!!

You are in charge of your mind.   If you are not in charge of your mind 100%, you are in charge of changing that.   So you are in charge of your results.   If you are not getting the results you want, you need to start by changing your mind.   Our first post of this series established the undisputed map of success as

Programming > Thoughts > Feelings > Emotions > Action > Results

So it all starts with your mind and your programming.   Want to take control back?   Here is ‘fun’ idea from the great Tim Ferris.  Open a journal entry where to you list the primary things that you are not happy about in your life.   Then journal on the ways that you are complicit in it happening.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  And be the strictest definition of CAN when thinking about what you can and cannot do.

Just because it’s may not be advisable, your actually CAN punch your boss in the face.   Haha.   Just using and extreme example to exemplify what I mean.   Or a more real life version is that you do have a mouth and CAN tell your parents to get out of your life.

Again, this exercise is not to decide to DO these things.   It’s just to create the freedom within your mind to see the things that are possible.   It’s the idea that creates the idea for the idea that works.

It’s one of the first steps down the first path of the million mile road to being in charge of your brain, that is in charge of your life, that is in charge of your results.

9.  People have all the Resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes.  There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.

For this one I’m going to turn to The Master.   The Genius.  The Giant.   Tony Robbins.   He was in town about a year ago and did an action packed 5 hour talk.   Since he only had 5 hours, the main topic was controlling your state.   Your state of mind and your state of Body.   Haven’t heard of that one before, have you?   It’s a good thing you read Well That Makes Sense.  Because your body is bigger than your mind.

So might as well be mindful to use 1 to control and maximize the other.

Let’s take a step back first and go over what he defined as The Success Cycle.  Because Tony is a master of NLP, it’s a shorter version of the manifestation plan we have spoken of before.   In the shortened Tony version it’s just 4 continual steps:
1. It starts with a belief.   A belief that you believe over and over until it ads the emotion of certainty
2. This leads to Potential.   The potential of finding that map of the world that achieves your belief.  Which carries you through to
3. Action.  Go do it.  Do the hell out of it until you get
4. Results.   These results lead to a new belief or certainty.   You now believe this is the right action/belief.   Or the wrong one.
Then you start the cycle all over again.

The key to the whole equation is ACTION.   Potential just means that you haven’t done shit yet.   Action requires energy and it’s real hard to have solid action when your energy is low.   Or you are around low energy people.  So change it.

Tony is a big fan of the NLP practice of training your mind to train your body to be high energy.  Every excuse people give for not being successful boils down to “not enough resources”.   Not just money or materials.  “I don’t know how to” is a resource.  But all this means is that you are not resourceful enough to get it!!  You have to raise your energy and you can’t focus on what you are lacking.

If you want a new result in your world, you have to take a new action.   Which will require a new behavior.  To do that, you HAVE TO change your state.

What mental state would make the behavior you want be natural?  Then the fastest way to quickly change your mental state is to radically change your physiology.   The 2nd fastest way is to change your focus.

Pro-Tip:  Do both.   Listen……Do…Both.  And here is the map

First change your Focus.   Find your own way to get your mind focused on the goal.  Or on the positive.   If you don’t know any off hand, use the Law of Attraction until you find one.  It says “I intend to see, I want to see, no matter who I am working with,  no matter who I am talking with, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing….I intend to see what I want to see.  I attract to myself, My Life, and My Business whatever I give my attention, energy, and focus to – whether positive or negative.”

That has popped up on my calendar/phone at about 8:10 am for about 10 years.  And during tougher times, I would snooze it to re-read and think about 4-5 times a day.   Find yours.  The one that makes you feel good when you read it.   Whatever you gotta do, change your Focus to the positive and “I CAN”.

Then change your Physiology.   Jump up.   Shadow box.   Jump up and down on a trampoline.   Yep, I said it.  I know it looks goofy.  But fuck em.  It works.  I swear.   Find one of those little trampolines and jump up and own while putting your focus in line and call me back.   I double dog dare you.   It’s better than a Red Bull.

Damnit, I need to get one of those things.   I swear, I’m looking on craigslist after I write this post.

Whatever you gotta do, change your focus and your physiology.   It works.   You think all of those athletes that have their celebrations are “showing off”??   Not entirely.   It’s called Anchoring.   They have built this strong positive emotional response to THAT radical change in physiology.

That radical change in physiology helps focus them on the task at hand.   Which will lead to a new or better action.   To Elicit a better result.

Because, if you don’t know control your own Focus and Physiology – who runs your State.   Control the State of You!!!

10.  All procedures should increase Wholeness.

This just means to consider how the change you are making impacts the person as a whole.  Not just one part or one goal.

Ask “Who do you want to be” not “what do you want”?  Does THIS action get you there?  Are there negative side consequences.    Massive amounts of caffeine might give you energy and it might make you sick to have more down time.   Just like staying up late to do work can been seen as good.  But does the incremental work done outweigh the diminished production the following day?  Or lower quality??

So think of the total person as a whole.   For example, there was a story relayed by Dr. Matt James ( of a client that wanted to be a stage example for one of his seminars.  The guy was massive and his health was suffering.   He ate cheeseburgers A LOT and wanted Dr. Matt to help him out.

Using a NLP technique, Dr. Matt built a negative association in his mind to cheeseburgers.  To the extent that they ordered and brought one back after lunch and he had no interest in even smelling it.  Amazing, right?!

However, that night he went to dinner with some friends.  Happily ordered a salad as he told his friends of his miracle of the day.   Wholeness was violated when a waitress walked by with a sizzling steak and the smell almost made him throw up.

It turns out that the mental picture he used for the exercise was “red meat”, not “cheeseburger.”   So Dr Matt worked with him and tweaked some things to make it work.   However serves as a great example of wholeness.   Giving up cheeseburgers but can’t go to restaurants is NOT taking the person as a whole into account.

I always like the idea of the 5 Why’s.   To make sure you are addressing the problem and not the symptom.   So think about “why do I want X?”   Then do it 4 more times.  Why do I want that?  Why do I want THAT?  And why do I want THAT?

Of course, NLP has a great exercise for this as well.  It’s called a Values Elicitation.   And a simple version of it goes a little something like this:

      • Pick an area of life that you want to improve.   Relationships, Health, Wealth, Career
      • What do you want to improve about it?  Set a goal for that improvement
      • Now ask/journal for yourself to honestly answer “If I have <that exact thing> in my life, what would it let me do?”
      • Now ask/journal: What does <that exact thing> open up for you?  What is the perfect scenario of that look like?”
      • Now, let’s says that – sometime in your future- you have <first thing> and <second thing> super dialed in.   Like totally cranking and perfect.   How would you that make you feel in your life?”   List the feelings.

Generally it will turn out that the 2nd things is actually the core value.  So, in the future you should make your decisions from THAT.  And look for things that help bring more of the feelings in the last step.  Those things are your true feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

 11. There is ONLY feedback!   There is no failure, only feedback. 

Edison failed to invent the light bulb 2000 times.   It’s not failure until you stop.

Pre-Supposition 11 is probably the most important one of them all.   It’s fundamental to a successful mindset.   No goal worthwhile will be achieved without resistance.   Or ‘momentary failure.’

If you are more comfortable with the analogy of ‘losing the battle, win the war.”    Just like how we learned on an earlier presupposition, no person is inherently evil or wrong.    Not situation is ever just one thing.

So we want to look at every reaction as feedback.  It is a piece into a larger puzzle.   Whether the response is positive or negative – it’s just feedback of THIS moment.   It’s a snapshot of a place and time and situation.   It’s a puzzle piece into the bigger puzzle of a successful life.

If you can’t see the full puzzle – zoom out.   Or to use a NLP term, Chunk Up.   Chunk Up to a bigger picture view of this.   Ask “What is this an example of”?    What can be learned from this?

As MMA fighting great Connor McGregor often says, “We win or we learn.”    Because he knows 1 lost fight isn’t failure.

It’s only failure if you stop toward the larger goal.

NLP teaches us that every time your work with or talk to someone, you should pay attention to their responses as feedback.   Not just what they say, how they say it.   Much of communication is unsaid.   It’s in the body language.   We hear that over 50% of communication is tone and body language.  Those studies came from people looking at NLP.   NLP brought the notion to the forefront for others to study.

One of my favorites ways to explain this concept is looking at your baby on the floor.    Imagine that first time your child is pulling themselves up to their feet, bracing themselves for their first steps.   Exactly how many times are you going to allow them to FAIL at walking before you say “Stop.   No.  You are no good.  Walking just isn’t for you.”    Answer!   How….many…..times?

Well, that is how many times you should attempt to reach your goals.   Everything along the path is feedback.   Crashing into a wall, is a sign that you haven’t found the door yet.   Step back (chunk up), look around, survey the situation in a bigger concept, and try  a new course of action.   Get more feedback.

Just keep moving forward!   Once you collect enough data points of what doesn’t work, you will find what does.   Try new things.  Fail.  Fail more.  Fail harder.   And keep trying new and harder problems, so that you fail more.   If you are not failing regularly, you are not pushing your life to try big enough or hard enough problems.

 12. The meaning of Communication is the Response you get.

This is a great one for the time we live in.   Sooo many people want to say everything they feel to everyone in the world (generally via social media).   Then they get mad when people do the same back to them.   They get hurt, they get angry, they get “triggered.”

Fortunately, we study NLP so we know this is neither “right” nor “wrong.”  That is not a domain that we tread into.

We are NLP Practitioners, so we view these feedback episodes in a different light.  We say “is this effective?”  What are the goals of the interaction, and does this move any party toward that goal?

What IS more effective is looking at your communication through a lens of “The meaning of communication is the response you get.”   If other words, what you say to others isn’t about you.

It’s about them.  Communicate in a way where the receiver understands what you are saying.   Not in the way you think they should.   It’s not about you.

Even if the whole point of your communication is to be understood, you must be mindful that the meaning is the response you get.   You stating your feelings to another might make you feel better.   However, if that person doesn’t act in a way that is congruent with your feelings and needs, the statement of your feelings is useless.   Instead be mindful to relay your thoughts and feelings in a manner that is in alignment with the needs of the listener.   It will be much more likely to be received well and acted upon favorably.

This presupposition is particularly important for sales people.   You absolutely MUST communicate in a way that is congruent to how the listener wants to hear it.  Because the whole goal is to get the response that you want – the Sale.   So you absolutely have to communicate how the listener wants to hear you – including your mannerisms and body language.

A simple example of this comes from my career in the mortgage business.   The mortgage business looooove acronyms.  People almost stop being people.  They become a FICO, an LTV, a DTI, and a Comp.   These mean nothing to people who have never worked in the industry.  That is why, when I was a sales manager, I told all of my LO’s:  If you catch yourself using a term you didn’t know 3 months before you started in the mortgage business – stop and explain what that means.

Though this doesn’t only mean the words you use.   This comes even more from HOW you are communicating with your clients.  Your pitch, your pace, your tone, your body language.   When you are tired or feeling low key, you don’t want to be bombarded by some hyped up guy talking fast and leaning in.   It’s off putting.
We like people who are like us.  Because we trust Us.  Since we trust Us, we trust things that are like us.  So be like them.   Match their posture.  Match their pace and tone.  Match their mannerisms and expressions.  Don’t mimic – just be similar.

All of this will help you improve the recipient’s receipt of your message.   If they understand what you mean, what you are communicating, and your intent they will be more likely to give you the result you seek.

13, The law of Requisite Variety:  The system/person with the most behavioral flexibility will control the system.

This one is pretty straight-forward.   The person who finds many ways to achieve success has a higher probability of achieving success.    Plus, more versions of “success” will increase the probabilities of achieving “success.”

Right now I am writing this at a coffee shop in a mall area – on Black Friday.   Risky – yeah I know!   Taking my life into my own hands.  I come here often so I know the area.   Based on the experience getting here, I am not looking forward to the process of leaving.   Many many vehicles in the area.

I know my preferred route to home from my spot.  I know the exact route I usually go, which includes areas where traffic tends to bunch and hold up.   There is an excellent probability that I will hit many hold ups since this involves multiple stop signs and traffic lights.

If I follow the Law of Requisite Variety, I will be flexible in my routes home.   I could use google maps and maybe take a less direct route that has less traffic.  So actually going more mileage could end up being faster and easier.    Meaning that, being less dogmatic in my route could get me there faster and with less hassle.

I could even add a higher element of Requisite Variety by allowing for different versions of success.   At some point today, I also need to go to my friend’s house to pick something up and also go to the grocery store.   This now gives me many opportunities to do some or all of these errands in 1 trip to have many different versions of success.   Some versions might will actually involve driving the exact opposite direction of 1 or 2 of those goals.

However, for our applications on NLP it’s going to involve our ability to work with different people toward a goal.   So as long as we calibrate to the goal, we shouldn’t be strict in requiring the path.   We learned in previous posts that “The Map is Not the Territory.”   So everyone might not see “right” or even “best” the same way you do.   That doesn’t matter as long as you are moving toward the goal or purpose.

Many of the exercises in NLP and hypnosis center around visualization.   We will ask the subjects to visualize things, times, or places in their lives and focus on the feelings that created.   What matters is how THEY define the situation.   For example, if the listener is instructed to “picture an elephant” in their head, you won’t know what they are actually seeing in their mind’s eye.   And it doesn’t matter.   They could be visualizing an animal that everyone else calls “Zebra.”

It doesn’t matter, as long as they believe it’s an “Elephant” and they have the feelings they associate with “Elephant.”   If you use the law of Requisite Variety, you can take the unexpected path and still achieve the desired result.

One application of this in your life is when bringing new team members into your world.  This can be in work or in life.   The Law of Requisite Variety would tell you to be prepared to work and communicate with them in many ways to find out what works the best.   Don’t assume that, because you are doing the same job, you got there the same way.   Some people may have found success by great training.  Another might have found the “right way” by doing all of the possible wrong ways and determining what doesn’t work.

If you are flexible enough to work with many or all of these possibilities, you are preparing yourself for an exponentially increasing change of succeeding.   Be the McGuyver in a world of strict science teachers.   Being a swiss army knife is better on a hunting trip than a butter knife.   Be strict on the goal and flexible on the how.   Or as Milton Erickson said, “They are free to pick absolutely any option they want from the options I have given them.”

 14. All procedures should be Designed to increase choice.

This rule is so liberating.   It opens up limitless potential.

Because almost everything in our life experience is contextual, it is important to use NLP to open up choices.   Not guide people to what you think is the best outcome.   You are not them.  You don’t know what they REALLY want and desire.  Even if they tell you, they could be lying.  Shame and vanity are very motivating.

This is one of the more glorious things about NLP that blew me away learning it.   Skilled NLP therapists can actually work people through huge life problems without even asking them to tell them what they are.

Many techniques don’t require the therapist to know the specifics.  They can work with victims of childhood trauma, or PTSD, and have great success without making the victim retell the story.  Because, with the principles and methods in NLP, all that matters is that the client knows what happened.

Even then, what really happened doesn’t matter.  All that matters is what they think happened.

Then, when the therapist is working with the client, they still don’t tell them what they can do.  They just expand their ability to see choices.  New ideas an options of how to think about things.  Different ways to view the event and their life since.   Help them to see new ways they can choose to put that behind them and move forward.

We resist things that want to order us what to do.   We love new ideas that we come up with.  Those will be more powerful.

So when you are helping people in your life get through things, look to show them new options and new choices.  Refrain from telling them what to do.   They will like you better and be more likely to take action.   When you use the other presuppositions in this series, you learn the skills you need to radically increase the probability of getting a good result.

And when you are really good, you can live the great Milton Erickson quote of:  My clients are free to choose any option that they like…………from the selection I have given them.    (hint: you aren’t that good yet)


Programming > Thoughts > Feelings > Emotions > Action > Results