Maybe you’ve seen the ads, the sales videos, the over-hyped promises online.
“Push a simple button and the “magical software” takes care of everything else for you!”
“Just follow my copy-and paste blueprint for business success.”
“Get this business-in-a-box system and start making money in your sleep tonight!”
Maybe you’ve even tried some of these products in the past.
However, I can tell you right now that things like this often prove to be much more disappointing than you may expect. Why is that?
It’s because being an entrepreneur isn’t about following a proven system, a push-button miracle, or in any other way turning your brain off.
Being an entrepreneur is about being actively engaged in your own business and being willing to feel into difficult situations and go with your gut.
But even more troubling is the belief that you should be giving up control of your business to someone else or something else.
In my mind, this all can be traced back to the mindset that so many employees have. They simply look to their boss or supervisor for what they should be doing.
They are more like cogs in a machine rather than people capable of making moment-by-moment decisions on their own.
And when an employee decides to enter the entrepreneurship arena, they often come with this mindset that only seals their fate to plummet toward failure.
They essentially want someone else to be the CEO of their company while they can just sit back and reap the financial rewards of owning a business. That’s what makes so many of those automatic success systems seem so appealing.
However, I’m here to be the sobering voice of reality today. You will not find success at running a business or getting clients unless you abandon this mindset and get involved in your business.
You have to know your business and your customers better than anyone else, and you have to be willing to make difficult choices rather than expecting some guru or system to do it for you.
Yes, you can and should learn from others who are ahead of you, but you shouldn’t use them as a replacement for your own judgement and responsibility.
Get immensely intimate about your business. Learn why certain things work. Learn why others don’t. Take the reigns and really and truly “own” your business.
After all, like it or not, you’re the one in the driver’s seat and if you don’t take control of it, you’ll just end up driving it right into the ditch.
For some people, learning a subject like NLP over the internet can be challenging. If you think this might be your case, you may consider taking an NLP course in-person if you can afford it. Before doing this, though it is important to understand the options available before signing up.
The most important thing you should get clear on is what you hope to get out of an NLP course. Are you aiming at improving your own life through positive thinking, or are you an employer looking to improve communication and effectiveness in your business? Do you want to learn powerful rapport skills to help you deepen your relationships, or are you inspired to become a certified NLP coach?
If you want to improve your life through NLP, you may consider taking an NLP course in self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is essentially a form of visualization and positive thinking. These types of courses could be beneficial to people trying to achieve a goal such as loosing weight or landing a new job. It can also be applied to managing stress and overcoming anxieties, depression, and phobias.
As an employer you may want to take an NLP course geared primarily toward businesses. These courses can help coworkers learn to work and communicate better as a team and understand why their colleagues may see the world in a different light. By learning to work better together a company can have better unity and efficiency as a team. NLP can also be applied by sales associates in boost sales. Positive thinking brought about by NLP principles can help people shape and achieve a better working environment.
If you want to use NLP to deepen or heal your personal relationships, taking a course geared more toward this end will teach you more about building rapport and deepening connections with others. You can learns skills that can help you understand how others communicate and inform you the most effective ways to communicate back. By learning more about relating with the people in your life you can mend troubled relationships and even learn how to build new ones.
If you already know a fair amount about NLP and you want to help others with their own goals and enjoy the benefits of NLP, taking a certification course could be an excellent segue into a career as a life coach. As a life coach, you can use NLP to assist people with issues they have surrounding their career, relationships, health, and many other areas of life. You can help people see things in a new, more positive way so that they can understand where changes may be beneficial to them.
This entry will conclude my brief introduction to the presuppositions of NLP.
You have all the resources you need to achieve your desired goals
I like this one because it is so positive and uplifting. It affirms that each of us has the potential to grow personally and that there is no situation we can be placed in that we do not have the capability of achieving a desirable outcome. Sometimes the resources may not be easy to find, but if you stop and examine the goal or dilemma, you may surprise yourself by how well equipped you are for handling it. Even if you may not have the direct resources needed to reach your goal, you most certainly have the resources to get the resources you need.
Every behavior has a positive intent behind it
Every action has a positive intention behind it even if it may not be perceived as positive by other people.
Okay, you may have read that and immediately thought of your domineering boss or even remembered a bully you had to deal with in grade school. Well, even their behaviors, which may annoy, terrify, or anger you have a positive intent at their root as well. These people may be difficult to deal with out of a personal need on their part to create a sense of safety for themselves by making others fear them. Feeling safe is a positive intent, especially if such people have endured trauma or challenging childhoods.
Once you understand this, it becomes difficult to hold onto petty grudges and bitter rivalries you may share with others. This presupposition instills a sense of compassion for our fellow human beings, each trying to navigate their way through a complex world trying to find a little happiness.
Final thoughts on presuppositions
Test these presuppositions that we’ve covered here for yourself as if they were true. Try one out each day until they become second nature. Do you notice that some of them are harder to accept that others? This is because you may already have existing assumptions about life that contradict them. Take note of this, as this is something that can be addressed with skills that will be covered in future posts.
You do not have to agree with these suppositions, just try them on for size and see if they make your life a little more manageable. If they serve you, you may find yourself integrating them as part of your world-view.
Everyone responds according to their map of the world
You respond to all the stimuli and external events that happen around you based on your own personal internal map of the world you hold in your head. This map is based on what you believe, your values, your identity, as well as your attitudes, past memories, and cultural upbringing.
Sometimes someone else’s map of the world causes them to operate in a fashion that may not make sense to you. Understand that this is only because they have a different lens through which they are seeing the world and you might approach them with a bit more compassion.
The meaning of communication is the response it evokes.
No matter how well-intended or altruistic the message you meant to communicate may have been, the success of any interaction lays in how it was received by the listener. This means that it is your responsibility to ensure that you communicate as clearly as possible.
Once you adopt this belief, you will no longer be able to blame others for misunderstanding you. As a student of NLP, you have all the tools you need to sense that the other person is not receiving the intended message, and you will have the skills to be flexible and do things differently to effectively communicate with that person.
You cannot not communicate
Have you ever had one of those shy moments when you just couldn’t open up and communicate to a group? I hate to break it to you, but even in that moment you were communicating a message to your colleagues.
No matter what we do (or don’t do), we are always communicating some subtle or unconscious message to the people around us… whether we intend to or not.
People are much more than their behavior
In NLP, we make a point to separate a person’s behavior from the person themselves. Just because someone is behaving badly does not mean that they are a bad person. People can act poorly if they do not have the inner resources needed to act differently. Perhaps they feel stuck in an environment that keeps them from being the best person they can be or has somehow narrowed the options they feel are available to them. Helping people gain new inner resources or shed limiting circumstances can often motivate people to act differently and rocket them to new levels of success and prosperity.
Building off of my last entry, here are three more presuppositions in NLP that can help make your life work better.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different
When something isn’t working, there’s no sense in wasting your time beating your head against a wall. And similarly don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Try something different.
But before you move on to something new, take time to reflect and ask yourself why your initial action didn’t work. It is important to take the learnings from your unsuccessful attempts and use them to inform your next crack at the issue. Could it be that you haven’t communicated your desires clearly enough? Could it be that you don’t yet have the resources you need to achieve your goal?
There is a famous saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Let’s take a moment and try to stay sane by doing something different when things don’t work out.
Everyone has choice
I personally like this one a lot. This reminds us that no matter what corner we think we may have painted ourselves into, we always have a choice. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we can’t change careers, or move to a new state or country, or leave a troubled relationship, or any number of other things.
NLP blows the lid off this way of thinking by changing “I have no choice” or “I must do this” into “what if it was different?” This can open new horizons and give us access to exciting dreams we have unfortunately let atrophy over the years. It reminds us that the world is not just black and white–or even shades of grey–but a vast and varied spectrum of colors and experiences that we can choose to peruse at any time.
Modeling successful performance leads to mastery
NLP give us the tools to find people who are already successful at what we aim to do and break down their internal maps and ways of thinking into bite-sized chunks that we can take into our lives and emulate. Question them on what inspires them, what motivates them, and how they know when it is the right time to act. By modeling the behaviors, actions, and values of those who inspire us, we can begin to achieve the same successes that they have attained.
NLP is based upon several assumptions or presuppositions. These are not scientifically proven, but if you adopt these ideas, they can help make your journey through life easier. The next few entries will detail a few of these presuppositions.
The map is not the territory
Everyday we are bombarded with millions of bits of information from our senses. For the sake of our own sanity, we cannot process all of these incoming sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. We delete, distort, and generalize these through a series of filters to bring the incoming data down to a more reasonable level. I’ll discuss filters in more depth in a future post, but for now, know that they are limiting your perception of the world around you… and for good reason. We cannot process every fiber in the carpet or listen to every conversation in a room filled with a hundred people at the same time. We’d go nuts. So our mind winnows all this stuff down to what we can handle. It’s this stuff that we observe and it’s this stuff that we view as our life.
This can begin to become problematic when we start to deleting things from our experience that we actually DO want and instead only focus on what we don’t want. When I was in high school I had a crush on a girl that wouldn’t give me the time of day. I was so focused on her and getting her to like me, that I didn’t even notice that another girl actually did like me until several months later. I was simply deleting her flirtatious behavior from my experience and instead moping around because the first gal didn’t like me.
This can be summed up by saying that the map (our highly edited experience of the world around us) is not the territory (all the millions of things actually happening around us).
There is no failure only feedback.
This is another presupposition about NLP. Imagine how much easier your life would be if you could just adopt this idea. Instead of beating yourself up every time you didn’t get what you wanted out of life, you could just take it as feedback and try something else.
Airplanes are off course for the majority of their trip. Each time the pilot checks the navigation equipment and sees that the plane is off course, he simply corrects course by changing the path of the flight. A simple fix, no self-defeating drama needed.
Another famous example is the story of Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb. Edison had tried thousands of times to invent the light bulb. When asked by a reporter how it felt to have failed so many times, Edison said that he hadn’t failed at all. He had merely discovered several thousand ways NOT to invent a light bulb. This is a perfect example of this presupposition, and look how things turned out for Edison: he eventually got it right.