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Self-Help & Applied Psychology: The Four Pillars Of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)

Updated on February 28, 2013
NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming
NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming | Source

NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming

* NLP is a self-help model of applied psychology developed in the seventies by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. NLP can be used for both personal and professional success and can help us overcome our phobias, give up smoking or become more successful in business (and much more).

The Four Pillars Of NLP

The NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) model is structured on a framework of underlying beliefs and attitudes. The four core aspects of NLP are known as The Four Pillars.

1. Outcomes

Many of us often remain unclear on what it is that we truly desire in life and therefore we sometimes drift from one thing to another with a level of uncertainty. However, without having a clear vision of what it is we really want, we are less likely to go on to achieve or attain those things - clearly focusing and thinking about what it is we truly desire helps us orientate our resources towards achieving it.

In NLP an outcome can be considered to be a goal, no matter how large or small. It may be that you wish to learn to play a musical instrument and therefore a fairly small goal, or it may be that you want to become a millionaire and is therefore a (very) large goal. NLP teaches that in order to achieve such goals, it's important to have a clearly defined, well-formed outcome. By regularly imagining what it's like to already have those things and having those visions and desires as crystal clear as possible, it helps us to actually achieve those things. The more clearly we know what what it is we want, the more likely we are to get it and this basically comes down to something called the fundamental law of attraction.

2. Sensory Acuity

Sensory acuity is basically our level of awareness and our capacity to observe the finer details of the things around us. Some people are extremely observant whereas others have a tendency to ignore the things going on around them. Perhaps if you closed your eyes now you wouldn't be able to remember fine details, such as the manufacturer name on the computer or device you are using or the colour of the clothes somebody else is wearing.

In NLP, sensory acuity is extremely important because it feeds back information which we can then use to find out if we are moving closer to achieving our outcomes. Additionally, this helps us to communicate more efficiently by using body language and unconscious communication to read people's reactions, facial expression, etc. Sensory acuity is something which can be practiced and strengthened using representational systems.

3. Behavioural Flexibility

Many people make the mistake of, despite repeatedly failing, using the same technique over and over again to try to achieve their outcomes. Knowing what our outcomes are and using our sensory acuity to observe what's happening, the information which is fed back to us allows to make changes in our behaviour if necessary. Basically, if something isn't working then try a different approach. However, many people find themselves lacking in behavioural flexibility.

If you're pitching your business idea and (using your sensory acuity) you can see that your potential investor is sitting arms folded, looking away to the side, they are probably losing interest and so behavioural flexibility then allows you try a different approach in order to re-kindle their interest. NLP teaches that those with the highest amount of behavioural flexibility are often the most successful.

4. Rapport

Although the first three pillars can be extremely useful, what success is really based on is good communication skills and trusting relationships. The secret of developing such relationships comes down to rapport (pronounced ra'pour). Rapport is something which happens naturally and when we meet new people sometimes we just seem to 'click' whereas at other times we just don't seem to get along at all.

Rapport is a skill which can be developed by using our sensory acuity to read other people and to adjust our approach, or our level of communication if necessary, in order to achieve the desired outcome. Having similar ideas, using similar speech patterns, agreeing with and acting similarly to other people helps us to develop stronger rapport with them and these are all techniques which are taught in NLP.

By Sparkster


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    • MADLVF profile image

      Miguel Angel de la vega 

      3 years ago from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

      I am reading a lot of NLP and I will follow you too. Thank you !!!


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