Understanding the NLP Basics

By: Mauricio Serrano


The first, and most likely one of the more important subjects to learn in NLP, is how we process information. The process works like this. We have an external event, which goes into our head having been filtered. The filters apply to the process of deleting, distorting and generalising. We use these filters based on our focus and what is happening around us in our world. Things like time, space, matter and energy all play a part, as does personal history. Of most importance is that the language we use can describe the world we live in. What you say and think is what you will inevitably get. Based on this principle our memories and decisions affect our world, which also brings us to our values, attitudes and beliefs.
Then an internal representation produces state/physiology, which then triggers behaviour. When you notice the kind of words people around you use and what words you use, you become conscious of the process of what you are doing, the language you use, and the results you are expecting, working towards or away from achieving.
What are the order and sequence of those internal representational systems? Have you ever seen the old dont slip banana peel guy in signs? This is a guy slipping on a banana peel with the words dont slip. The result of this sign leads to an increase of people slipping in the work place. This is based on their internal representational system - they think dont slip and then do as they have to think of slipping and they end up focusing on slipping!
It makes sense to tell people what to do but it does not make sense to tell people what not to do. The reason is that your mind cannot process a negative directly e.g. If I were to say to you, (and this is such an NLP statement), dont think of a blue tree. Well you have to think of a blue tree before you can not not think of a blue tree.
You see the unconscious mind does not process negatives. Your nervous system is an exquisite device " so efficient for producing behaviour but that behaviour depends on internal representational systems that you make inside of yourself.
If youre making an internal representation about what you dont want then youre likely to produce behaviour that also is what you dont want. Think about kids for a moment " you say to him dont go play in the street , and he goes oh the street, thanks dad I never thought to play in the street, and off he goes. You put something in his mind that wasnt already there.
The internal representation that is going on inside your head is the basis of creating change. Its impossible to hold a negative in consciousness directly. Maybe its a 2 step process where you think about what you dont want to think then moving on to thinking about what you do want to think about. Think about that for a moment and realize that its not possible to not think about what you dont want to think about without thinking about it!
What do you do to make change to the internal representations? You need to learn how to use it and to be in control of this. Its not as easy as saying ok I am in charge of my thoughts now. This of course is the first step, but keeping this train of thought constantly would require you to learn how to do it at an unconscious level. This is where NLP comes in.

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