Is NLP very cerebral and intellectual?

This has been the complaint of some people since NLP first appeared over the horizon around 40 years ago!

And, as it is generally taught and practised, NLP is a perhaps bit too intellectual. And a bit too serious and humourless. And a bit tame - trying to emulate academic subjects as well as maximise through-out of 'punters'. And rarely very adventurous.

This, of course, is a reflection on how it is now presented rather than on NLP itself. It is also, almost needless to say, a reflection of the writer's subjective views! (In this case, mine - and I'm Reg Connolly)

The body of insights and knowledge called NLP grew out of a highly creative and adventurous beginning in which Bandler and Grinder and their co-developers enthusiastically experimented with the patterns which they were developing. After the initial experimentation produced the rudiments of what we today know as NLP groups of NLP developers began experimenting more widely and used NLP to model many different pursuits including Balinese dancing, martial arts, Congolese music and dance, martial arts, sport and play, and so on.

Only as the early flush of enthusiasm for experimentation and modelling gave way to a more business-like attitude did the focus of the NLP world narrow down to what today would generally be recognised as NLP i.e. a collection of techniques and insights to achieve specific objectives.

But it doesn't have to be so and, happily, there are still lots of wonderful exceptions around the world where NLP is presented in a fresh, adventurous, and enjoyable way.

Exceptions to the rule

There have been exceptions - among them:

  • Since the early 80's Scout Cloud Lee has been running outdoor- and activity-based NLP experiences in Oklahoma.
  • Some outdoor activity centres in the UK have been using NLP alongside their other activities.
  • Some of Tony Robbins seminars engage participants in adventurous activities other than just the fire-walk.
  • Richard Bandler is one of the funniest NLP presenters around, even if his training style is somewhat cerebral, and he can sometimes have his audience in fits of helpless laughter
  • And I have attended many of Douglas Pride's hilarious and irreverent presentations in the 80's and 90's at the former Association of NLP's conferences in London - and while they were not hugely activity-based but seriously un-serious!
  • At the same conferences were some great demonstrations of the integration of NLP with martial arts by Alan Mars. 
  • Our own Pegasus NLP workshops in the New Forest have been exploring a variety of different ways of physically exploring NLP since the late 90's.

At the our Pegasus NLP Trainings in the countryside we aim to create a thorough, activity-oriented and fun-based experience of NLP. Each of our workshops involves some outdoor activities. These can range from 'sensory' walks in the countryside or un-strenuous team challenge activities to the more adventurous High Ropes Challenge course where people can choose to climb and jump off poles 30' above the ground. Check our photo gallery of outdoor activities.

And all of our activities are supported by the Challenge-by-Choice principle which means that personal choices about what any individual chooses to take part in - and the degree to which they participate - are encouraged and respected.