Different 'Models of the World'

I began learning NLP from books. Way back in 1979 I couldn't find any NLP training courses in the UK.

So I got all the NLP books shortly after they were published on the West Coast of the US: they'd be imported by Changes Bookshop in North London.

Changes was the only bookshop which stocked NLP Books and they had a postal newsletter which alerted us to new publications. So, as soon as a new NLP book came into stock I'd catch a train from Luton to London to get it.

This was a bit of a trip: a 45 minute train plus two tube journeys. But it was worth it - books were great and wonderfully eye-opening.

Jargon, jargon everywhere!

Less wonderful was that these books were also riven with NLP Jargon - in-house, arcane terms that made little sense to me.

This is why, when I began running my own NLP training courses some years later, I went on a mission to make our version of NLP a determinedly Plain English one!

By carefully reading and re-reading plus lots of notes and lots of cross-checking between books, I gradually translated much of the jargon into straightforward English.

But one term escaped me for years.... what on earth does 'Different Models of the World' mean???

So let's see if I can explain it...

We each experience life differently.

NLP we recognise that everyone experiences the world differently i.e. that we each experience events differently.

For example if a dozen people witness a road traffic accident and are then individually interviewed about it there will be at least a dozen different versions of what occurred.

People do not experience, or interact with, 'reality' for a number of reasons including:

  • It is physiologically impossible
  • Each person's senses are developed to different degrees and are used differently
  • In thinking a persons 'filters' the incoming data from the world creating a quite selective internal version of reality.

NLP Representational Systems

At its simplest some of these witnesses will some will have paid more attention to what they saw. Others to what they heard. Others to the emotions evoked by witnessing the accident. And others will provide a quite factual and unemotional version of the event.

This is because of what in NLP we call representational systems preferences. In other words, although the majority of people use all five senses plus the ability to think analytically in words, we each tend to have a speciality or two i.e. we habitually pay more attention to one or two of these.

However most people assume that everyone experiences the world exactly as they do - and build a lot of expectations and assumptions on this fallacy.

How to use this

  1. Simply ask friends and colleagues about their experience - and note how that differs from your own.
  2. Note the representational systems that people specialise in. Get to know someone who has more facility than you in a particular representational system and take the time to recognise how their descriptions of events differ from you own.
  3. Listen to how people describe a situation or an event and to the (Language Model) presuppositions or assumptions in their descriptions.

Model of the World and the Language Model

In the Practitioner Programme we examine one of the most effective tools available for understanding another person's model of the world - the NLP Meta Model. This part of the NLP Language Model is also valuable in assisting a person in developing a more useful and reality-based model of the world.

See also this article on Models of the World


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