She’d heard about NLP from a few friends and looked it up online but still wasn’t satisfied. She wanted a clear and succinct definition. And, on learning that I was involved with NLP, she asked me “Okay, tell me what exactly is NLP?” My answer went along the following lines.
The missing manual
Have you ever bought a fairly complicated piece of equipment or gadget second-hand in a shop or from eBay?
And it was a bargain because it didn’t come with a user manual?
And you couldn’t find one online?
So you had to experiment, use trial and error, to learn how to use it?
And then, months later, you found a user manual and, on looking through it, discovered you hadn’t been using your gadget to anywhere near its potential?
How we learned the important stuff
We don’t arrive in the world with a user manual that tells us how to use our brains. So for the first few years of life we learn this by imitating or ‘modelling’ other people.
A little later we go to school. And at last begin learning how to use our brains efficiently? Sadly, no.
But we do learn lots of facts about things. We learn about mathematics and history and capital cities and populations. For how to feel good and have good relationships with other people we have to rely on our earlier modelling – which, over the following 80 or 90 years, we tweak based on experience.
However the people that we modelled were using their brains based watching or ‘modelling’ their parents and siblings. Who had, in turn, learned it in exactly the same way. So, really, there hasn’t been much improvement over the generations in how we use our brains: the mix of myths and facts on how to best to use it have been handed down through hundreds of year.
Then along came NLP
The group of people who came together and created NLP some 40 years ago decided to approach things in a non-scientific and non-intellectual manner. Instead of relying on psychological studies they studied people who, based on the results they got, appeared to be using their brains effectively.
They then extracted the commonalities in how these people functioned. And this began the body of knowledge that is NLP; a body of knowledge that is ever evolving, changing, and expanding.
But define NLP in a nutshell!
Fascinating as she surely must have found my description, it didn’t quite do the job! Not succinct enough. “Okay, I can follow that – but define NLP in a nutshell!”
I offered: “NLP is a collection of skills and insights on how to use your brain to have a happier and more rewarding life. It’s like a brain user’s manual.”