NLP Presuppositions

NLP presuppositions are principals which form the foundation of NLP. It is an unbiased and compelling set of beliefs that one can incorporate into their lives. NLP presuppositions give form to the underlying beliefs and attitudes that competent NLP practitioners work and commonly live their lives by. They are mindsets that if we assume and follow, we shall lead a far more empowered life.

This video includes all the presuppositions that we explore within the NLP training.

Respect the other persons model of the world.

All communication centres around rapport and creating a level of trust. Respecting someone’s model of the world does not mean you have to buy into it but it helps you overcome boundaries and barriers. The difference of opinion is just that. Respecting each other viewpoints can help bring those barriers down to live in harmony. 

People are not their behaviour. Accept the person, change the behaviour.

We are quick to label people. Be it behavioural terms, medical terms, or attitude terms. We start to treat them as if the label is who they are, rather than what they are doing. 
As an example someone might be angry, depressed, or anxious – this is what they are doing, this is not their identity. Accepting there is a difference, opens the space for the possibility of change to create a different outcome. 

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources available to them.

We may see people act in abusive, or manipulative ways and ask ourselves “Why are they doing that?” While it might be difficult to grasp, they are all doing the right thing from their perspective. 
They would have the free will not to do this behaviour, but their minds were confused and could justify what they did according to their view of the world. 
Judging means we are separate where I am right and you are wrong. Which mirrors their need to be right. 
It takes great leadership to practice forgiveness. It is important to look at our emotional response. What does this trigger within you?

The map is not the territory. The words are not the event or the item they represent.

This presupposition is like saying “The menu is not the meal”. But what does this really mean? Regardless of how detailed the map could be, it does not represent the experience of each individual on their journey through life. 
While we can spend time together doing the same thing (such as a holiday), we will both have different recounts of what we liked and what we didn’t like. As we both use different filters in our minds and we will delete, distort and generalise our experience. 

You are in charge of your mind, and therefore your results.

Everything you experience starts off in your mind. The way you experience your reality and what you want to focus on all starts off in your brain. If your mind is focused on negativity, your nervous system must respond in a stressful way. You will find yourself reacting to the negativity there by impacting your results. 
However if you focus on looking for the good in your life, your experience and your results will be very different. 

While you can not control the external situation. You can control what you focus on. 

People have the resources they need to succeed, or they can create them.

This can sound overpromising and disrespectful to peoples challenges they have. However, this presupposition does not always mean material resources.  If you find yourself in a challenging situation, you have nothing else but to look at the internal resources that you have available at the time. 
Its up to you to try and find them and to raise above all adversity. It is a possibility to rise above any challenge. We are trained to look out side of ourselves for strength, or to be rescued. This presupposition asks us to be mindful of our state. 

There is no failure, only feedback.

Defining something as a failure will always bring in a level of shame (how we measure up).
While feedback is always valuable in demonstrating new opportunities.
We always have the choice of how we interpret our experience and if we lean into feedback and learn from our experience then it can never be a failure.
Any time you get feedback telling you why you can’t do something, it’s not a reflection of your potential or you as a person, it is a reflection of YOUR CONDITIONING.

The law of requisite variety.
The person or the system that has the most flexibility controls the system.

People can be attached to things being black and white. However, if you have an awareness of the choice in between (aka the shades of grey), you gain more flexibility to make life so much easier. 
This is about getting out of rigidness or your blind spots. When you can try on someone else’s model of the world, you can pace them to a resourceful state rather than forcing it on them. You gain so much more for yourself and for others by being flexible to influence with integrity.

The meaning of communication is the response you get.

The purpose of communicating with someone is to get a specific response. I know I am in charge of the words I say, but I can not always rely on the other person interpreting my message. 

If you say one thing, and then get an unexpected response, it is not effective to blame the other person for not hearing properly.  It is your responsibility to adapt and use more effective communication in order to get the response you want. 

All procedures should be designed to increase choice and the wholeness of the person.

You as a whole being can trust yourself and move forward. However, if there are parts of you that are holding on to fear, doubt or insecurities; you never get anywhere in life. It’s like you’re fragmented. 
When you are whole, you know how to follow your higher self on the path of alignment. 

Resistance is a sign of lack of rapport. There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communication.

Effective communicators accept and utilize all communication presented to them. If people resist, it means we are not in good rapport with them and it is our role to acknowledge this and do our best to build on the rapport. We may ask ourselves “Am I connected to this person from a place of integrity and sincerity? What else could I do in order to make them/myself feel more comfortable in this relationship?” REAL rapport is at the unconscious level. It may mean you have to go back to basics to build rapport at a deeper level. 

Behaviour and change are to be evaluated in terms of context and ecology.

When we consider doing a process and making a change with someone, it is important to check if the change fits in with their ecology. In other words, is this change good for them, the people they know and the world that they live in? By putting an ecology frame around the change, we gain greater insight into what has created the challenges and what process would make the greatest good. 

It also follows that individuals have different definitions of what is good or bad, and wrong or right.

All behaviour has a positive intention

There is always rude behaviour. If someone is rude to you, there is no way you can see it as meaningful. However, their motivation to behave like that comes from a place of positivity for them, (while it may not be positive for you.) Why would someone get loud at you? They may not have learned how to communicate as a child where their boundaries were ignored and to feel heard, they start to yell like a small child. There is a positive intention to protect themselves. 
Knowing this presupposition takes some of the pressure and energy out of it for you, so you can look at the situation differently. As an NLP coach, we can look at a client’s ‘negative behaviour’ and see that it is serving in some way shape or form. We can work on that to bring in useful behaviours and beliefs. 


There are so many fancy words when it comes to NLP. This glossary is my way to help you discover their meaning easily and effortlessly. 
Remember, how we start from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence. Come from a curious state when you open this link. 

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