NLP Presuppositions

Page Overview

• What are NLP Presuppositions?

• What does Dr. John Grinder (co-founder of NLP) say about NLP Presuppositions.

• Merit in NLP Presuppositions.

• The 14 NLP Presuppositions with an explanation of each of them.

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What are NLP Presuppositions?

Neuro Linguistic Programming - NLP was built on recognising and applying communication, behavioral patterns of successful people. Further, recognising the difference that makes the difference between a genius and an average performer in the same field of activity. This discipline is known as NLP Modelling.

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Frank Pucelik (co-founder of NLP) shared in his NLP courses in Spain, which I attended, is that during the process of NLP Modelling, they found that successful people operated out of a certain set of beliefs which is the secret behind their success. It is these sets of belief systems which are known as ‘NLP Presuppositions’.

What does John Grinder say about NLP Presuppositions?

NLP Presuppositions are consideredas the bedrock in most NLP courses since some NLP Practitioners and NLPTrainers believe that as an NLP coach, it is essential to operate through theset of beliefs in the context of coaching to apply the NLP techniques and toolsmore effectively.   

However, when I attended NLP courses which were facilitated by Dr. John Grinder(co-creator of NLP) and was a mentor in his NLP courses (including NLP Trainers Training), he shared that he doesn’t consider NLP Presupposition as a part of NLP.

I was surprised to know that since before attending NLP courses of John Grinder, I had attended many NLP courses in Mumbai and other cities in India, in which the NLP Trainers emphasised a lot on NLP Presupposition.

NLP Trainers outside India as well emphasise a lot on NLP presuppositions in their NLP trainings.

Infact, in the NLP book – ‘Whispering in the wind’, Dr. John Grinder has written –
“There is no need to subscribe to the so-called presuppositions of NLP in order to benefit from an effective application of the patterns to some problem or challenge.”

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Merit in NLP Pressositions

As Dr. John Grinder says, learning NLP Presuppositions isn't a prerequisite for applying the NLP techniques and tools effectively. Further, he adds that it must not be "preached" as done in certain NLP trainings in India and overseas.

However, recognising and operating out of the NLP Presuppositions can add value in our life.
Hence, I have shared a list of the NLP Presuppositions below.

1– Respect each person’s map of the world -

Each individual thinks, feels, perceives and communicates differently due to their experiences, values, beliefs, capabilities and environment. Isn't it?
Hence let’s learn to respect each individual and their perspective, without judging.

2 – People respond to their map of the world (their perception of the world) and not the world itself -

Each individual’s map of the world is different based on the filters that have been embedded in their minds, which are built on most occasions because of their past experiences, beliefs and values.
Due to these filters, they distort, generalize and delete - what really is the world.
Each individual lives their life through those filters.
They start to believe the world in reality is what they see through the filter.
However, they are far removed from the reality and therefore they live in their head. But the world is not in your head but outside your head.

As Frank Pucelik shared this thought in his NLP courses which I attended in Spain -
“Withevery minute you spend in your head; you are missing the beauty of the world that is outside of you.”

Did you know?
This NLP presupposition is based on the work of Alfred Korzybski, who wrote the book 'Science and Sanity' (it influenced the co-creators of NLP but is not considered as an NLP book).

“Each person’s map of the world isas different and unique as a thumbprint.
There are no two people who are alike, and no two people understand the same sentence in the same way.
So, in dealing with people you do not fit them to your own concept of what they should be.”

–Dr. Milton H Erickson

The Transformative NLP courses in Mumbai and in other cities I facilitate, enable you to understand and respect each person’s map of the world.

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3 – Communication is redundant. We are always communicating (either verbally or non-verbally) hence, we cannot not communicate.

At times, even silence screams.

Hence, we need to be mindful not just what we communicate but how we communicate, if we wish to reduce miscommunication, misunderstanding and to become more influential and for enhancing our relationships.

4– The meaning of the communication is the response you elicit.

At times in our communication, when another person doesn’t understand us, we blame the other person for not understanding and we continue communicating in the same manner in which we did before.
However, it’s not that the person needs to be blamed for not being able to understand your communication, it’s the way you communicate that needs to change so that he/she understands what you are communicating.

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5 – There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators.

Being flexible in communication by adopting different styles and ways to connect to different individuals allows us to be a more effective communicator.
If you do not get the results, you desire and get resistance from another individual, change your strategy till you get the results.

Attending Transformative NLP courses in Mumbai and other cities, can empower you with NLP techniques that can assist you to generate different strategies and thereby generate different results and choices in your life.  

f you keep on doing what you always did, you will keep on getting what you got.

6 – Mind and body are linked systems.

Our thoughts originate in the mind and thoughts can impact our body.

How does your body feel when you have negative/pessimistic thoughts for a prolonged period of time (more than a week)?
How does your body feel when you have positive/optimistic thoughts for a prolonged period of time (more than a week)?
Is there a difference in the way your body feels?

When your physical body is in pain or there is an injury, how much pain the mind has to go through at that moment?
What happens to the way you think at that moment (of course considering if you are not on pain killer medication at that time and the pain is severe enough)

Similary, what how does your body feel when you achieve your professional outcomes you had set many months and years back for which you had worked hard.

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7 – Behind every behavior there is a positive intention.

When children get scolded by their parents, they are unhappy with the behaviour of the parent.
However, what the child may not understand is that the positive intention of the parent could be to discipline the child, so the child becomes more efficient in life.

In cases of addiction too, a person drinks alcohol excessively since he is going through a lot of stress and so, in order to destress, he drinks alcohol.
Hence, the positive intention is to destress.

We judge people by their behaviour, not their intention.
Your perception changes once you are open to acknowledging the positive intention behind the behaviour.

8 – Behaviour and changes are evaluated in context.

In certain contexts, a particular behaviour can be appropriate. In another context, not appropriate.
Example: Yelling can be appropriate while taking certain forms of therapy. However, yelling may not be appropriate in a church.

To change your perception of few behaviours of yours that you perceive as undesirable, find contexts in which those behaviours can be useful.
Thereafter, you can become mindful by operating out of those behaviours in appropriate situations and avoid those behaviours in certain situations.

Participant in analytic mode during Abhay's NLP course in Mumbai
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9 – People with most flexibility controls the system.

This NLP Presupposition is derived from the Virginia Satir model.
To know about the upcoming 3-hour workshop on Virginia Satir Family System / Family Dynamics which includes learning about personality types and recognising patterns in family members, you can contact me

10 – People work perfectly.

What’s perfect for one person, may not be perfect for the other.
Since the definition of ‘perfect’ varies according to the person.
We work perfectly too.
At every moment, you have made the best decision that you felt appropriate at that time.

A harsh judgement on ourselves taken in hindsight of that decision is unfair to us and the moment.
Hence, how about simply learning and applying it in the future.

Did you know?
A study indicates guilt is one of the reasons a person has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

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11 – Anything can be learnt by chunking.

It is easier to learn something when it is simplified and broken down into chunks.

Virginia Satir would say that if you are teaching a topic, it should be as simplified as even a truck driver could understand the contents of the topic.

12 – There is no failure, only feedback.

Every failure teaches us something that can enable us to further grow in life.
The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.

“Anything worth doing badly, is worth doing badly at first.”

Neurons of the brain getting activated with Neuro Linguistic Programming technique
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12 - People have all the ability they need.

Anyone can learn just about anything. There is nothing you cannot achieve, if you put your mind to it.
The Transformative NLP techniques enable you to do so since there are many techniques that will enable you to access the power and wisdom of the subconsious mind.

14 -Choice is better than no choice.

We are human beings, not robots. Hence, we like to make our own choices. We innately love our freedom.

Hence, learnings in Transformative NLP courses enables you to create choices of behaviours and states in every moment of our life.

Neurons of the brain getting activated with Neuro Linguistic Programming technique
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What does Frank Pucelik say about NLP Presuppositions?

When I attended NLP trainings in Spain, which were facilitated by Frank Pucelik (co-creator of NLP), he shared that most of the NLP Presuppositions that NLP Trainers teach in their NLP courses were originally developed by him and his ‘meta’ team that worked to create certain aspects of Neuro Linguistic Programming.
In fact, he says the NLP Presuppositions is based on what he calls them the '8 major beliefs'.

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