Your Map -- Not Theirs

Your Map — Not Theirs

Your MapThe Dangers of Putting Your Own View Of The World On Other People

Recently, this question has been going around. “Why there are so many fat people in the fields of NLP and hypnosis?” That brings up one of the more important tools from NLP–the Meta Model. More about the Meta Model in a bit. But first…

Our Realities Have Internal, Subjective Standards

People are successful or not based on their own internal views of reality. To suggest that people should be a certain weight (or any other quality) is to imply that there is an absolute standard by which others should be judged. I don’t believe there is. Thinking that there is (in my opinion) shows a quality that makes for a poor NLP trainer and a poor NLP therapist. To quote Paul Simon, “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

NLP Is The Study Of Subjective Experience

Should all people (especially NLPers and hypnotists) have a certain percentage of body fat? Should they all make a certain amount of money? Should they all exercise regularly? Should none of them smoke? Should they all eat healthily and attend the church you think they should?

And where do you draw the line? What if you’re 2 pounds overweight? Maybe you shouldn’t be doing NLP or hypnosis. What if you exercise twice a week rather than 3 times? Are you a failure then? Should you be kicked out of the club?

Maybe there should be an oversight committee. They could prevent anyone who is overweight, smokes, drinks or kicks their dog from practicing or teaching.

Now, it may be your view of the world that no one should smoke. It’s mine. I can’t think of any reason that’s good enough to take up smoking as a regular habit. But even though that’s my belief, I don’t assume it’s true for everyone.

How, Specifically?

Now, I don’t smoke (anything). I don’t drink much either. And I weigh about 158. In my mind those are good things. In someone else’s mind, they may not be. Who’s to say my view is better? No one. I recognize that I am not the arbiter of what’s best for other people. Neither are you. Nor is any NLP trainer.

One of the tools of NLP, the Meta Model, encourages us to explore the specifics of our internal realities and gives us the tools to challenge our perceptions where they don’t serve us. So, you might ask, “How, specifically, does an NLP trainer being fat invalidate their knowledge about how to help people get and stay thin? (or any other NLP intervention)”

My answer is that it doesn’t. That trainer might be overweight because they want to be. In their model of the world, it could be a good thing. Or, they might have a challenge with themselves on that specific issue. But even that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be able to teach it to you effectively!

As for me, I’ve learned NLP from overweight people, people who smoke, people who have done serious jail-time, people who drink a lot and people who have been on trial for murder. Plus a dude with big teeth. While all-in-all, I’d like to learn from people who I perceive have their act together, I’d have missed out on everything had I only trained with people who were perfect. None of them are (including me).


Many who market NLP and hypnosis training will try to set the frame for you. I do. That’s my job–to let you know why you should train with me and grab my NLP & Hypnosis programs.

In listening to marketing messages, you might hear that a specific training and certain materials are the best because ___________ (insert whatever qualifications, experience and skills are unique to the trainer here). Maybe it’s years in the business. Maybe it’s a piece of paper they wave in front of you (That one cracks me up the most of all. “This piece of paper makes me superior!”). Maybe it’s that other trainers are overweight or have personal flaws. But here’s what I suggest (I’m only a hypnotist and these are just suggestions).

  1. Start with someone you like and whose teaching style fits you. Get the basics that way.
  2. As you expand your training, do at least one training with someone with whom you are not perfectly comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, that may mean they have different views than you do. Those differing views could be where the biggest learning is 🙂
  3. Keep going. Learning NLP and hypnosis is a process. Like learning anything, you can always get better.


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Keith Livingston

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997. Read More....

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