nlp presuppositions assumptions and beliefs

NLP Presuppositions

NLP Presuppositions

I think most of us would accept that our beliefs are important in whether or not we succeed. But what beliefs, specifically, will help us get where we want to go?
Well, NLP has a set of beliefs, expressed through what’s called the NLP presuppositions, that help us to become more successful in our lives and help us help others more effectively too. they can be the difference between technical knowledge of techniques and being effective with those techniques.

What is a presupposition?

A presupposition is an assumption. Assumptions can be powerful allies or enemies. If you assume, for instance that there is no progress without hard work you will see different opportunities than some who assumes that some change is easy. The NLP ‘presups’ are designed to orient us toward effectively helping people in the most elegant manner.

They’re not the only possible truth.

You don’t have to believe the NLP presuppositions but it’s useful. I encourage you to experience what it’s like to take them on as beliefs. Keep in mind, this is not a cult or religion. There are no special outfits to wear, no indoctrination rituals or secret handshakes (OK, there are secret handshakes). These are not beliefs that will force you down some particular moral or ethical road. These are beliefs that are helpful in helping people change and experience life in a way that’s more to their liking.

The NLP Presuppositions

The Mind/Body Is A Single, Cybernetic System

Guess what? What you think affects your body. What’s going on in your body affects how you think and feel emotionally. Duh! A deeper meaning is–the division between mind and body is a false one.

Communication Is Redundant

Things are being communicated in a lot of channels on a lot of levels. If you don’t get one channel, you can get another.

The Law Of Requisite Variety

The more flexibility you have, the greater chance you have to influence any given situation.

The Map Is Not The Territory

Our ideas about the way things work contain a lot of shortcuts and generalizations. Kind of like a menu is a shortcut to what food you might want to order. You wouldn’t go in to a restaurant and eat the menu would you? Yet many people act as if their idea of reality is real.

People Work Perfectly & Always Make The Best Choice Available To Them At The Time

People don’t do things for no reason. If they make a bad behavioral choice, it means their programming in that context doesn’t have a better choice available for them.

Choice Is Better Than No Choice

Many problems are the result of limited choices in a context. After all, if a person were more flexible, they’d have a better chance at finding a solution, wouldn’t they/

Every Behavior Has A Positive Intention

People smoke to relax (for example). Relaxation is the positive thing they’re trying to get. Every behavior, no matter how terrible, has a positive intention behind it.

We Create Our Experience

Sure do!

People Have All The Resources They Need

A person with a phobia has the ability to feel calm–just not in the context of the phobia. It’s out job to connect existing resources to the problem contexts.

You Can Not, Not Communicate

Sitting in a room and staring at the wall sends a message.

Change Makes Change

If you want to change the way someone else behaves, change the way you behave.

If One Person Can Do Something, Others Can

“Talent” is largely the result of mental strategies.

Outcome vs. Problem

You’ve got a system in there that’s producing an outcome–it may not be the outcome you want. If what you’re doing isn’t working, vary some element.

Failure vs. Feedback

When you’re driving, if you drift a little to one side of your lane, what do you do? You correct–you don’t give up!

Opportunity vs. Limitation

Sure thing.

How vs. Why

Asking why someone has a problem is likely to result in a long story with limited value. Asking how someone has a problem gets to the mechanics of hos it’s done. Understand that mechanics and you can help change them.

The Structure of Success: The NLP Presuppositions

For a more in-depth look at the NLP presuppositionss and how to use them to increase your effectiveness, see The Structure of Success: The NLP Presuppositions.

About The Author:

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.

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  1. For me, internalizing the NLP presuppostions was possibly the most important part of my growth as a practitioner. With them as a sort of mental background, so much more is possible for me, whether working with oneself or others.

    The presuppositions to me are part of the great simplicity that underlies the seeming complexity I saw at Practitioner level. The more I learned about NLP, and the more I “wired in” useful ways of thinking like these presups, the simpler everything became. Kinda like magic. 🙂

  2. Hi Keith, I’ve changed ‘Every Behaviour Has a Positive Intention’ a wee bit for me and my students. Sometimes it’s just great to put it all on the line so I changed it to: Every Behaviour Has a Positive Intention FOR SELF. This came about from a discussion with a fantastic NLPer Trainer and he was attempting to reconcile ‘child molestation’ with ‘Positive Intention’. I’m guessing here you well know about whom the discussion was so when I added in the last two words it all fell in line perfectly.

    Hugs~Margie Anne

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