Have you ever tried to lose weight or to quit smoking? While many people did try, very few succeeded in sustaining the results. Why? This is one of the things I discovered along my journey to become an NLP Practitioner (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).
In most diets or habit changing programs, people tend to change the behaviour, paying little attention to the reasons behind the behaviour.
Since I was a child I feared dogs. Just seeing any dog from a distance, I used to sweat and feel my heart beats racing. Currently, our Cocker Spaniel is my dear friend. I neither feel scared nor sweat. All this is due to NLP.
“The magic of NLP is representation. That there is a movie on our mind, a TV screen on our minds where something is represented. It could be just an image, it could be a sound, it could be an old sound track. We can go inside this movie or we can just observe. Representation, the genius of NLP, is that we can break thought down to these modalities of thoughts and each modality is like a leverage point for being able to manage change in representation. As we represent so we experience and feel,” Michael Hall.
Coaching one of my clients, she figured out how her mind represents ‘dieting’ as a prison with metal bars. This was her representation for diet and hence no matter how many times she tried to lose weight she always ended up by escaping the bars of this prison and unchaining herself by eating freely and gaining extra weight, more than what she originally wanted to lose.
Hence, NLP is a communication model that describes how language (linguistics) affects our body and physiology (neurology). The movies we play in the theatre of our mind do send messages (and even commands) to our nervous systems about what to feel and how to respond and so create our internal reality.
As a model of human functioning, NLP describes the processes and patterns (programming) that is currently governing our mind-body system and the processes and patterns that could enable us to “run our own brain” in new and much more resourceful ways.
Instead of seeing dieting as a prison which she longed to escape, my client identified her desired outcome as ‘Becoming more energetic and confident.” Her representation for this desired outcome was seeing herself in a movie on her mind screen moving freely, looking confident and hearing applause. This is the magic of NLP. Instead of seeing losing weight as a prison, she saw it as a way to become confident and more active. Instead of seeing dogs as attackers who would bite me, I saw the Cocker Spaniel as a vulnerable puppy that needed my care as a newly born baby.
To attain sustainable results, we ought to focus on changing our representations; the movie on our mind screen.
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.”