NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Neuro refers to your neurology, how your brain is wired. Linguistic refers to language, the words and pictures associated. Programming refers to how that neural language functions, the habits and way your brain experiences the world around you.
In other words, learning NLP is like learning the language of your own mind!
Let’s make this simpler with an example.
Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who didn’t speak your language, and they couldn’t understand you? The classic example of this is when someone goes out to a restaurant in a Foreign country and they think they ordered steak, but when the food shows up, it turns out they actually asked for a boiled sausage.
This is the kind of relationship that most of us have with our own unconscious mind. We might think we are “ordering up” more money, a happy, healthy relationship, peace with our family members, and being able to stick to a healthy diet… but unless that’s what shows up, then something is probably getting lost in translation.
In NLP, we have a saying: the conscious mind is the goal setter, and the unconscious mind is the goal-getter. Your unconscious mind is not out to get you - rather, it’s out TO GET FOR YOU whatever you want in life. However, if you don’t know how to communicate what you want properly, it will keep bringing steaming bowls of boiled sausage out of the kitchen.
In fact, go ahead right now and think of, if there was one thing you could change, one habit you could break, what would it be?
- Would you remain calm during work presentations?
- Stop procrastinating and thinking about things and actually get on and do them.
- Stop spending so much time on your phone/social media?
- Not devour a whole bag of crisps or tub of ice cream in one sitting?
Whatever it is, realise that your unconscious mind only does that because it thinks that’s what you want. (“Sir, here is your procrastination along with a side of anxiety. I’ve also told the valet to bring up your emotional baggage as per your request. Will you be needing anything else?”)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is like a user’s manual for the brain and experiencing NLP is like learning how to become fluent in the language of your mind so that the ever-so-helpful “server” that is your unconscious will finally understand what you actually want out of life. It also helps you understand the language of other peoples minds so that you can improve communication, which is particularly helpful in relationships with partners, family, friends or colleagues.
Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists discovered and developed NLP in the 1970s and it has grown from strength to strength since then.