Beliefs of Excellence
The Map is not the Territory


NLP is based on principles that are very different from traditional psychology. While traditional clinical psychology is primarily concerned with describing difficulties, categorising them , and searching for historical causes, NLP is interested in HOW our thoughts, actions, and feelings work together right now to produce our experience. Founded on the modern sciences of biology, linguistics, and information, NLP begins with new principles of how the mind/brain works.

These principles or assumptions are called the NLP Presuppositions. If we could summarise all the NLP Presuppositions in one phrase, it would be: PEOPLE WORK PERFECTLY.

Our specific thoughts, actions, and feelings consistently produce specific results. We may be happy or unhappy with these results, but if we repeat the same thoughts, actions, and feelings, we'll get the same results. The process works perfectly. If we want to change our results, then we need to change the thoughts, actions, and feelings that go into producing them. Once we understand specifically how we create and maintain our inner thoughts and feelings, it is a simple matter for us to change them to more useful ones, or if we find better ones, to teach them to others. The NLP Presuppositions are the foundation for doing just that.

The map is not the territory

Our mental maps of the world are not the world. We respond to our maps, rather than directly to the world. Mental maps, especially feelings and interpretations, can be updated more easily than the world can be changed.

Experience has structure

Our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them. When we change that pattern or structure, our experience will automatically change. We can neutralise unpleasant memories and enrich memories that will serve us.

If one person can do something, anyone can learn to do it

We can learn an achiever's mental map and make it our own.

The mind and body are parts of the same system

Our thoughts instantly affect our muscle tension, breathing, feelings, and more, and these in turn affect our thoughts. When we learn to change either one, we have learned to change the other.

People already have all the resources they need

Mental images, inner voices, sensations, and feelings are the basic building blocks of all our mental and physical resources. We can use them to build up any thought, feeling, or skill we want, and then place them in our lives where we want or need them most.

You cannot NOT communicate

We are always communicating, at least non-verbally, and words are often the least important part. A sigh, a smile, and a look are all communications. Even our thoughts are communication with ourselves, and they are revealed to others through our eyes, voice tones, postures, and body movements.

The meaning of communication is the response you get

Others receive what we say and do through their mental maps of the world. When someone hears something different from what we meant, it's a chance for us to notice that communication means what is received. Noticing how our communication is received allows us to adjust it, so that next time it can be clearer.

Underlying every behaviour is a positive intention

Every hurtful, harmful, and even thoughtless behaviour had a positive purpose in its original situation. Yelling in order to be acknowledged. Hitting to fend off danger. Hiding to feel safe. Rather than condoning or condemning these actions, we can separate them from the person's positive intent so that new, updated, and more positive choices can be added that meet the same intent.

People are always making the best choice(s) available to them

Every one of us has his or her own unique personal history. Within it, we learned what to do and how to do it, what to want and how to want it, what to value and how to value it, what to learn and how to learn If what you are doing isn't working, do something else. Do anything else If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. If you want something new, do something new, especially when there are so many alternatives. There is no failure; there is only feedback. Successful people look at mistakes as outcomes or results, not as failure. Unsuccessful people look at mistakes as permanent and personal.

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