NLP Practitioner Course
with Tom Mackay

Day 1 - Notes

personal development planet, tom mackay nlp

This week I'm helping out at Tom Mackay's (pictured) brilliant NLP Practitioner course. I first took this course in June 2009, and as Tom asked me back to help I thought it would be useful to post a summary of my notes.

If you have an interest in NLP, these posts will be of great value to you.

I'll post every day of this seven day course. Let me know if you want me to expand on any of these topics. Enjoy!

Topics covered today: The Four Pillars of NLP; NLP Communication Model; NLP Outcomes (Goal Setting); Cause and Effect; Presuppositions of NLP; The NLP Learning State (Peripheral Vision); Sensory Acuity.

NLP suggests that you can control your life to a large extent, by taking charge of what you think. We can use the language of the mind to achieve specific results.

Principles for Success (Pillars of NLP)

Know your outcome – the more specific, the better. Your outcome (goal) should be stated positively – you want somewhere to head towards, as opposed to just trying to escape away from something. This “locks in” your unconscious mind to help you – thanks to the Reticular Activating System, which is programmed for survival but can be adapted for goal setting. To really get results, write your goal down, even use pictures to make it as sensory specific as possible. The more rich you make it, the more your unconscious will help you. (See below for more detail on NLP goals)

Take Action – The more action you take, the more likely you are to get to your goal. If you take action, one of three things happens: 1) you get closer to your goal, so you can keep doing more of that. 2) you move further away, so you notice and then try something different. 3) Nothing changes. This is the toughest one! You just have to keep trying something different.

Sensory Acuity – This is information that comes into your senses. What you see, hear, feel. The better your sensory acuity the more you will notice how to act.

Flexibility – keep changing your behaviour! If you have infinite flexibility you can achieve pretty much anything you want in life. Keep extending your comfort zone and push yourself to step outside it.

NLP Communication Model

We experience world through our senses – what we see, feel, hear, taste and smell.

SO many things are outside of our conscious awareness because we don't need to pay attention. It's estimated that we are subject to over one million bits of info per second! Take now for example- you're probably not aware of the traffic outside, your own breathing, the picture on wall etc. Are you aware of them now?

The way we cope with such an influx of information is as follows: we delete, distort and generalise.

When we have an outcome, we tend to delete stuff that doesn't fit what we're looking for.

We also distort based on our own memories, beliefs – i.e. you might think someone is trying to intimidate you when they shake your hand very firmly. Or, you may hear sounds in the night and think it's made by a ghost / burglar!! Whatever you picture vividly in your mind, your body thinks is real.

Generalise – we need to be able to generalise to keep our brain's workload manageable - i.e. this allows you to realise a chair is a chair. It's very important – if we didn't do it, every time we walked into a room someone would have to tell you what a chair is!

This is down to your Metaprograms – unconscious filters – i.e. these govern what you notice when you walk into a room. We are ALWAYS deleting, distorting and generalising!!

NLP Outcomes

The more clearer and vivid your outcomes, the more you filter your world to reflect your outcomes. This is how to set goals, NLP style!

1) State in the positive. Note down what you want specifically, NOT what you don't want. When you ask“What do you want instead?” - be specific! i.e. not “I want to be confident”, but “I want to be confident when I do public speaking next month, breathing deeply and speaking clearly and feeling in total control”

2) Specify current situation. Where are you now? Helps you to know whether you are getting nearer / farther to where you want to be.

3) Specify your outcome. Now, make it much more real. What will you see, feel, hear when you get there? The more vividly you imagine it, the more info you give your unconscious mind to aim towards.

4) Evidence Procedure. How do you know when you'll have it? What will be the key thing to let you know you've achieved it? How do you know you don't have it already?

5) Is it congruently desirable? How fully aligned are you to achieving this outcome? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you want this outcome? What would this outcome do for you? Is there any part of you that doesn't want this? Why?

6) Is it self initiated and maintained personally? i.e. you can't say “I want a promotion” as this relies on someone outside of your control. You can say “I will make myself the best possible candidate for promotion by doing x,y,z consistently for the next month”.

7) Is it appropriately contextualised? ie. It's great to have more energy, but what about when you're trying to get to sleep? Do you want loads for energy then? It's good for a barrister to be better at cross-examination, but not necessarily at home with the family!

8) What resources are needed? Skills, money, behaviours, beliefs, physical objects etc?

9) Have you ever done this before? If so, use the same skills. If not, model someone else who has done it already! If you can't do this, can you act as if you have it?

10) Ecology. This is about the consequences of your actions. For what purpose do you want this? What will you gain / lose if you get it?

11) What's my first step?

Cause and Effect

This is all about Results v Reasons. In short, do you blame other people for your results?

Effects = reasons, excuses, justifications – these are always easier, but never satisfying.

Being at cause is EMPOWERING. Everything you do gets you a result! Everything is down (at least in part) to you.

Society wants us to be at effect – no win, no fee etc – recession “made me” lose my job – but if you are at cause you take the power and responsibility back.

Take total responsibility. Put yourself at cause as often as possible.

Useful questions: What can I learn from this? How can I use this?

BUT.... “stuff” will happen.NLP helps you to stay at cause even though stuff happens!

Presuppositions of NLP

Here are some of the foundations of NLP. They are very powerful. If you can internalise all of these, and act as if these were true, you will get better results and be happier!

No such thing as failure, only feedback.This is a very empowering principle! Schooling, for example, now puts too much pressure on passing / failing. The most successful people have failed more than anyone else! Learn to enjoy / learn from the things that don't go right.

People are not their behaviours.Very often we judge people on how they act. A better way of thinking is knowing that there is a person underlying the behaviours. Behaviours are much lower down the scale than a person's beliefs, values and identity – so if a person acts a certain way, it doesn't mean that that THEY are the behaviour. Behaviours come and go!

The Map is not the Territory.We operate in a world made up of our own maps of reality – but they are not really reality. Conflicts normally occur because of a clash of maps. Our map is based on our own experiences and beliefs. No two people share the same map. Learn to realise that people have different maps to yours! Have respect for other peoples' maps.

Every behaviour is motivated by a positive intention.(The positive intention is for the individual, not for anyone else.) It doesn't justify bad behaviours, but allows you to empathise somewhat. What about phobias? We experience something that we deem to be scary and our subconscious mind decides that this is scary, so it tries to protect us by creating fear! People always make the best choice they can with the resources they have available. Ask your unconscious what the positive intent behind your behaviour is. Learn to listen to yourself and generate inner rapport.

The meaning of the communication is the response you get. This means that you take responsibility for the response of the person you're speaking to – if you get a poor response, consider that it was YOUR communication breakdown, NOT theirs.

The Learning State – Peripheral Vision

Unsurprisingly, when in this state you tend to learn better. Also, it's nearly impossible to feel bad when in this state! Makes you feel sleepy at first, but keep practicing and it makes you feel awesome.

It uses peripheral vision. This triggers a response in your central nervous system to make you relax. It helps to get rid of conscious resistance too.

Here's how:

1)Find a point on the wall to focus on, a little higher than eye height

2) Begin to relax the body. Slow your breathing to a count of 3-4 seconds in and out.

3) Keep focussing on the point, but now extend your vision slightly beyond that point

4) Open vision to include Ceilings, floor, walls. Left right up down.

5) Now, extend awareness even further in every direction. Go as slow as you need.

6) Now, imagine what is behind you. Can you get a sense of what's there?

7) Now, lower your vision back to normal height, but keep the peripheral awareness

8) Keep smiling and enjoy the benefits!

If you walk down the street in peripheral vision, you'll feel like Morpheus walking through the Matrix!

Sensory Acuity

This is about developing the capabilities to notice the unconscious signals people put out. This is great to improve your communication skills.

Note: you need to calibrate first – i.e. what was the person like before? You can't just assume that somebody is feeling a certain way based on your own preconceptions.

Visual calibration looks at skin colour (changes in lightness / darkness), skin tonus (to do with tension in the muscles), breathing (pace AND location), lower lip size (not everyone has this reaction) and eyes (focus and dilation).

Auditory calibration looks at tone (high pitch / low pitch), tempo (fast / slow), timbre (quality of sound), volume.

Visual Sensory Acuity Exercise

Ask a friend to think of someone they really like. Tell them to be natural. Pay attention to all the visual factors listed above – skin colour, tone, breathing, lip, eyes, etc... Then break state by asking them a random question.

Next, ask them to think of someone they dislike. Again, pay attention to all the factors listed above. Break state again.

Finally, ask them to think of either person, and you have to guess which one they are thinking of based by their facial cues alone...

You win when you get it right three times in a row! This takes practice, but in time you will look like a mind reader!

Wow – that's all for today – a busy but fun first day. It was very strange to be “teaching” NLP for the first time, but I still learned loads.

I hope these notes give you a good idea of the cool stuff you'll find out about on an NLP Practitioner course. Keep any eye out for notes from the rest of the seven days!

Notes from Day 2 of NLP Practitioner

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