I’m currently just over half way through a week-long NLP Practitioner course and I am struggling to remember a time when I’ve ever learnt as much in such a short space of time. NLP is an acronym for Neuro-linguistic Programming and rather than try to define for you exactly what that means, instead in this post I am going to share with you a little of what I’ve learnt so far.
This week I’ve learnt a lot about limits. In particular I’ve learnt a lot about the ways in which we limit ourselves through our use of language and through the existence of limiting self-beliefs. I’ve learnt that when we really look at the language we are using we are better able to see the limits we are placing on ourselves and then make the relevant changes.
There are always more choices than you think
In the exercises we’ve done this week, what has struck me the most is that the results of all of the techniques we’ve learnt have led to the creation or unearthing of another way of thinking or doing things. What I’m learning is that we always have more choices than we initially think we do and that there is always another way.
I’ll give you some personal examples that I’ve worked on this week. ‘I can’t do math’, ‘I have an issue with a guy at work who tries to undermine me’ and probably the most personal of all ‘I’m incapable of having a successful relationship because I’m unlovable.’ All of these are examples of beliefs or problems that I have been carrying around with me, some for years and others for less time, some very conscious, others more deeply held in my sub-conscious. Today, I can safely say that none of these are true for me anymore.
So what has changed? Well it’s hard to explain exactly what has happened to change my thinking without writing an epic post detailing all of the techniques that were used to help me shift these, but through using NLP, I’ve managed to reframe some of these issues and see the problem from an angle I had never considered before. With the math example, I’ve actually changed the way my mind works when faced with a mathematical problem, so that I now give my mind the space and time to work a problem out rather than panic and feel stupid for not knowing the answer straight away, which previously prevented me from doing any problem-solving using my brain.
The map is not the territory
One of the key principles of NLP is that the map is not the territory, i.e. the words we use are not the event or the item they represent, but merely our map of it. To explain this further, a map can describe a territory which gives us a useful tool to traverse the land, but our perception of the map can never equal the territory, but only our version of it, our map. This explains why two people can witness the same event and come away with a completely different view of what just happened and this demonstrates that there is no absolute truth; there are only maps of the truth, each different because of different experiences, memories, beliefs etc. I have to admit, when I first heard this idea it scared me a little, but in this context it makes complete sense to me and personally when I approach life in this manner, it feels liberating to me. It makes anything possible and it makes me less rigid in my views.
Where are you hiding your key?
When I first created Life is Limitless, I felt very aware of the idea of self-limiting beliefs, the things we tell ourselves we can’t do, or the beliefs we have that hold us back from following our dreams, but this week, I feel like the lid has been lifted on the numerous, complex and intricate ways in which we put ourselves into boxes and then go about hiding the key.
I believe that we all have the key to our boxes, we can all access the choices and alternative ways of thinking, seeing and doing when shown how to do so or with a little help. From this point forward whenever I feel trapped, I will use what I’ve learnt to find my key and get myself out of the trap that I myself have created. I have no doubt that often the key will be in the language that I am using. “I cant do X until I have Y” Is that really true? Do I really need Y before I can do X or am I just putting obstacles in the way of my own achievements and ultimate happiness?
A world of infinite possibility
If you are feeling trapped, cornered or stuck I would encourage you to look at the language you are using to describe the problem and ask yourself if what you are telling yourself is really true or is there another way of looking at it? What would life be like if rather than limits we saw a world of infinite possibility?
Do you have any problems that you’ve managed to solve just by changing your perspective? If so I’d love to hear about them. If you’ve enjoyed this post please share using the buttons below.