"NLP is a meta-disciplinary field - a field about other fields.
Our job is to create excellence in the performance of human
beings, no matter what they do."

-Dr. Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP

I have been studying, practicing and teaching NLP
(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) since 1989. In all that time,
the question I have been asked most frequently by everyone from
doctors to therapists to television interviewers to my own
mother is this:

"What the heck is NLP?"

My response is generally to give people both a technical
definition and an experiential one. The technical definition is

"NLP is the study of the structure of subjective experience."

In other words, NLP is the study of how we create our experience
of being alive, and how we can make changes in that experience
to experience less fear, more freedom and greater aliveness.

For the experiential definition, here is part one of an excerpt
from my soon to be released new book, Feel Happy Now! (see the
"Want to learn more?" section at the end of this tip to learn

There are essentially three variables which comprise the
structure of our subjective experience:

1. The way we use our body.
2. The maps we make in our head.
3. The stories we tell ourselves.

This model was first developed by Dr Richard Bandler in the
field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and it can be used
to make sense of how we create all our experiences.

Let's take a closer look at each of these three elements:

1. The way we use our body
An exercise I used to do at the beginning of my trainings was to
ask each person in the group to stand up tall, look up towards
the ceiling, put a big toothy grin on their face - and feel

No matter how long they stood there, if they continued standing
up straight and tall, eyes up, with an embarrassingly silly,
toothy grin on their faces, they found themselves utterly unable
to depress themselves. (Though they were often capable of
making themselves extremely angry with me afterwards for asking
them to do something quite so silly!)

You can test the connection between how you use your body and
how you feel inside right now...

Go ahead and sit the way you would be sitting if reading this
tip were the most boring thing you've ever had to do.
(Hopefully, you shifted your body in some way to do it - if not,
stop reading immediately and go get yourself a different tip!)

Now move so that you are sitting the way you would be sitting if
you were curious about what I was about to say, in the way that
you might be curious about what was inside your presents on
your birthday...

Finally, shift your body until you are sitting the way you would
be sitting if you knew that the very next thing I will tell you
in this tip is the key to a lifetime of happiness and will also
enable you to achieve all your most important goals and
single-handedly bring about world peace...

Got it?


Now stay that way as you read through the rest of this tip!

While I'm obviously not expecting you to actually do this, it's
interesting to think about how much more enjoyable your
experience might be if you decide to give it a try...

2. The maps we make in our head
In order to make sense of the world, we re-present the
information we take
in through our five senses internally - that is, we make an
representation of the information, sort of like an inner map. We
then make decisions and choose our actions based on those inner

Of course, in order to make a map you need to leave things out
(otherwise the map would be as large as the territory), make
generalizations (all water is blue, all parks are green, etc.)
and distort perspectives to make everything fit. This is what
makes a map useful, but it is also what creates problems.

Here's the key:

*What we perceive to be problems in our lives are nothing to do
with what is
happening in the world and everything to do with the limitations
of our mental maps.*

When you understand this, you can understand how changing your
mind (i.e. your map) can literally change your life.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, take a look at this one...

Think of a (small) problem you've been having. It can be one
you've been dealing with for a long time or a brand new one. (I
love brand new problems - they're so shiny!) Notice where in
space you represent the problem. If you're not sure, just point
to where you think it might be.

Next, notice if you're looking at the problem through your own
eyes or if you can see yourself in the image. Is it moving or
still? Clear or fuzzy? Large or small?

Now, take the problem picture and if you were looking through
your own eyes, step out of it so that you can see yourself in
it. Push the picture a comfortable distance away. If it was
moving (like a film), make it still (like a photograph). If it
was clear, make it fuzzy. If it was large, shrink it down until
it's the size of a postage stamp. Then stick it on an envelope
and post it to someone you think can handle it. I'll wait...

Now think about the 'problem' again. For most of you, it won't
feel as
significant as it did before you began. If it does, continue to
play with the details of your representation until you've given
yourself a new perspective.

In next week's tip, I'll continue this brief introduction to NLP
with an exploration of the third critical element - the stories
we tell ourselves and how they can make our lives into a living
hell or the happiest place on earth.

Until then, have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!

With love,

For more info, visit


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