NLP works better when the practitioner adopts certain beliefs about the world. These beliefs, or presuppositions as they are called, are designed to empower the practitioner, to enable them to deal with any situation, to allow them to understand how people and how they operate within the universe, and to allow them to react accordingly.

Once adopted, they allow us to feel both powerful and enlighten, and they also help us to remove judgment we have for the people around us.

Here are the 15 Presuppositions of NLP listed in no specific order:

  1. There is only feedback, never failure: if you don’t succeed 10 times, then you know you won’t make those 10 mistakes again and you are that much closer to success.
  2. You are in control of your mind, and therefore the results you get: don’t blame others. Making excuses takes all the power out of your hands.
  3. The meaning of communication is the response you get: you are 100% responsible for getting your message across. If you don’t succeed the first time, change your approach.
  4. If the person you are communicating with is resistant then you lack rapport: rapport is crucial for persuasion.
  5. People are not their behavior: Accept the person and change the behavior
  6. All behavior must be interpreted in the context it appears in: aggression may be unacceptable in civilized society, but completely normal when it appears in a war.
  7. All behavior has a positive intention: people adopt behavior for a positive reason, like being afraid in a dangerous situation. When the fear is expressed in a safe environment, it must be remembered that the behavior, although unneeded at this point, was created to protect the person.
  8. How a person is behaving is the most important information about them: don’t judge the person, calibrate on the behavior
  9. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available:
  10. There are only unresourceful states, never unresourceful people: focus on the behavior and the state, the person is not the problem. Thinking the problem lies in the person will only make them resist and break rapport.
  11. Everyone has all the resources thy need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes: That’s right…. no more excuses.
  12. The Law of Requisite variety: The person with the most flexibility of behavior has the greatest influence on others. If you keep repeating the same thing that doesn’t work, you will be no closer to success than when you started.
  13. All of us have a unique model of the world: we all have different experiences and no two people on the planet see the world in the same way.
  14. Respect the model of the world of others: If we each see the world differently it becomes easier to understand when we disagree with someone’s view
  15. The map is not the territory: If we each see the world differently then no person’s reality is 100% accurate. Two people, for example, could have very different definitions for the word ‘Love’.

Some of these are very hard to swallow in specific situations, but they can be highly effective when we do. Are the presuppositions true? Who cares, as long as adopting them gets us the results we need!

(Photo by annais)