Introducing NLP

My friend Martin came over for pizza yesterday and found this book in my sofa.

Sounding slightly alarmed, he asked me to explain myself. I told him it was a book about a therapy-method designed to make yourself more aware of how you communicate. His reply was was somewhere along the lines of “Oh, I thought it was a guide to pick to pick up girls.”

Perhaps it can be used in such a way, but then only to make yourself more aware of how you present yourself and what you say. There is nothing there on what to say to get anyone to sleep with you. This “pick-up-guide” contains several interesting chapters, one about how to remove phobias, another on how to negotiate in business and another on metacogntive techniques for learning new and difficult subjects, even how to learn spelling techniques for dyslexics.

It really makes you think of how you communicate, not only with others, but also with yourself, as you think. I have so far found it very useful in trying to develop myself as a teacher and as a human being.

26 thoughts on “Introducing NLP

  1. Style can’t be learned from a book, and it is style that defines charisma. Everyone has their own style if they stop trying to be something they’re not.

    I’m sceptical of theories that encourage you to play with your own mind and complicate your thoughts. There’s a lot to be said for calling a spade a spade. Some of the most charming people are not in the least concerned about how others perceive them – and ironically, it is precisely that quality of theirs that draws others to listen to them and to be interested in what they’ve got to say.

  2. Well, I know several people who could be classified as charming based on that, but are actually assholes who couldn’t care less about anyone but themselves. Being attracted to these people is a bad idea and they would make terrible employees, simply because they take no feedback from anyone.

    The book is not about style or charisma. It’s basically a guide to understanding yourself and how you communicate. It doesn’t try to help you get laid in any form of way. It does, however, describe how you can pay better attention to classical music.

  3. I’m talking about people like my CEO, or all the directors that have made my organisation the success that it is. Not all charming people are assholes, and not all assholes are charming. But it is that quality that makes them successful career people. Some of the best teachers I had were the eccentrics that knew how to never apologise to children or be wound up by them – and you have to be quite confident not to be affected by them cos children can be cruel little shits.

    NLP… can be applied very out of context and make people insincere and fake.

  4. Being a teacher is sometimes the art of balancing the carrot with the stick, or even the fine art of saying No without any possible misunderstandings.

    And yes, applying NLP out of context can be dangerous. As can any method of psychology. Yet I would rather use NLP than drugs.

  5. I just was afraid that you where getting _to_ interessted in these people who pick up girls as a sport and had brought another book about them. I’m just glad my guess was wrong and if NLP helps you, thats grate! :)

    – Martin

  6. I read “The Game” in an effort to understand myself and the signs that other people show when they take an interest in me. I’ve since found it useful to understand myself better in order to improve my work as well as my social life.

  7. People using recreational drugs to be more likeable/agreeable are no better than those who apply psycho-babble-analysis/take drugs perscribed by psychologists to people who would like to be more likeable/agreeable/live an existence more pleasing to the people they would like to be accepted by (including themselves). It’s interesting that you are equating NLP with drugs – so you accept it is mind-altering and identity warping and that you quite need to be sensitive about who you tell about your habit if you don’t want to attract problems. The problem with announcing one’s application of psychology/self-help that it can make those who know someone’s doing it feel awkward/uncomfortable around them – kind of like announcing drug-use to those who don’t do it. I suppose that’s why confidentiality/discretion is so important… or only sharing it to people who are doing the same thing.

  8. Well, I think that seeing a psychologist is a (hopefully) positive mind-altering experience that is somewhat safer than doing selfmedication. Research also shows that the usage of antidepressants without therapy don’t help in the long run. As for reading books, I think that they can help, but they must be taken for what they are. If you claim that a book changed your life, then you are obviously giving it too much credit and claiming an almost supernatural power. People who put too much emphasis on martial arts, training, self-help-systems, drugs, shopping or any other (possibly) addictive behaviour should take a wider perspective on what they do to see if they are losing control. Sharing said experience with other believers will certainly not help you get a wider perspective on your behaviour.

    I also think that anything we humans do are mind-altering experiences. You cannot avoid learning. You cannot avoid experiencing change. You can however deny yourself the feeling of change or hold back in the hope that you haven’t changed. In that sense anything that happens to you might be a mind-warping experience, it depends on the perspective of what you’re observing, both at the time of the observation, but also in hindsight. Even change for the better might be perceived negatively if the person cannot see the improvement as something positive.

  9. Agree that wider perspective is important. Emphasising that losing sight is pointless / counter-productive / ultimately undesirable.

    You’re talking to someone who has grabbed more changes in life by the horn than the average person would. Take my word for it, there’s a lot to be said for stillness sometimes. Change for changes’ sake is also a form of addiction. If chnage is not done for the right reasons it won’t be worth it.

  10. And I’ve often taken too few chances in my life. Sitting on your ass doesn’t necessarily create stillness, just another form of uneasiness. Stillness comes from a congruence between your experiences and your ideals, either from getting comfortable with the things you are already doing or from doing things that you already feel comfortable with or something to that effect. :-)

  11. Ok, put it this way, there is a difference between growth and mutation, and I’m of the opinion that to make sure something counts as growth is to go out, live life, and get new experiences. Let those experiences inform how you think and feel about yourself and how to interact with the world around you. The danger of sitting at home and reading someone else’s theory about how you should think and feel about stuff is that… well, you have nothing to base on whether the reasons they’ve cited for suggesting what they suggest are the right ones for you.

  12. I was thinking about the distant past. After I started working, I decided to do what I wanted instead of following the cashflow. So, I decided to become a teacher instead of an IT-dork working for a stupid bank and spend some time in China instead of sitting on my ass and opening a tea-house instead of taking no risks. All of those things have led me to having more fun, feeling more at ease. It’s not like I read books instead of having a life. I read books and have a life. :-)

  13. I have felt lonely. I have felt that my social circle has been too small and too narrow. I have wanted to meet more people, not to mention, more different people.

  14. Well, to be honest, me too. Not so much on the lonely bit, but restless with the disparate group of people that I know – where many of them are just too caught up in their own lives to be a meaningful part of mine. It’s not where I see my future. However, I don’t really think I need to change anything fundamental about me, only the superficial bits – like start hanging out in different places and doing different things that interest me. It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it, but it’s often the obvious we overlook, and waste time being too harsh on ourselves and changing this and that about ourselves (which confuses life even more).

  15. To me, hanging out in a different place is a fundamental change. It will usually involve getting to know a whole lot of different people (which can be good, but can also drive your thoughts and ideas in new directions which might feel strange and a little scary sometimes) that you need to attune to. I had a great weekend, and yesterday was fantastic. I felt at last that I had some kind of break-through from the loneliness and the boredom. I’m still not sure where all these new people are taking me (if anywhere…) :-)

  16. There will be a few dead leads and yes I sympathise about the “scary” aspect of getting to know whole new groups of people – when I have gathered my energy I want to spend a weekend pretending I am a tourist in my own city, and go to some vastly different hangouts, on my own, and meet new and different people. Sometimes you get let down… like right now I feel quite let down that I hadn’t heard back from Kiko from “The Knife” gig. I thought I met a new interesting person that I would no doubt see again, but I guess I was wrong.

  17. I met a lot of people who either work in cafés, restaurants or hang out in them a lot. A lot less alternative people than I’m used to, which is fine by me. I still feel I’m on the verge of something good, but sometimes I feel that if I don’t spend every available moment in public, I’m going to miss out on something, which is plainly wrong. I’ve felt a lot of sympathy from people lately, and it’s made me feel better.

  18. Another thing I am trying to do is to spend less time online. I preferred my life before the internet in many ways.

    Off to pub now!

  19. I don’t want sympathy. I simply want the people I want in my life to enjoy being around me and to seek my company out. Simple.

  20. I think you misinterpreted what I meant by sympathy. I just feel lately that different people have been appreciating my company.

  21. Good. Appreciation is a great thing. Most people are too selfish or self-conscious to show real appreciation.

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