Neuro Linguistic Programming is (among many other definitions) the study of the subjective experience. This means that instead of trying to put people into boxes of what should be happening (objective study), people are seen as unique and one takes a general interest in the other person’s map of the world. What reality is, or what it looks like, we cannot objectively say. We can only say what we perceive to be real or not. As such, how do we go about constructing our view of reality? What are the processes and steps our brain and mind go through to determine our picture of reality?
There is a vast amount of sensory data coming at us at all times. I have not found a number to say exactly how much, but I am sure it must be somewhere in the millions of pieces of information at any given point in time (should you have some research for this, please do let me know). Think about it, think about all that is around you. That is a lot of things to be paying attention to. As we can only pay attention to so much (more on this later), one of the first processes our brain goes through according to the NLP Communication Model, is called “Deletions”. We delete a vast amount of data every second, just to be able to pay attention to what is new, or what we do, the rest is filtered out, or are you currently aware of your socks? What about the top of your head? Chances are, you are now that I have mentioned them, but before, you had deleted that information in order to pay attention to your computer screen….
The other day I got a phone call from a friend, asking me whether I was in town, because he had seen me with some pretty woman in the bus. My response was the following:”Mate, I am not even in the country, so , no!” This process is called “Distortions”. Not only do we delete a lot of information, we also distort it to match our model of the world, our beliefs and values. Sometimes, we read meaning into gestures or behaviors that have none, so we distort whatever sensory information we get to prove ourselves right.
Have you ever been in an internet cafe? How is it that you can use the computer there although yours home is different? How could you even sit down on the chair, and let’s not talk about opening the door…Well, this leads us to the final process, called “Generalizations”. As human beings, we are generalization machines. We learn once what a chair looks like, and all the other forms that match that one are labeled “chair”. You learnt to type on one keyboard, and whenever you see something similar you assume “ahhh, keyboard”. This way we stay functional in today’s environment, and it is a great way of applying what you learnt in one context and using it in others.
Of course, there is a lot more going on than just that, yet these three processes are the big building blocks with which we construct our world, our own little snapshot of what is real to us. Just think about the vast implications this has on the way we think, speak, judge, and ultimately are…