NLP Precepts

NLP Presuppositions

1 The map is not the territory

People respond and make choices based not on an absolute reality, but according to how they perceive the world. People can only process five plus or minus 2 pieces of information at a time. There are 2 million bits per second coming at you. You delete, distort, and generalize information.


We don’t notice certain things. Especially if we are not interested in them. If we did we would be overwhelmed with information.


CONFIRMATION BIAS – You pay more attention to information that supports what you belief.

The Bandwagon Effect – we are likely to belief what we see others believing or doing

The Halo effect – If we like one quality in a person, we tend to view other qualities more favorably.


We look for commonality and predictability. We take mental short cuts. So the world we perceive is not reality- it’s our filtered representation of reality.

With a map it doesn’t matter if it’s true- it matters if it’s useful. The implication of the map not being the territory. Yours is not the only truth. Each person has a different viewpoint. People make choices which make sense according to their own maps of the world. Practical ways to make this principle work for you. See other people’s point of view.

1. To influence someone, start from their map of the world

Match the other persons physiology – stand as they stand , breath as they breath, move as they move. Use your intuition to perceive what they might think, and to avoid error check with what they really do. Start with a position that makes sense to them and is compatible with their beliefs, and build bridges to the place you want the person to get to. Which of their values or beliefs could have been getting in the way of the change you want them to make? And which ones might help move them towards where you want them to go?


What is a the belief that is holding them back or not serving them. Feel you cant do something, or you don’t deserve something. Look for examples for where the belief is not true. Generalizations they make that don’t serve them. Actively look for counter examples, There are always exceptions, this breaks the belief that its true. When you think you cant do something you want to do. Ask what would happen if you did?

Comfort Zone

Its always best to be a little uncomfortable. That’s how you learn. Be comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.

2. All behavior is the best choice you have at the time.

There may have been other choices they could have made. But if those choices where not in there map, they won’t even see them. If you have done something in the past you regret and would now do it differently, you have learnt something. You are doing the best  you can with the resources you have, using your enriched map. So there is no point beating yourself up over it . Just focus more on what you want.  Doing the best with the information that you have, your enriched map.

You are of course responsible for your actions. If you continue to do behaviors you don’t like the result of, what is the payoff, or secondary gain you are getting. Secondary gain is the intent you have. What important to you about x, what you are doing?  There is a positive intent behind the behavior. Its like the subconscious mind  is wanting something different than the conscious mind. You need to separate the positive intent from the behavior which has negative results.

If the behavior is the best choice currently available. Its hard to hate someone just like you if they are  doing the best they can with the information they have also.

Practical ways to make this principle work for you.277