What is NLP?







What is Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)?


Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a unique approach to learning


We live in a cul-de-sac and many times we have had many children riding their bikes, scooters, skateboards, while others played handball or tennis or cricket.

On one particular day two, preteen sisters, of one of the families that have often visited one of our neighbors, were riding Ripsticks. A Ripstick is a skateboard like device that has only two castor wheels that swivel and the two ends of the stick are joined by a spring. It is different to a skateboard in that to stay upright one must keep moving. Forward motion on the Ripstick is achieved by moving your body and either moving the ends of the board in opposite directions which moves the castors in opposite directions or riding the stick like a skateboard which makes the castors turn in the same direction.

I watched in fascination as the two girls stood upright on the sticks and through small, opposite movements of their feet they propelled themselves and traveled around in a large circle, over and over again, at the end of the cul-de-sac. My eldest daughter was also watching the girls on the Ripsticks.

Soon Christmas arrived and my brother bought my daughters Ripsticks. My eldest daughter was soon up and Ripsticking and her movements were exactly like the two sisters that we had observed earlier; standing upright and propelling herself forward with small opposite movements of her feet… no variation… and tracing exactly the same circle. Hmmm…

After Christmas we made our way up to my brother’s place on the Gold Coast. This particular brother of mine has surfed for many years and has a lot of skill in this sport. When he saw my daughter’s Ripsticks he quickly hopped on one and, with only a few words of instruction from myself, who had not even ridden one at that point in time, was soon carving his way up the sidewalk as if he had been riding Ripsticks for years. He was surfing the Ripstick with tight turns as his body twisted and spun in the air. His range of body movement changed often and dramatically from almost upright to almost squatting. What he was doing on the Ripstick was very different to what the two sisters, whom I had originally observed, were doing when they were riding theirs.

My eldest daughter also watched my brother on the Ripstick.

After having watched the two sisters, my daughter and then my brother it was time for me to have a go.

I jumped on and immediately started to twist and turn my body exaggerating every move and over-muscling all of my efforts for what seemed very small rewards. Yes, I was moving forward and I was turning where I wanted to… and it all seemed like it was just luck. I was doing so much and yet my progress, my forward motion, was not anywhere near as fluid or as speedy as my brother’s performances. For two days I over muscled all my moves on the Ripstick and my skill level did not progress.

One evening, when we got back home after our holiday with my brother and his family, there was a multitude of kids playing in the cul-de-sac. They ranged in age from fours years to mid teens. My daughters brought their Ripsticks out to play with the other children. One of the teenage girls asked for a ride on one of the Ripsticks and proceeded to ride with the most elegant and fluid movements that I had yet seen anyone do on a Ripstick. Her movements were beautiful; she made it look very easy. So… I observed her and I emulated her movements with tiny micro-muscle movements as I watched. I kept my movements small and eschewed any attempts to understand how she was doing what she was doing; I simply mimicked her movements. That night I only observed and didn’t get a chance to hop on the Ripstick.

A few days later my daughters and I went out to the end of the cul-de-sac to ride scooters and bikes and Ripsticks. I thought I would give the Ripstick a go and hopped on expecting myself to over do it again. To my surprise I shimmied and turned and carved my way down the cul-de-sac with an ease and grace very similar to what I observed the young girl demonstrate only days before. My movements were very much unconscious and when I did try to consciously analyse what I was doing, how I was doing it, my movements become jerky and over-muscled again. So I quieted the conscious analysis and found the rhythm and ease again.

I stopped and picked up the Ripstick and laughed at myself. I had been doing NLP and didn’t consciously know it.


This is NLP too

There’s a story about John Grinder, co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a world-renowned communication trainer that goes as follows:
John’s daughter, at the age of about 8, asked him,
“Daddy, what is NLP?” Rather than give her a technical explanation, John did something more practical: he gave her an experiment to try. He said:
“Go and ask Grandma (who was in the next room): ‘How’s your arthritis today?’” John’s daughter went next door, and returned a few minutes later. “Well”, said John, “Did you ask her?”
“Yes”, replied his daughter.
“What did she say?” asked John.
“She said it was good of me to ask, but that it was really hurting”.
“And what did you notice: how did she sound?”
“She scrunched up her face and sounded like she was in pain”.
“Go back and ask her this”, said John. “Ask: Grandma, did Daddy ever do anything really funny when he was a little boy?” Again, John’s daughter went next door, and returned a few minutes later, this time with a grin on her face. John grinned in response. “Well”, said John, “did you ask her?”
“Yes”, replied his daughter.
“What did she say this time?” asked John.
“She told me this really funny story about how silly you were when you were little, Daddy!” replied his daughter.
“And how did she look and sound this time?”
“Oh, she was laughing and she seemed happy”.
“So, different from the first question?”
“Oh, yes, completely different”.
“That difference is NLP”.


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