Neuro-linguistic programming or (NLP) is a great tool for life
Neuro-linguistic programming or (NLP) has been a great asset and a powerful tool to me since a decade.
Dry books, interesting stories, some exciting meetings with few inspiring and very knowledgeable personalities during my early career years, more than a decade ago, are what brought together the importance of NLP to me in different forms and sometimes the most unexpected ways.
The first time I had heard of NLP was during my appointment with a dentist back in the year 1998. As I was waiting for my turn, an elderly lady came and sat next to me. The place was very crowded and each appointment was taking a lot of time. After almost an hour, the lady next to me got up and just as she was about to enter, a young man, probably in his mid thirties at that point of time, pushed her aside and tried to barge in. When the attendant at the clinic tried to stop him, he simply lost it and started yelling at everyone including the old lady.
The place went dead quite all of a sudden; the doctor came out and asked that person to leave. After the lady came out from the doctor’s appointment, another lady asked her, ‘why did you not react when that person was shouting at you? You should not take such abuse from people, do you have no self-respect?’ It almost looked like she was yelling at that lady too.
At that point of time, the old lady sat next to me and told this story, “My late husband used to practice this technique called as NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming, back when we were staying in America few years ago. In that NLP process, he used to tell me a story in which one person is angry and shouting at the top of his voice to the other. Finally after some time, when mellowed down, the angry person asks, ‘why are you not shouting back, did you not feel bad?’ to which the other person responded, “If you gave me flowers and I do not accept it, what happens to the flowers?” and the person responded, “It withers away”. Now the other individual looked at that angry fellow and said, “Yes, it withers away, similarly, if you throw your words at me and I do not accept it, that, withers away too.”
That was the first time I had heard about NLP from someone. And as fate would have it there were many more such instances, where I kept hearing about it in different scenarios. Once someone told me how useful it was in their career, for some it was personal life goals, for few others it was social goals and professional success. Finally, when we got internet in India, I started reading as many books on it as I could and articles on it wherever I could find them. Then I started reading about the Founding father of NLP, Richard Bandler.
Over a period of time, I had heard and read a lot about Tony Robbins too and his books and techniques were inspiring in many ways. Of Course, there was no argument that Bandler was the one and only individual who could actually talk about the process, metaphors and about these techniques to a great extent as he kept improvising the steps over the years to perfect them for others too.
NLP is simply about, tuning or coding your brain, mind to communicate well, first with yourself and then with others. Of course, perfection takes years of practice and tremendous dedication over decades. Very few are able to perfect it too, since there is truly no one way to do it. It changes from scenario to scenario and person to person.
It’s said that it has the power to achieve specific goals in life, be it personal and or professional.
The process argues that with perfection of NLP techniques, practice and process, one can empower and change the behavior (in self and others) by manipulating sense-based subjective representations be it visual, audio or through one’s feelings.
So I was obviously excited when a close friend of mine, Ankoor invited me for his Neuro linguistic programming NLP session in Mumbai. I was excited because of two reasons, firstly, it was a topic that was very close to my heart and secondly, one of my very good friends was starting a venture of it and if that does not make you feel elated, what will?
He started the sessions by understanding the participants and knowing their patterns and behavior much better though a series of questions etc. He kept sharing that NLP needs each one who is a part of it to be equally active and involved and most importantly, wanting to change or learning something new in the process.
This was a two day session and it was exciting and resourceful. He shared some wonderful techniques, some of which I was aware of, few I was already a long time practitioner of the same myself and few which were excitingly refreshing and completely new to me too.
I do not intend to share too much of the process and event experiences since many of them were personal too for some of the participants. But yes, I loved the fact that I learnt so much from those who had come for the events too. I made quite a few friends and contacts in the process.
The power of NLP is that, one can apply it to whatever you want to get out of life. But, yes, I am reiterating it, one needs to keep practicing it constantly.
In fact, I had attended a sales presentation and training workshop almost eight years ago, where one of the trainers (from SALESFORCE) used few techniques and process from NLP for the same. It was wonderful. He added that, NLP can be used for persuasion, sales, negotiation, management training, public speaking and so much more.
And again a few years ago, when I was on a flight to Singapore, a gentleman sitting next to me was reading a book of Richard Bandler and we got into a conversation. In the next few minutes he told me this wonderful story, “One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help. This was generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.” Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole”
It is said, that inspiring stories, emotional experiences and metaphors, play an extremely vital role. That’s when it hit me, ‘storytelling’, is a great way to reach and engage audiences too, as a brand or as a service industry for eg, when you create a storyline, the whole idea seems to be more easily digestible.
Ankoor too shared some interesting stories, one of which was about “Harsha Bhogles’s quote about Rahul Dravid, in which Harsha said, that, “Rahul Dravid was out in the last match of his career when he tried to hit a six. A man, who has been known his entire career to play it safe, got out hitting a six just because his team needed him to try and do that. That says a lot about such a legend of a team player.’ He then shared some more important anecdotes, experiences, activities etc through the two day NLP session.
I remember my BRAND coach at one of the advertising agencies telling me back during 2007, that ‘Use stories and metaphors when you talk about brands. Their power is immeasurable. It can induce emotional states, help you reframe their thought about a product or a service, build engagement, connects, keep it fresh and entertaining etc’.
So when we think about it, imagine, what it can really do to us, as individuals, if it can empower such emotional states with brands, what power can it have over relationships, be it personal or professional when practiced well.
Similarly Ankoor shared some interesting ideas to break negative states, change the anger mode etc with the participants too. His wife, Anita too was a wonderful support during this entire process and their combined presence in the room spoke multitudes about them as individuals and as a couple.
You can check out their website liberatewithnlp.com, you can also download the sound of MEDITATION (The mp3 file in which the voice is of Anita will help you to relax as you follow the instructions. Her professionalism as a voice and accent trainer shines through and Ankoor’s professionalism as a trainer is seen in those words used too – The file is titled EXPERIENCE CALMNESS)
Few images from the event:
NLP is more about empowering yourself with self-reflection and yes, metaphors in it do help and play a vital role. These contain messages which for eg. different individuals interpret according to their state of mind, which is again a great way to understand one’s own subconscious.
Reflect, listen, feel, visualize and keep improvising.
The learning curve never ends!
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