NLP is a brilliant technology for creating personal change. Since its creation in the 1970s there has been no shortage of NLP self-help books.
Popular and recommended ones include Tony Robbins “Unlimited Power”, “Awaken The Giant Within” and Dr. Bandler’s recent book “Get the life you want”. All of these are good and many others also. But not everyone gets “top” results from every NLP book. So it’s a fair question to ask: Does doing NLP by yourself, from a book actually work?
The answer is yes, but it depends on 4 key things:
1. How well the author setup and articulated the procedure to be followed?
If the author did a poor job of articulating the procedure to be followed then it will be more challenging to follow. Not all authors do this well. Not every author is going to be your “cup of tea”.
2. Who is doing the “following”? (Their attitude to learning)
Who is doing the following is key. NLP is very much about the study of subjective experience. That’s a fancy way of saying how you use your mind and body to create specific results varies from person to person. No two people are exactly alike. If you are the kind of person who has a lot of internal dialogue and you always have to UNDERSTAND something before you are willing to even try something … then you are likely going to have problems using techniques from a book…
Why? Because you will be trying to make what you read “fit” into your understanding of the world and less likely to just DO what the author instructs. Some aspects of NLP, to someone who is very mind and logic driven, may not make much sense, at first. The idea for starters that changing how you use pictures, sounds, feelings etc can have and does have a profound impact can be a bit hard to believe, again at first. We’ve all been indoctrinated into this idea that change is a slow process and can only happen after you figure out the source of the issue … the why so to speak. And that is just not true.
Also if the person who is trying to apply the instructions is narrating on in their head with stuff like “is this working?”, “I don’t feel anything different” etc. then what they are doing will be interrupting the very process they are trying to effect.
Think about it, a technique is like a recipe. If you are cooking a meal and, while following the instructions you start adding in other ingredients that are counter productive to the taste, or decide to ignore other ingredients because you don’t see the point or don’t like it, then the meal you are trying to create isn’t going to come out the same as the chef intended. In fact you may have unintentionally screwed the whole thing up all together. Obvious, but people make this mistake all the time.
3. How well you can follow instructions?
How well you can follow instructions is of critical importance. Part of how the processes of NLP work is that they are designed to move a person through an experience – a new or different way of thinking/seeing/feeling etc about a particular situation or problem. Therefore the order of the sequence (i.e. make a picture first, then hear yourself say x, etc) and qualitative aspects (make the picture big, bright, make the audio sound low, muffled, far away etc) have a key role to producing specific effects.
If you don’t follow the instructions properly then you aren’t going to be able to get the same results.
4. The technique used & outcome being working on…
Finally, the type of technique or process the author is looking to instruct you through and the outcome you are using it on, also has a big role to play. Some techniques are designed for example to help you overcome trauma, get over a bad childhood etc. And they work really well. However if the experience you are trying to change is still very raw to you and you are trying to use a technique in a book by yourself, with no outside guidance, then your milage with this will vary.
Why? because if you are in the throws of tears at even the thought of X event, then trying to get yourself to follow a set of instructions from a book without first establishing a resource state (example feeling OK) etc is going to be difficult to do.
Also if you select the wrong technique to use on a particular outcome you aren’t going to get the result you want. So some knowledge about what technique to use (and combinations of them) is required.
So here are some tips on how to use the techniques of NLP from a book on yourself.
Tip #1: Go with the author’s instructions
As much as possible follow exactly as the author instructs and in the order he or she specifies.
Tip #2: Quieten all unnecessary internal dialogue
This means if you are in the habit of self-talking your way through a technique – zip it – doing an NLP technique on yourself is not an intellectual – ‘what would Socrates think’ kind of moment. After you have done the technique properly, and gotten a result, then if you still want you can go self-reflective on it. But it isn’t required.
Tip #3 Cut your cloth to measure
If you are just starting out using NLP with yourself then pick minor incidences and issues or behaviours you want to change. Don’t go and pick the most traumatic event of your life as goal number 1. Once you have gotten used to getting results and following the instructions then you can move onward to “bigger” stuff you’d like to change. And choose the right “tool” for the job. Many changes require a certain amount of conditioning so make sure you continue to repeat the process until it sticks.
Tip #4 A book doesn’t replace a skilled practitioner
Some stuff like uncontrollable nightmares, rape and self-harming behaviours etc are not the kind of thing I’d recommend you pick up an NLP book for. Go find someone who is properly trained in NLP or a qualified therapist and have them assist you in make the desired changes.
If you would like to learn more about how to use NLP with yourself then check out “Using NLP to create more of the life you want”… here.
Got a question or comment? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment box below.