Misconceptions about NLP
Misconceptions about NLP
Take an idea, any idea. Now using this idea, you can divide the world into those who believe in it and those who dismiss it. Religion, evolution, the string theory, genomics… the list of ideas that are debated endlessly is, well, endless, including misconceptions about NLP.
If you consider NLP as an idea whose time has come, you can divide the world into practitioners of NLP – who have personally witnessed great positive changes in their lives due to NLP – and outsider-skeptics – who dismiss it using rudimentary theories. Those who are exploring online NLP training in India, and to attend an NLP Practitioner program need to understand this.
There are proven strategies to debunk an idea – even the best of ideas. The debunker uses one or more of the following strategies:
- Accuse the science – label the idea unscientific
- Accuse the creators and practitioners of the idea as greedy, unscientific etc
- Accuse the followers of the idea – label them gullible
- Refute the benefits of the idea
- Refute the longevity of the benefits – in the case the above fails
Those who attack NLP use every single strategy mentioned above. Here are the most popular myths about NLP.
Misconceptions about NLP Demystified
Only demotivated people need NLP
This is like saying only blind people need eyes. Motivation is undoubtedly the fuel that takes us towards our goals and we cannot have enough of it.
Just because NLP offers effective techniques to become and stay motivated doesn’t mean it does just that. NLP is also great in helping the newly motivated person to pursue meaningful goals. Because, once you put fuel in the tank, you must have someplace to go.
NLP is a superficial framework
This criticism is sponsored by those who label NLP a pseudoscience practiced by a cult. Not surprisingly, only casual researchers have this view. Anybody who has studied NLP and seen it in action will never express such a view.
Perhaps this viewpoint comes from witnessing incredibly quick results to long-lasting problems. For instance, an expert NLP practitioner can help a person fearing snakes get rid of this fear in minutes. Minutes, not days. To the outsider, this might seem like a card trick… a temporary solution.
But NLP is all about making irreversible positive changes in thinking and behaving. That’s why it has found widespread acceptance in corporate training programs as well as personality development programs.
NLP is unproven psychology
This is an extension of the above point. Here, the critics are more charitable. They acknowledge the scientific nature of NLP but claim it to be unproven.
Any scientific idea will be repeatable, irrefutable, and pliable to reductionism. NLP holds true on all three counts. It leverages the latest and greatest research findings in neurology, linguistics, cybernetics, anthropology, and dozens of other sciences. Practitioners of NLP are able to hold on to their positive attitude during their entire lifetimes. This one is probably one of the top misconceptions about NLP.
But to the skeptics, NLP’s potential might seem as miraculous as a Smartphone would to a time traveler from the nineteenth century. The greatest scientists were misunderstood in their time. NLP is in noble company.
NLP is only for those willing to be manipulated
Here, the attack is not on NLP, but on the people who create results using the science. The premise is that tens of millions of people around the world can remain gullible for decades. They will continue to pay good money for programs without getting any results in return.
In reality, NLP is for those who are willing to create personalized models of excellence. Those who are not afraid to take a hard look at themselves while also seeking inspiration from the external world.
NLP uses hypnosis to manipulate
Here, the attack on hypnosis extended to attack NLP. A powerful idea like hypnosis is like nuclear energy – it can be used for the betterment of humankind or to destroy it. That doesn’t mean hypnosis itself is evil.
Also, hypnotic techniques are a small subset of what NLP has to offer. A practitioner of NLP might have the power to make others do as they say, but their intent is to free the client from their self-imposed shackles and to become independent thinkers in full control of their own lives. A small dose of hypnosis nudges this process forward.
The great benefits of NLP-based hypnosis are most visible in areas such as overcoming addictions, achieving weight loss, fighting depression etc.
Learning NLP is learning manipulation
Again, the attack changes direction – here, instead of accusing NLP practitioners, the clients who attend NLP programs are accused of learning to and then practicing manipulation.
What NLP does in reality is help practitioners influence discussions leading to decisions. Whether you are a realtor or a techie wanting to adopt the right software architecture, your job requires convincing people to do what is right, not just for you, but also for them. NLP provides sound strategies to achieve such results.
NLP triggers unpredictable changes in behavior
How can a science that is personalized to every individual do this? NLP is all about finding out what doesn’t work for an individual and effectively removing these unproductive patterns of thoughts and emotions, and then replacing them with resourceful ways of thinking and feeling.
The only unpredictable outcome is whether the individual would be successful or super successful.
Charismatic leaders make NLP appealing
Throughout history, charismatic leaders have swayed masses for a short time, but their inadequacies were exposed soon enough.
In reality, NLP helps people become leaders – leaders come in all shapes and sizes and leadership is as essential for the homemaker as it is to the CEO. NLP also helps leaders identify strategies that are limiting so that better leadership behavior can be exhibited.
NLP can be learned from books
That’s like saying one can learn swimming over the internet. NLP is an applied science and it requires not just a strong understanding of fundamental concepts, but also their rigorous application. This cannot happen unless one witnesses, learns from, and spends time with the best practitioners in the business. This one again is one of the top misconceptions about NLP.
While reading books can be a good entry point into science, it is in the classroom and the whole wide world that NLP makes your life blossom.
NLP is only for unspiritual introverts
Here, the accusation is that NLP is for introverts who intellectualize everything. Those who cannot see the grander spiritual truth.
If spirituality is about finding the highest truth about oneself – about being self-aware and congruent on a moment to moment basis – NLP can be termed a highly spiritual concept. By aligning the mind and body, NLP does a great job of marrying the material and the esoteric so that it becomes possible to live a balanced life. And by teaching the importance of compassion, wonderment, and values, NLP mirrors the positive force of spirituality.
NLP isn’t a thing
Finally, a point of criticism that is true. NLP is a methodology, not a thing. It is about resourceful living. By deeply transforming the conscious, and subconscious mind, it helps alter beliefs and deconstruct negativity. That’s why the changes effected by NLP are permanent, and quite often, quick.
NLP does not produce results
As the above points have already demonstrated, NLP works better and quicker than any other tool for behavioral change. No more needs to be said about this point.
Unlike machines, human beings are not born with User Manuals. It is both our responsibility and our privilege to find out who we are, what’s important to us, and how we attain these goals. We all have sought help to figure out these big questions. NLP has substantial answers for us. A good NLP Trainer will take you through NLP in a way so that you can leverage more out of it.
As children, before we were told that we cannot do this or that, we believed in ourselves fully. NLP takes us back to that resourceful state of thinking and being. NLP shows us how to model excellence and how to infuse excellence into our own lives. As we rise in stature – from within and also in the external world – our limitations dissolve. Seemingly impossible goals come within reach.