Presuppositions – the Beliefs that Guide NLP

Presuppositions in general are beliefs underlying a system. The presuppositions of NLP are beliefs that guide and have guided the development of NLP. They are not necessarily true, but produce useful results. Beliefs are usually self fulfilling. If we believe someone doesn’t like us, our defensive manner can make this a reality.
If we believe we can master a skill, we persevere until we do. These beliefs are as follows: –

The Map is not the Territory.

The way we represent the world refers to reality, it isn’t reality itself. We don’t respond to reality. We respond to our internalized map of reality. How we represent things are out interpretations. Interpretations may or may not be accurate.

People work perfectly

No one is broken. People function perfectly even if what they are doing is ruining their life. All behavior has a structure. When you understand the structure, you can change the outcome into something more desirable.

People make the best choice available at any given time.

The idea is to add choices and resources. When you take away choices, other compensating behaviors can occur.

People have all the resources they need.

This assumption opens up possibilities. Resources mean the internal responses and external behaviors needed to get a desired response. Often people have resources that they haven’t considered or are available in other contexts. Maybe you know someone who shows good leadership skills at work but can’t manage his or her children.

The meaning of communication is the response you get.

This is one of the most important presuppositions in NLP. We think that if someone misunderstands us there is something wrong with him or her.
Both verbal and non-verbal behaviors trigger responses in others. The point of communication is to get an outcome. An effective communicator is not someone with good command of language and delivery. She is someone who gets her desired response.

You cannot not communicate.

We are always communicating either verbally or non-verbally. Even the absence of a response is information. For instance, when someone stops talking suddenly or becomes quiet.

Every behavior has a positive intent in some context.

A behavior is always valuable somewhere at some time. Anger is useful when someone is under attack. Anger out of context may be an attempt to get people to understand. It may not however be useful or gain the desired result.

There is no such thing as failure only feedback.

Every result gives you information.

Mind and body are connected.

Each affects the other. Our eye patterns reveal our internal sensory processing. Other behavioral cues are speech, tempo and breathing rate. Just as behavioral cues in the body reflect the functioning of our mind, so accessing a particular behavioral cue can affect functioning of our mind. For example slumping in your chair can make you feel tired.

Possible in the world, possible for me.

Individual skills are a function of the development and sequencing of representational systems. Any skill talent or ability that an individual has can be broken down into its components and taught to anyone who does not have severe physiological or neurological damage.
Representational Systems that are not fully developed can cause some learning difficulties. This presupposition is the basis of NLP Modeling.

The person or element with the most flexibility in a system will have the most influence.

This is the Law of requisite variety from systems theory. This means the person with the most options and behavioral choices will control the system. In any field, the top people in that field are those who have the most variety in their behavior. They have choices of behavior that their colleagues don’t.
Any time you limit your behavioral choices you give others the competitive edge. If you are able to respond to any situation in a variety of ways, you are more likely to get your outcome.