Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is an approach to human psychology that gives us a general guideline in understanding the way our mind and thoughts communicate to us both consciously and subconsciously, and how these messages program the way we behave. It's the connection between how we think, and these thoughts influence and drive how we experience, perceive and react to the world. NLP is simply, the map with which a person uses to view the world. So ultimately, everybody has a different map on how they see the world. It's why we all have different perspectives, or experiences, or outlooks on the same situations, and it's how we act in accordance to our own beliefs. 

NLP is mainly used as a tool to help aid great communicators and teachers to effectively understand people and how everybody perceives the world, allowing them to easily communicate messages. As you can probably already start to guess, this has many useful applications, such as resolving disputes in the workplace, or bettering our relationship with our spouses, or creating motivation within others. 

However, the biggest benefit about NLP, is it's ability to help you understand yourself. By giving us the ability to understand ourselves, and our thoughts, and how these thoughts shape our reality, we can now actively work towards developing ourselves better. 

NLP Basic Concepts

1. Understanding the power of words

The power of words is an extremely large topic so, I'll summarize for this article's sake. The words we use influence the way we think, feel and ultimately behave. For example, such phrases like "I have  to" as opposed to "I want to," will have you responding differently in either case. The necessity of "I have to" may make you feel obligated, pessimistic, (if its something you despise doing like studying for some) and will generate a non-productive emotional state. However, if you "want" to study, now that's a whole different ball game.

The simple fact is, the words we subconsciously (most of the time its habitual to use those words) use will influence our reality. Whether we're happy or not, capable or not capable, limited or not limited, creative or not creative. If you get into a habit of saying: "I'm just too lazy," eventually that will become your exact reality every time your faced with an extremely difficult or unwanted problem.

2. Meta Model

The Meta Model is based on gaining more specific information from someone's language patterns. In almost every conversation there are many words, meanings or implications, which are constantly assumed and overlooked between the 2 people talking. Have you ever had the feeling where you said something, and the person you're talking to completely took it the wrong way? Or maybe you seemed to have sent a completely different message to them? This happens because in our language, there are a lot of assumed things. 

For example, lets consider this statement: Jack woke up one day and decided to climb the mountain behind his house. 

In the sentence, we might assume that Jack has the ability to climb the house. However, we have no idea if he can. For all we know, he could be physically disabled, and might not have the capacity to. Although, when you initially read the sentence, we assumed that he could because of the way things were framed.

The Meta Model deals with these situations by asking questions to gain specificity. It could be just as simple as asking "how do we know Jack is able to climb the mountain?" and "why does Jack want to climb the mountain?" By gaining specificity, we are able to make better judgements about someone's messages.

3. Milton Model

The Milton Model is the complete opposite of the Meta Model, as it aims to create a bigger picture of things, or make things more vague and ambiguous to create rapport and influence. It aims at taking advantage of assumptions and implications to induce trance and gain compliance and agreement. For example, it might be saying: "I'm just wondering what your thinking about," or "I'm curious to find out what your thinking about," not just being blunt and saying "what are you thinking about?"

Alternatively, you can create ambiguity, such as, "the new paper and pens". We don't really know what's new, the paper or the pen, or both. 

4. Representation systems

A person's representational system, is the method for which they understand or process information the best. Each person processes information differently, some are visual, some are very auditory and others work on gut feelings and emotions. The idea is to match up your own communication to someone's representational system, which will help you to ultimately communicate your message a lot better.

For example, visual people will understand your message a lot better if you're using pictures or charts and graphs, or using phrases like: "Let me show you how this works," or "If you look at the circumstances..." Whereas, an auditory or feeling person may remain completely closed to any of these suggestions.

NLP is a very broad and growing practice in our society today, with only very few people understanding it's true potential and applications. What we have to appreciate is that NLP is not just a technique that you use once in a while, it's a lifestyle which assists us in all areas of our lives. It's applications range from being effective salesmen, being a better teacher and communicator, and even just creating motivation for ourselves to take action and complete tasks. 

The possibilities are limitless.