2007-12-29 11:28 PM

Be Valuable

I just ran across a flippant comment about using “nlp patterns”. The comment seemed to blow off the use of “nlp patterns” and it got me thinking.

First off, there are no such things as “nlp patterns”. There are advanced language patterns derived from the modeling that Bandler and Grinder refined into NLP. The funny thing about NLP is that all the patterns existed before Bandler et al codified and named them — people just didn’t have a way to identify and analyze the patterns.

Secondly, there seems to be a commonly held confusion regarding what NLP is or is not. Most common seems to be mistaking the techniques and patterns for NLP. The patterns occur naturally in the course of human communication. As far as I’m concerned NLP is all about the awareness of what is happening and what the alternatives are to the current pattern.

For example, I hear parents (myself included) telling their kids what not to do. “Don’t run around the house!” And what do the kids hear? “… run around the house!” If they are really paying attention they will even hear the whole sentence. Now they are focused on the thing you don’t want them to do and are left on their own to figure out what you might want instead. The difference that my NLP background makes is that when I inadvertently say something like that I immediately turn the negative command around with a positive direction. “Slow down. Walk in the house.”

My third major thought is that many people assume that using NLP somehow means you are being sneaky. These may be the same people that use complex equivalences like “being a lawyer means over charging those in need” or “hammers are not safe because I can hit my thumb and hurt myself”. (And I’ll bet they find a pricey lawyer to sue the hammer manufacturer when they do hit their thumb.) The NLP mindset and the resulting techniques are just tools. And like any tool they have the capacity to do useful work or to cause harm to oneself or others. The factors in safely using any tool are intent, skill level, and context. Poorly chosen intent, lack of skill, or inappropriate context often lead to disaster with even the simplest of tools.

All of which led me to the idea of integrity and value. Set aside any moral or ethical concerns — acting with integrity and generating value are profitable (in money and more importantly in relationships). When you generate value with your words and actions you encourage others to “pay” you for that value by generating something of value to you. The value of serving others is extolled equally in the Bible and in secular business circles. By creating value we raise life above the level of a zero-sum game and create a positive upward spiral.

For example, I created my Presentation Primer video in order to help others produce better presentations. By combining my PowerPoint experiences with those of people like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin I can help people improve communications with their audience. By increasing the quality of your presentations and your communications I am helping you create more value for your audience. The upward spiral continues as long as everyone continues to create more value in the lives of others. (That is an embedded command in case I was too subtle.)

So, to recap:

  • we all use “nlp patterns” (or more accurately language patterns) because they are a natural part of communicating,
  • NLP is a tool for improving communication and like all tools should be used with positive intent and sufficient skill in an appropriate context, and
  • the world becomes a better place when we create value for others with integrity.

What value are you creating for your family and friends, business community, neighborhood, country, and across the world?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Be Valuable”

  1. Life, Love, & Learning - How to “Win” in Life Says:

    […] Assume for a moment that life is a game. Like all superb games it is not zero-sum — there is a way for one player to win without another player having to lose. As I mentioned previously the upward spiral of win-win-win is achieved by being valuable and serving others. […]

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