Things your mind doesn’t tell you
There are approximately 14 fundamental common sense principles that form the foundation of NLP.
A presupposition is a form of a perceptual filter; it’s an attitude, point of view, bias or assumption about an object, situation or a person.
It is this attitude that affects our perceptions about the world around us.
Think of them as the guiding principles or beliefs that hold the NLP model together.
NLP doesn’t proclaim these beliefs as being ‘ultimately’ true, but we do presuppose that they are.
In NLP, what is important about these beliefs is whether they are useful or not.
Here are some insights about one presupposition that I have found to be very useful in coaching.
The map is not the territory
For me, this is one of the most important presuppositions in the whole of NLP.
It represents how you see the world and was originally developed by Alfred Korzybski, the founder of General Semantics.
It simply means that we are always ‘slightly separated from ‘reality’.
We are receiving millions of bits of information every second of every day, but we only acknowledge or register 7 plus 2 bits consciously.
We can never really know the world as it is.
Simply because the information we receive through our five senses, is filtered through things like our values, beliefs and experiences.
Same event different experience
Because everybody experiences the world differently from each other, their perception of reality is also different.
Two people may experience the same event in different ways, one may be happy the other sad and angry.
These differences in how we experience our reality are neither right nor wrong.
In NLP, we only ask if the current map that you hold is useful for you at the moment.
The benefits of this powerful presupposition are that it points to the fact that our beliefs do not always reflect our reality correctly.
You may have lived your whole life believing in the ‘easter bunny’ but that doesn’t make it so.
It is possible that holding a belief like “being wealthy is only for ‘special’ people” can limit you.
You may have formed the belief while very young; it has now become a habitual belief that you have to be ‘special’ in order to acquire wealth.
Representation of your reality
Understanding that the map is not the territory helps you to realise that, being ‘special’ is not a prerequisite to acquiring wealth.
It’s not something that is written in stone, but rather a representation of your personal map.
This is good news because it allows you to break free from the limiting belief that has kept you poor.
Now when the current map is over-written with something more useful, for example: ‘anybody can achieve wealth when they set goals’.
You will then work with the territory in a ‘different’ way than you used to, making your experiences more resourceful.
We all create maps based on how we experience the world around us.
These maps are merely representations of our reality; they are not necessarily reality themselves.
This is why ‘the map is not the territory’ is so fundamental to inner change and balance in our lives.
It means nothing is written in stone and therefore can be altered or changed if necessary.