The NLP model includes a set of very positive assumptions about human beings and human behavior. Some of the most important of these “presuppositions” are:
1. All behavior has a positive intention.
For the part of the person that is responsible for a particular behavior, that behavior has a positive intention.
2. People make the best choices they can, depending on their maps.
Human beings work perfectly to produce the results they are getting given the context that they have.
We make the best choice available given our resources, environment, conditioning, and other functions of what is and is not part of our model of the world—our inner map of reality. When people have better choices available, they use them.
3. Everyone has within them all the resources they need to be, do, and have what they want. The problem, if there is one, is ACCESS!
People have access to rich internal representations and strategies and, therefore, can access all the resources necessary for them to make whatever changes they want. It is only a matter of effectively accessing those resources in appropriate times and places. The problem, when there is one, is getting access to those resources.
4. It is useful to make a distinction between behavior and self.
This is what it’s all about—the freedom to find expression for yourself. Your behavior at any moment is not you. If you think of any behavior as being you, you are cheating yourself. Making distinctions between behavior and self allows flexibility of behavior on the outside and leads to flexibility of behavior and experience on the inside.
5. The Map is not the Territory.
People are mapmakers constructing representations of their experience.
We, as human beings, do not respond directly to the outside world. Rather, we make a map or model based on our conditioning and experience. This map is made up of pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes.
The model that we create determines what our experience of, and responses to, the world will be. Even though much of our map is outside of our conscious awareness, it still determines how we perceive the world and what choices we have available—or not—as we interact with that world.
To change our experience we must change our maps.
6. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
There is no such thing as failure, only experience that helps us stay on the path to success. All information that comes to us can be utilized. Behavior always gets results of some kind. Experience provides the opportunity for gaining wisdom. It is only when we label and judge personal experience—rather than understand and use it—that we short-circuit the opportunity to learn. Feedback is what enables us to adjust our behavior in the direction of success. We only fail when we quit trying.
7. The meaning of your communication is the response that you get.
Regardless of how you send your communication, its meaning is ultimately the response that you get from your intended recipients. If they “don’t get it” then it means you have to do something more, or less, or different, in terms of your communication, for them to understand you better!
8. You are what you believe!
This may sound cliché, but it is true. It is very much similar to the following adages: “What you expect is what you get,” “What you focus on, grows,” “If you think, you can or cannot, then you can… or cannot! Simply put, we create our own future. Are you ready to create yours?
9. Behavioral change becomes more successful with more options at hand.
Healing, growth, and success are not a question of getting rid of behaviors, but rather of acquiring more behavioral choices that provide more options for useful responses in all areas of our lives.