NLP Basics


Visualisation is one of the NLP basics that may also be described as an NLP secret or which you may have read about in the book The Secret , although you will discover the emphasis in NLP is a little different.

Visualise the thing that you want.  See it, feel it, believe in it.  Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.

Robert Collier

Think for a moment about travelling to work or college tomorrow to your favourite place and imagine waking up and not having a clue where you are to go.  That probably sounds a little silly to you.

It appears that way because we habitually visualise what we are going to do.  We constantly programme our minds in this way.

NLP harnesses this process.  Our minds do not readily distinguish between what we see in front of us and what we imagine in our minds.  It is all just pictures.

Our unconscious process and NLP basics

Whatever we think about our unconscious will endeavour to create.  So if you think doom and gloom all the time don’t be the slightest surprised if that is the way your life is turning out.

Try visualising successful outcomes and think happy thoughts.  Make a practise of it and see how your life changes for the better.

NLP basics, visualisation and coaching

When I coached young soccer teams many years ago we did not have a practise of visualising unsuccessful outcomes; on the contrary, we played to win.

In order to do that, I had to instil the right mind set into the players and this is something you can test for yourself if you have not already done so.

Those who are interested in soccer will know what a penalty kick is – a free dead ball shot at goal from 18 yards.  The only players involved are the penalty kicker and the goalkeeper.

We planned in advance which players would take penalty kicks if they were awarded. 

NLP basics and visualisation by the penalty kicker

So I got the kicker to imagine the goal posts were three times further apart than they actually were and the cross bar twice as high. 

As he was placing the ball on the penalty spot he was to envisage the goalkeeper  becoming smaller and smaller, so he had plenty of space in which to aim his shot.

Then the kicker was to imagine himself kicking the ball powerfully and accurately wide of the keeper and into the corner of the goal.

It would be wrong to say the kicker never missed, but his confidence was higher and his aim was generally truer.

NLP basics and visualisation from a different viewpoint

I coached our goalkeeper to take the opposite perspective. 

The odds are always rather less than the goalkeeper will save the penalty than the penalty taker will miss because he has but a split second to respond once the ball is kicked.

So the keeper was to imagine that his goalposts had shrunk and that he could comfortably reach either of them and the crossbar. 

He was also to keep his eye firmly rooted to the stationary ball and imagine it was three times the size so it would be much easier to keep out.

Then he was to visualise himself diving the correct way the moment the ball was struck and saving the ball cleanly.

Adapting NLP basics to other situations

This is one of those NLP techniques which is widely used in sport and is very effective and it can, of course, be adapted to many other situations.

When I was a very young golfer the professional who coached me always encouraged me when putting to view the whole as if it were the size of a very large bucket rather than a tiny hole in the distance.

That was an extremely effective technique on a large green where there might be a 30 or 40 yard putt with a danger of three or four putting.

Viewing the whole as an enormous bucket resulted much more often in no more than two putts (and sometimes holing at the first attempt), because the first putt was more likely to finish close to the hole.

NLP basics, visualisation and my experiments

I have experimented using these techniques with friends when target shooting and playing hoopla (as in fairground situations).

Try this when there is a fairground in your area (or if there is an amusement arcade or something similar).  Take the gun in your hand and aim at the target. 

Now, imagine the target is very much closer to you (perhaps half the distance), and something much more manageable.  See the target twice the size.  Now, finalise your aim and shoot.

Next try hoopla – where I always regarded myself as pretty hopeless case. 

Take the hoop in your hand and imagine the target is very much closer and all you have to do is almost drop the hoop over it. 

Have a few goes at that and see how much you improve.  I can honestly say I astonished myself and that my performance significantly improved.

If your job involves training others, it is well worth experimenting by splitting people into groups for a week or two, instructing them in visualisation techniques and then comparing the results after a couple of weeks.

Better results with NLP basics and visualisation

The more we use our imagination and visualisation to achieve what we desire, the better will be the results. 

If you never visualise failure, you are much less likely to get it.  When we had two very tiny children, my wife went out to work to support us while I went to university to study law.

Nothing could have been further from my mind than failure.  I thought only of graduating and getting the grade I needed to go on and become a fully qualified lawyer, and that is exactly what happened.

I used to arrive early in the morning, often before the law library had opened, and always passed the time of day with the caretaker who would be cleaning.

One morning the door to the great hall was open.  He ushered me in, put his arm around my shoulder and, pointing to the stage said, “When you finish your studies, this is where your graduation ceremony will be.”

That created a very vivid and colourful picture in my mind, and I held it there for the next three years until his forecast came to pass.  He was a wise and inspirational figure at that time.

This short article has touched on the principle of visualisation.  It is not a magic trick but a discipline. 

NLP basics, mental rehearsal and visualisation

Whatever you seek to achieve, make sure at the outset that rehearse it mentally and rehearse it thoroughly.

Be sure to see yourself succeeding rather than failing.  If you are a golfer you do not imagine hitting the ball into the lake if there is a water hazard; instead you imagine hitting the ball cleanly to the green and landing close to the hole.

That same principle applies to everything else you do.  See it in your mind.  Replay it time and again and then, when you actually come to do it, it will be nothing new.

Further NLP basics are set out below:

  1. Anchors
  2. Anchors Explained
  3. Association and Dissociation
  4. Body Language Signs
  5. Body Language, How to read
  6. Building Rapport
  7. Embedded Commands
  8. Godiva Chocolate
  9. Modelling 
  10. Modelling Genius
  11. Modelling helped me
  12. NLP Language Patterns - Deletion
  13. NLP Language Patterns - Distortion
  14. NLP Language Patterns - Generalisations
  15. NLP Language Patterns - The Meta Model
  16. NLP Language Patterns - Towards and Away
  17. Pacing and Leading
  18. Perceptual positions
  19. Reframing
  20. Spatial anchoring
  21. States
  22. (Changing) States
  23. Sub modalities
  24. Swish Pattern
  25. Visualisation


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