What is NLP?

This is a common question I’m asked. NLP is the acronym for Neuro Linguistic Programming. In this post I’ll explain what NLP is and how I’ve used it to alter my own experience.

You’ve probably never thought of this before but when you open a door there is a sequence of things that you do. You begin by moving your hand towards the door, squeezing the handle, rotating the door handle and then pulling open the door. This is all done automatically for you. You don’t even have to think about it.

Now on the other hand imagine that every time you went to open a door, you had to do it manually at a conscious level.  It may go something like this,

Ok hand. Lift up and reach for the door. Come on, you can do it.. good, you got it – nice work! Ok, now I want you to squeeze the door handle and give it a twist. There you go, good, good, done. You’re doing great. Next I want you to pull open the door. < Door opens > Alright, you did great  Thanks for helping me out hand. You’re the best!

It’s insane to think about going through this process consciously. It would drive us nuts. Besides it would make things a hell of a lot harder to do.

For instance, you surely wouldn’t see people talking on their cell phones and driving at the same time. It just wouldn’t work. The only reason you can do both is because you drive unconsciously. Yup, it’s true. You’re half awake when you drive.

If you drove by being conscious, you would never be able to speak on the phone at the same time. What a concept.

Since your subconscious mind is able to process a lot more information than your conscious mind, you are able to multi-task your thinking. The cool thing about this is that a lot of our behavior is managed through our subconscious. It’s automatic. It’s mostly programmed by our past thoughts.

Now your mind is just perfect the way it is. It’s the most powerful learning machine on the planet. Once you learn something, you store it and can retrieve it anytime you want. Your mind downloads information 24 hours a day at 7 days a week. The poor guy never gets a break. If it weren’t for him we wouldn’t be able to do most of the things that we do with our subconscious mind including:

  • Working holistically
  • Intuition
  • Creativity
  • Running your body
  • Taking care of your emotions
  • Storing memories

Now some people get all weird when they hear about NLP. They think it’s this crazy thing where people get brain washed, like therapy or something. The truth is that we’re all being programmed by the various stimuli in our environment all of the time.

The thing is that once you learn to harness the power of your subconscious mind, you will begin to see amazing things happen. One of the ways that I’ve learned to work with my subconscious is through NLP.

Eliminating Pain

I remember one afternoon, a friend and I decided to go for a couple of drinks at a club downtown. It was Friday and we decided to mix it up and have some fun.

On the way to the club I decided to grab a spicy sausage, some street meat. As I was eating my sausage I began to notice a tingling sensation in my gut. I just ignored this and thought it would pass. As we got closer to the club I noticed the tingling sensation had turned into a mild cramp. When we finally got into the club it had turned into a burning fireball. This wasn’t good. I ran to the bathroom.

When I got to the bathroom, I didn’t have to go. Nothing was happening and I wasn’t sure what to do. I kept thinking of the pain and how I could get rid of it. That’s when it hit me.

In NLP, you play with your five senses to adjust your experience.  You can modify or adjust your hearing, seeing, feel, taste or smell.  In this case it was all about feeling and the kinesthetic side of things. Well I was definitely feeling something. I was taught that by fine-tuning my sub-modalities I would be able to change my experience and eliminate the pain. So I decided to give it a try.

I was sitting there and could feel the hot burning sensation in my gut. To begin with I took my left hand and used it to relocate the hot sensation in my gut to a space that was outside of me. I literally moved the burning sensation to a space outside of my body. Next I took my right hand and filled it with a cool icy feeling and placed it in the location where the burning was. Within five minutes I was back in action. The pain was completely gone. Go figure, NLP really works.

Working with Money Feelings

On another occasion, not too long ago, I was on the phone with an NLP Master Practitioner. Her name was Julie. Julie and I were on the topic of money. I told Julie how I had been working with a client who had paid me cash. When my client gave me the money I instantly got tight in the chest, sort of like an anxiety feeling. That was weird. It was weird because I consciously felt good about money, but obviously something was not quite right.

There was something that wasn’t sitting right with me, so I mentioned it to Julie. She told me that when I feel something so does my client.  That made sense to me.  My client is likely to pick up the vibrations I’m picking up. She also asked if I was able to eliminate the anxiety feelings myself, which I hadn’t up to that point.

After some further discussion, Julie said that she could help me with the awkward feeling by utilizing some NLP techniques. She then asked what I thought and I said, Well, I’m thinking that if you can get help me get rid of that feeling then so can I. I’m also thinking that if I learn how to do this, then I can teach others too.”

That night I began to get really curious. Could I release my own anxiety with money?  How could I eliminate my negative feelings with money?

Becoming a Ninja in NLP

In the back of my mind, I kept hearing Elizabeth Butler’s voice saying, NLP is about doing, not talking or thinking. Just do it! Elizabeth was my trainer. She is an NLP Master Trainer.  I refer to her as a Brain Ninja.

I took Elizabeth’s advice and did what she said. I went over to a quiet space and began playing with some NLP exercises. After about thirty-minutes I got up and felt pretty good inside. I felt refreshed. The next day I was on the phone with my business coach and I’ll never forget what he said to me. It was the first time he had ever said something like this. He said, Steve, I want you to visualize yourself attracting $1,000,000 into your life by the end of this year, when he said that I almost flipped off my rocker. It felt amazing to hear the words come out of his mouth. It felt natural and it felt awesome. It had worked. For the first time in my life, I felt fantastic about money.

What is NLP?

The reason that I share these stories is so that you realize that NLP is an experience. If you’ve done any research on NLP then you will discover that there is a lot of technical jargon on the web. This technical jargon just confuses people. The concepts in NLP are easy enough to understand once you use them.

I remember when I first began to work with Elizabeth Butler she would ask us to do these exercises. At first I was really annoyed with her suggestions. The exercises seemed pointless. After weeks of practice I started to understand why I was doing the exercises.  NLP really is an experience.  The more you play with your experience the more you can change your experience.


  • Jason

    Reply Reply May 4, 2007

    Nice read. Here’s a link to an article that I read this week (it’s off topic, but it demonstrates how powerful your subconsious is):


  • Tony

    Reply Reply July 27, 2007

    This is the first time I’ve heard of NLP. I’d like to understand it more. Though there are a lot of reads available on the Net, they don’t really explain it fully unless you buy something from them. Anyway, can you give me a specific example of a NLP exercise that I could experiment on? I would appreciate it a lot.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply July 31, 2007

    Hey Tony,

    You’re asking a great question, especially when it comes to NLP.


    I would love to give you an exercise. I will put it up in a post that provides some valuable exercise for you.

    Stay tuned,


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