Modeling and the Future

“The best thing about the future is that
it comes one day at a time.”

– Abraham Lincoln

The problem with NLP today is that most people go into it only for the money, not for improving the field. The fact is that, as a potentially recognized profession, it does not have a solid future. Maybe by changing its name and making something academic out of it, it will, but there is no chance that it can be licensed and supervised, not after 38 years of printing certificates that have no consistent standards behind them. I don’t mean to put too fine a point on this. The insights of NLP will continue, even if the term “NLP” fades from public awareness. But your NLP skills will be valuable and meaningful, regardless of what happens to the NLP moniker. And they are at their highest when you are using your acuity and insight to produce new models, and to improve upon existing ones. That is the basis of NLP, not the cookbook of methods that NLP has accumulated. Just as science is the means for discovery, NLP is the means for modeling. 

Science is not just the information that has accumulated through the scientific method, and NLP is not just the techniques that have accumulated through modeling. 

I have written this website not only to provide you with hundreds of successful techniques you can use instantly, but to take away the obsession so many NLP learners suffer from: “if I learn just one more technique, everything will change for me”. This is the wrong approach. Take this website as a starting point. To grow, you have to work on it. I want you to take this exploration and experimentation of techniques and bring into it the true spirit of NLP: curiosity, flexibility and innovation. The more you get into the spirit of NLP, and the more you build unconscious mastery, the more you will spontaneously generate solutions, and the more you will be able to model the success of others. 

Physiology and Models

“Ah, mastery…  what a profoundly satisfying feeling
when one finally gets on top of a new set of skills…
and then sees the light under the new door those skills can open, even as another door is closing.”

– Gail Sheehy 


There is a fuzzy boundary between a model and the physiology that drives us on a more instinctual level. When a person’s physiology shifts into fight or flight, and the brain gears itself to detect threats over other stimuli, the person is more likely to act violently.

Consider what happens when a police officer is in a threatening situation, and must make a split-second shoot/no shoot decision. If the officer shoots in error and the victim is a member of an ethnic minority, the officer may be accused to racism. However, non-racist officers have found themselves in this position. 

It is becoming clear that there are circumstances that cause the brain to put threat detection at the highest priority, and that this can cause a cell phone to be perceived as a gun. It is not necessarily because the officer’s model of the world is that people of that race are trying to shoot him or are bad people. It may be primarily because the brain’s threat detection was extremely high at that moment. This physiology is an evolutionary survival imperative. 

Unique Strengths and Weaknesses: 

But physiology is not just a matter of transitory states. People have physical conditions that make them unique. They have strengths and weaknesses in different measures than most other people. This brings up an important point. 

If your physiology is quite different from a person you want to model, how far should you go in the direction of imitating their processes, as opposed to developing a model that takes advantage of your unique qualities? 

This question points to one of the limits of modeling. We are unique, and so we need to not make a blind religion out of modeling. We need to use its strengths, and mitigate for its weaknesses. 

When the pursuit of excellence is tinged with metaphysics, people tend to think that the mind can overcome all physical limitations. It is a mistake to ignore physiological strengths and limits. This resulted in deaths of people in a sweat lodge experience during which the temperatures had gone too high. The participants were told to stay and overcome the environment with their minds. My point is that we can model people, but then we must add or modify the model for ourselves, based on our unique strengths and weaknesses. You can apply some models directly, but others will need modification because of your unique traits. 

Evidence Procedure

Determine the goals of the assessment. (E.g., to determine how well the student has learned a topic.) State them in positive terms. (E.g., to establish a score and grade that accurately reflect the student’s level of learning.) Give examples of ideal performance. (E.g., 100%.) What are its benefits? That is, why do you need the procedure? (E.g., students who learn Neuro Linguistic Programming concepts can communicate more effectively with other NLP practitioners, and they can learn from the literature and teachers more effectively.) Define the evidence in a concrete way, for example, as observable behaviors and other outcomes. 

How will you know when you have achieved the goal? (E.g., students who achieve 85% are reasonably conversant with NLP, and fairly well prepared to benefit from teachers and the literature.) 

Make sure that any instructions or training for the procedure are complete and understandable. (E.g., trainers with at least five years of successful practice with NLP and achieve at least a 90% score.) This can include the points at which progress should be assessed and when the goal is expected to be achieved. 

Indicate what your criteria are for each step you specify. (E.g., a weekly quiz will help us determine how well the student mastered the most recent lessons.) 

Specify what situations could be troublesome. For example, what problems might come up for someone attempting to administer the evidence procedure? This can include resistance and positive intentions that might give rise to resistance. (E.g., a trainer may have time management difficulties and forget to administer the quiz. A deeper look tells the trainer that he or she needs the ego boost that they get from teaching, so they unconsciously avoid the tedium of administering the  It is a big change from how they did things when they weren’t affiliated with a grade-giving institution.) 

Establish times and responsibilities for evaluating the effectiveness of the testing, the teaching, and the materials used. (E.g., at the end of each quarter, trainers will review student satisfaction with an assessment instrument and a discussion. The trainers will review this at a quarterly staff meeting set aside for improving the program. It will include the opinions gathered from students as well as the opinions of all staff.)