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The Core Principles of NLP Part 1: Outcome Thinking

I was recently looking over some of my notes from the NLP course I did many years ago and was reminded of the simplicity that lay in the foundations of NLP, the core principles as such. These are:


Outcome Thinking

Sensory Acuity


I have already written about the art of building empathy and rapport so what I would like to outline in the first of a three part post, is my thoughts on Outcome Thinking:

Simply put outcome thinking is about being clear about what we want in any given situation, stated in a positive, precise and compelling way that motivates us to get what we want. The opposite of this is knowing what we don’t want, which can also be very helpful, yet also means we can get stuck if we stay in this state. This is because we will soon be creating a representation in our body and mind of what we don’t want, which can then compel us to move towards that very thing!

So a desired outcome needs to encompass all of the following to ensure you feel compelled to move towards it:

  1. State your outcome in a positive way that is specific. So if you want to ‘lose weight’ you might re-frame it by saying ‘I want to be wearing a size 12 dress by Christmas’. Be aware of the language you use to make sure it is stated in a way that moves you ‘toward’ rather than ‘away from’ your outcome.
  2. What is the context? This is the what? where? when? specifics of your outcome. So make sure the timeframe is realistic and establish where it will be happening and what specifically you will be doing.
  3. Use your senses to experience what it will be like when you have your outcome. Be specific and see, feel and hear what is going on as if you had achieved your outcome. Take the time to really live it in your mind and make sure it feels really compelling. Also, by living your outcome in your mind, you can observe what might need tweaking to make it as compelling as possible and also to check it is definitely something you really want.
  4. Next figure out how your outcome fits in with other aspects of your life, ensuring it is still realistic. What are the internal and external resources that you need to achieve your outcome? These might be things like time, materials, internal resourceful states and skills or even other people’s help. Also how much of this is in your control?
  5. Desirability check. Do you now 100% still want this outcome? Are there any adjustments that need to be made?
  6. Take your first step!

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