One Last Presupposition of NLP

“It’s my purgatory, really: dinner and drinks. Never really all that interested. But I find myself telling her how beautiful she is anyway. Because it’s true. All women are in one way or another. There’s always something about every damn one of you. A smile, a curve, a secret. You ladies really are the most amazing creatures. My life’s work. Then there’s the morning after. The hangover. The realization that I’m not quite as available as I thought I was the night before. And she’s gone. And I’m haunted by yet another road not taken.” Californication, S3E3.

One of my mentors, a Mr. Jeremy Soul, once told me that no matter how hard we try we will never have a perfect life. Instead, we’ll have better problems. A good example of this is Hank, David Duchovny’s character in Californication. While many men dream of having a choice of women in their lives, Hank has one (or two) every episode. You might ask, “Well, what’s the problem with that?” Some of you might go beyond that and “pig,” “player,” “slut” and other names might be flying through your head.

Both of these are problems.

In my post on the Presuppositions of NLP, I purposely omitted one presupposition because I didn’t understand it nor its importance. A couple situations in my life recently made me seriously think about it, so I’ll share it with you.

Resistance to Communication is from Lack of Rapport

When I originally heard of this presupposition, I thought it meant that you need to find a common ground in order to communicate. That sounded hokey and weak, and some of the best relationships I’ve had are with people who I have very little in common with. Now I feel that a better definition would be that you can only communicate with someone when you remove barriers to rapport, especially related to ignorance of a person’s problems and values.

We are all ego-centric whether we choose to admit it or not. This is a good thing. We perceive the world through our values and our problems. If I were homeless I would value food and shelter. My problems would be basic, such as getting enough money or clothing to survive a cold winter. It’s good that I’m ego-centric, because it motivates me to achieve my goals. It focuses me on a path that improves my life.

But, as a homeless person, I would not understand how anyone could turn down a high paying career job. I could not relate to that person at all. I might even hate them for casually throwing away something that has the potential to solve all of my problems.

It is a fact that we all have varying degrees of success in different aspects of our life. We are all a homeless person when it comes to something. But we need to realize that despite someone having seemingly everything, they still have problems that are just as important to them as the ones in our lives. If we foolishly disregard these, we will never get to know that person. It isn’t that we must already understand their problems, but that we need to accept that they are very much present and real.

It’s a learned skill to separate our values and our problems from those of another person. Sometimes the only way to learn or improve a skill such as empathy or emotional intelligence is to know how to relate to a person at a level above us.

I hope you see how important this presupposition is. Having dropped this presupposition from my original list was a pretty big mistake. Don’t make the same one!

Enjoy irresponsibly.

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