NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a name that encompasses the
three most influential components involved in producing human experience:
neurology, language and programming.
The neurological system regulates how our bodies function, language determines
how we interface and communicate with other people and our programming
determines the kinds of models of the world we create. Neuro-Linguistic
Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro)
and language (linguistic) and how their interplay effects our body and behavior
(programming).

NLP is a pragmatic school of thought - an 'epistemology' - that addresses
the many levels involved in being human. NLP is a multi-dimensional process
that involves the development of behavioral competence and flexibility, but
also involves strategic thinking and an understanding of the mental and cognitive
processes behind behavior. NLP provides tools and skills for the development
of states of individual excellence, but it also establishes a system of empowering
beliefs and presuppositions about what human beings are, what communication
is and what the process of change is all about. At another level, NLP is about
self-discovery, exploring identity and mission. It also provides a framework for
understanding and relating to the 'spiritual' part of human experience that
reaches beyond us as individuals to our family, community and global systems.
NLP is not only about competence and excellence, it is about wisdom and vision.
In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions:


1. The Map is Not the Territory. As human beings, we can never know reality.
We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to
the world around us primarily through our sensory representational systems.
It is our 'neuro-linguistic' maps of reality that determine how we behave and
that give those behaviors meaning, not reality itself. It is generally not reality that
limits us or empowers us, but rather our map of reality.

2. Life and 'Mind' are Systemic Processes. The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, our societies, and our universe form an ecology of complex systems and sub-systems all of which interact with and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest of the system. Such systems are based on certain 'self-organizing' principles and naturally seek optimal states of balance or homeostasis.


All of the models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of these two principles. In the belief system of NLP it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. Wisdom, ethics and ecology do not derive from having the one 'right' or 'correct' map of the world, because human beings would not be capable of making one. Rather, the goal is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves and the world we live in. The people who are most effective are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives. NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have and perceive as available in the world around you. Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.
(source: Robert Dilts / NLPU)