Deciding to learn? Can’t quite get motivated? Strategies: The Commanding NLP Model

Deciding to learn? Can’t quite get motivated?  Strategies:  The Commanding NLP Model

A Story, a Video, a Process, and Announcements Three: This week in NLP!

From the questions and comments I see around the web it’s evident that NLP is becoming known more and more as a bundle of “patterns” or “techniques,” mostly concerned with some aspect of self-improvement.  That is a sadly limited view.

These are simply applications of NLP, or as Grinder once said, the trail left behind by NLP developments.  NLP itself, as the originals envisioned it, is a whole lot more.  It’s the operating system itself, not just the application suite.

Every process in NLP is based on aspects of one or more of the models of subjective experience that comprise NLP. If you’re new to NLP, only had a run-of-the-mill NLP education, you may not be aware that modalities and representational systems, for instance, are models, not processes or techniques.

You may have just been stepped through a motivation strategy or a decision strategy as if that was all there was to Strategy Model.  Strategies is one of the most overlooked of the original NLP Models.  It’s odd that it has been so overlooked when you realize that every NLP technique  is a strategy.  Eliciting Strategies was the first major application of eye accessing detection in NLP.  It is also one of the most effective and commanding models of NLP to learn so of course it takes a bit more commitment.

“Most therapy and by extension human potential/peak performance (techniques) obsess with a two state phase transition. That is, getting out of a bad/undesirable state and/or getting into a good/highly desired state, or limiting belief to unlimiting belief, etc. Once accomplished, you’re done. You’re there, never changing.

Strategies, in contrast, starts with the observation (NLP did start with observation) that over time, an individual/system of individuals transitions though many behaviors (including accessing cues) and states –  desirable states, undesirable states – and much more.  Each of these states has associated cognitive and behavioral skills, so that experience can be perceived as sequence(s) adapting over time. Looking for neuro-linguistic constituents, NLPs founders settled on (at that time) the recently discovered representational systems. And they were aware that sequential phenomena is scalar (now called fractals). That is, that there are sequences of representation, behavior, interaction, emotional states, beliefs and more.” – Charles Faulkner

Naturally, you can get tremendous personal benefit from NLP processes without even being able to spell strategies.  (Although if you want to be an excellent speller, or teach someone else to be, learning and using the spelling strategy takes you there. 🙂

“Strategies is also has some of the most complex material in NLP. So after strategies, everything else is coasting (downhill).  That includes most advanced trainings.” – Steve and  Connirae Andreas

If you’re more interested in direct applications, the New Behavior Generator is a great example  of the development of a process from a model, in this case the Strategies model.  We’ll start gently today with Strategies with the classic introduction from the “24 Day Practitioner Training Manual, Trainer Edition” then in the weeks to come we’ll move into application areas  like accelerated learning and decision making.  The source material we’ll be using is from the “Practitioner Training Trainer’s Manual” which codified NLP Practitioner Training at its most thorough.)

So go here to get started:  Intro to Strategies; Napoleon and the Furrier or here:

New Behavior Generator Process: Video and/or   Text Version


Tom Dotz

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Excerpted from the NLP Comprehensive “Trainer’s Edition Practitioner Training Manual”

11oo words, 4.0 minutes reading time

Opening Metaphor: Napoleon and the Furrier.1

Once when Napoleon was invading Russia, he was battling in the middle of a small town, when he inadvertently got separated from his own troops.  A group of Russian Cossacks spotted him, and began chasing him.

Napoleon took off running, and ducked into a little Furrier shop on a side street.  Napoleon sees the furrier and cries “Save me, save me!  Where can I hide?”  The furrier says “Quick, under this big pile of furs in the corner,” and he covers Napoleon all up with furs.

No sooner has he finished when the Russian Cossacks burst in the door.  “Where is he? We saw him come in.”  They tear the whole place apart trying to find Napoleon.  They poke into the pile of skins with their swords, but don’t find him.  Soon they give up, and leave.

After some time, Napoleon creeps out from under the furs, unharmed.  The furrier turns to Napoleon and says, “Excuse me for asking this question of such a great man, but how did it feel to be under there, knowing that any moment might be your last?”

At that moment, Napoleon’s personal guards came in the door.  Napoleon replied to the furrier, “How could you ask such a question of me, the emperor Napoleon!!  Guards, take this impudent man out, blindfold him, and execute him.

I, myself, will give the command to fire!”  The guards took the poor furrier out, blindfolded him, and stood him up against a wall.  The furrier could see nothing as he heard Napoleon call out “Ready,…aim,….”

After a long period of silence the furrier heard footsteps approaching him and the blindfold was taken from his eyes.  He saw Napoleon’s face looking deeply into his eyes for several seconds, and then Napoleon softly said, “Now you know.”

Either don’t explain the story, or offer the following frame:  The furrier’s question asked for a bunch of words, and Napoleon gave him experience.  When you’re doing NLP, keep in mind that experience is what will change someone; words alone won’t.  In this section we’ll be teaching strategies.  Parts of it are a bit on the cognitive side, and it’s useful to keep in mind that this, too, is only useful if it results in creating an experience in someone else.

Frames: Strategies will be the content for the next four days of training.  We will be covering Decision and Motivation strategies in quite a lot of detail, because they are so basic and important in everything we do.  We will also cover spelling strategies, Learning strategies, and some other specific skill strategies.

Definition:  A strategy is a sequence of representations that leads to a particular outcome.

At any moment in time, you might be making an image of what you will do during the break (V), feel good about it (K), say something to yourself about it (Ad), etc.  If you only think of the sequence of experience, you end up with an infinite string of A’s, V’s and K’s.  In a lifetime you could make quite a long list!  So it’s useful to punctuate this infinite string of A’s V’s and K’s in terms of outcomes.  You can talk about dancing strategies, singing strategies, spelling strategies, math strategies, etc.

Strategies are much like phone numbers.  If you want to get a certain outcome (to reach a certain person) you need to get all the right numbers in the right sequence.  If you get even one number out of order, or you leave one out, you’ll never get the right person at the other end.  You can practice dialing the wrong phone number over and over, and you still won’t reach the person you want.

We have found that learning about strategies changes your perceptions in an important and fundamental way.  It gives you an underlying framework for understanding which changes need to be made, and what impact they will have, so that your work becomes much cleaner, more precise, and more ecological‑‑even if you never do formal strategy elicitation after this training.  It allows you to be much more precise in exactly where and how your use all the other NLP patterns and techniques you have learned:  anchoring, reframing, etc.

Working directly with strategies makes it possible to make very pervasive change.  If you give someone a new decision strategy, you’ve made a change that will affect something they do hundreds of times each day.

You have already done a lot of “strategies work” without knowing it  (like the man who was pleased to discover that he’d been speaking “prose” all his life).  When you Future‑Pace you are connecting the stimulus to the task or memory you want to bring to mind at that time.  This could be noted as at right:

When you learned the circle of excellence, you learned how to connect a resource state to a specific cue or context in the same way (chaining).

Any effective change results in a change in the person’s ongoing pictures, sounds, and feelings, so you can always describe any change as a change in strategy.  The New Behavior Generator is an example of a specific strategy, or sequence, that you taught someone to go through.  It’s a little longer than future‑pacing but it, too, is only a string of representations leading to a specific outcome‑‑in this case accessing new behaviors to use when you feel stuck.  If we were to use Strategy notation we could write the following:


K_  ‑‑‑> Vc  ‑‑‑> (decide  ‑‑‑>  Vr   ‑‑‑>  Vc ‑‑‑>  K+ ‑‑‑> Ad

on                     Ac

feel     see        model)      see       see/hear    E.C.  “Do I

stuck    self                   model’s    self              want

dissociated              behavior   doing              it?”


Vc M                     Vc

A ‑‑‑> K+ ‑‑‑> Ad  ‑‑‑> A Future‑Pace in

K tp                      K tp  all systems associated.

Associate            “Do I still

want it?”

In a way, the material from this weekend and next is all extra for you.  You won’t be tested on this.  You’ve already been taught most of the material you’ll be tested on, so that means you can really relax and just enjoy learning, and take it all in from now on.

Strategies is also the most complex set of material in NLP, so after strategies, everything else is coasting (downhill).  That includes most advanced training.

Many NLP centers leave strategies out of their Practitioner Trainings entirely, or cover it in such a superficial way that they may as well have left it out.  When we teach advanced trainings in other areas, we notice an important difference in the way people think when they haven’t been exposed to this material.  People who have this background do better at learning other patterns, particularly at the advanced level, because they have a better overall grasp of what change is all about, and how all the different skills and techniques fit together.


You may also wish to explore or review the New Behavior Generator Process: Video and/or   Text Version

If you’d like to move at your own pace and have your own personal copy of the NLP Comprehensive Practitioner Certification Trainer’s Manual, I put them on sale at $100 off now for you.

[1]With thanks to Greg Brodsky who told us this story.

0 thoughts on “Deciding to learn? Can’t quite get motivated? Strategies: The Commanding NLP Model”

  1. The Napoleon story reminds me of a Zenmaster’s pronouncement regarding enlightenment (‘satori’)
    “It is like drinking cold water. No amount of explanation or comparisons could convey what it is like, but when you have tasted it then you KNOW” (quote from Suzuki).
    Thank you enormously for this material. I shall be working at it. I just have to figure out a strategy!

  2. Thanks, Simon. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

    Regarding starting, I find it’s usually best to start where I am with what I have. 😉

    For instance, you might simply play with the New Behavior Generator with a new strategy (series of behaviors) for learning and using strategies as your outcome.

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