NLP Presuppositions


  • Author David Green
  • Published September 24, 2010
  • Word count 888

What do you presuppose about life?

What do you pre-suppose about yourself, others, life and life’s opportunities and circumstances?

Consciously or otherwise, and for the most part it is unconscious, we all have things that we assume or presuppose about life. We don’t mean to but we do. These assumptions or NLP presuppositions can have a resounding affect upon our lives.

When it comes to out goals, hopes and dreams we can have reoccurring thoughts or feelings that form a psychological barrier between our thinking and our level of desire, our performance and even the actions that we do or do not take.

In matters of the heart we have reoccurring thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that also influence and inform how we respond to relationships, the opposite sex and even sex itself.

That internal dialogue is then turned into presuppositions that we accept as being true regardless of their origin, validity or relevance and unless something radically happens to change them we go through life holding on to them. This can so often result in the years passing and unfulfilled hopes, dreams and ambitions turning into frustration, regret or even acceptance of psychological, material and circumstantial mediocrity.

Presuppositions or assumed assumptions about anything can act as safeguards against potential harm or danger but when they are illogical, ill-informed thoughts or just plain wrong they can hinder both ourselves and our grasping of the many opportunities that life holds out for us to embrace, go with and gain from.

A person’s presuppositions may not be communicated directly in what they say but they are there underneath the surface all the time in their beliefs, attitudes and even their values. It is by listening for them that we can learn a great deal about their mental map of the world and how they operate within it.

The interesting thing about presuppositions is that they act covertly by operating at an unconscious level and we have to know them on one level to understand what they are communicating to us.

Presuppositions can operate positively and negatively on our lives. They can limit us and they can empower us. By pre-supposing that something is or is going to be the way that we suppose it will be limits both ourselves and our responses to it, and most suppositions are based on what was yesterday, not on what is today. Just like so many of our beliefs, our presuppositions are often merely generalisations about the past or what we suppose happened. Because of this they are not always objective because they have been formed by a person’s unique and individual experience of the world.

For that reason they tend to be subjective and often serve us poorly, causing

Conflict between our conscious desires and our unconscious ones.

For example, a person’s experience of life may have programmed them at an unconscious level to believe that people cannot be trusted. This can cause conflict between their conscious and unconscious mind and can cause them to act and behave in a way, or even make decisions that are not consistent with actually totally trusting anyone. This can lead to indecision and even strategies in dealing with people that can cause unrest and even potentially disastrous outcomes.

While you may be aware of some of your presuppositions, there will be many that you are not aware of until they cause conflict, challenge or even failure or adversity in your life. It is at this point that such presuppositions can be questioned as being un-resourceful, dis-empowering, or just plain wrong.

Often however, we need to be aware that our experiences can incorrectly reinforce our presuppositions and cause us to hold on to them through fear, disappointment or merely convenient justification. The choice is always our own. Choice is always there, however, it can only be made when we acknowledge its existence and decide to make positive choices for our life.

NLP is all about realising that we have choice, AND providing the psychological ware-with-all to make them the very best choices for our lives.

The key aspect of all assumptions, or what in NLP we call presuppositions, is their value in empowering our lives.

Regardless of anything else, we all inevitably have presuppositions about everything.

Consider presuppositions as the operating system of your internal computer. They enable all other things to be processed. Those that ‘fit’ or ‘suite’ the operating system slip through and reinforce it. Those that do not will impact the operating system, either by adjusting it or but being filtered to adhere to it.

By considering, and embracing new and more resourceful or desirable presuppositions remarkable change, even transformation can take place both in thinking and in performance.

NLP provides a framework of presuppositions that whilst they are not always empirically true can facilitate a framework for creating positive change.

NLP is the science of excellence that provides an amazing range of sensory-based tools that can help almost anyone to transform their thinking and their way of perceiving themselves and the world around them. You can find out more and develop some of those skills at You will find a range of opportunities including FREE mini-courses and NLP resources that work in the real world.

Copyright © and David Green 2010. All rights reserved.

David Green is an author, presenter and specialist in personal and professional development. For over 25 years he has trained, lectured and presented a wide range of mind science programmes including NLP courses and workshops. A popular success specialist David has worked with a host of government, corporate and institutional clients, including well known celebrities and thousands of private individuals on both sides of the Atlantic

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