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Wellbeing / Business psychology

NLP: Perception is projection

Two identical days, each with the same routine. One goes so well, while the other? It’s a day you’d rather forget. How can this be? The answer is perception is projection.

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On each day the alarm went off at the same time. You snoozed for the same ten minutes and did your morning routine.

But driving to work was different yesterday, could it be because it was Monday? The sun was shining and the constant glare was irritating. Fellow drivers seemed grumpy. You looked at a few faces to seem them scowling back at you. No-one was letting you in at the intersection, and everyone seemed in a bad mood.

Today however, the sun is shining and it’s so uplifting. Everyone seems smiley and cheerful, even letting you in at the busiest point of the road. At the lights, you can see a driver next to you obviously singing along to the same song on the radio, and you acknowledge one another with a friendly smile.

So what was different? In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) terms, the difference lies solely within you. Everything we perceive is our own projection, and playing the ‘perception is projection’ game can be a great learning experience in self-awareness.

So if everything you perceive is your projection, does that mean you can control your projections? Of course, and this is where it gets fun. How to do it is to maintain awareness of your state and what you are doing with it both on the inside and the outside.

"Maintaining a positive state means that your internal representations of your experiences are positive and this will show through your physiology and behaviour."

Maintaining a positive state means that your internal representations of your experiences are positive and this will show through your physiology and behaviour. Practice this whenever you are next out walking, you’ll notice that you get a lot of friendly nods or smiles as you pass people, purely due to the positive state you are projecting.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business psychology section.

You’re likely to have had experiences of ‘perception is projection’ already. Networking events are a great example – think back to some where you’ve been really up for it, and it’s turned out to be an even better night than you anticipated, where everyone you have talked to has been a great contact and you’ve got instant rapport with them. Whereas those events that you haven’t really felt like going to have ended with you leaving with either no contacts or none that had any meaning. That’s no coincidence.

With sales this is paramount. When you’ve done sales calls and you haven’t been in the right mood, how many were successful? Whereas how much success have you had when you have been in the right mood? If you were projecting the thoughts, “They’ll never buy from me” guess what? They won’t.

How does this all work? Out of the two million bits of information that surround us, we only process 134 bps (bits per second),. This means that we can’t attend to every bit of information that comes to us. So we really can’t see anything other than who we are. What you see is you and what others see is them.

Perception is projection is a fantastic awareness tool – awareness of your self, of others and of the world around you. Practising positive projections can really result in a happy productive day, and gives you control to turn around those days you just want to end.

Deborah Keep

runs training events and coaching that use NLP at their core, a powerful yet simple tool that helps create new levels of performance and results in any area of personal or business development.

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