NLP, sales, and “truth”
“We construct our mental models of the world and then operate from them.” This is a basis tenet of NLP , one of many borrowed from other psychologies.
Nowhere is this more true than in the press, Facebook, and Twitter. To try to find “TRUTH” would be a completely wasted effort. Truth is a concept, not a fact. There is no such thing as truth. There is only what you see and hear and what I see and hear, perverted by our biases and personal ways of thinking–our mental models.
Few of us ever define our mental models. In applying NLP to sales, we teach people how to recognize some of the more common and generalized mental models for working more effectively with customers. But few put their own thought processing and assumptions to the same rigorous inspection.
As a result, we see what we want to see. If an editor is involved, it would be nice to think he or she would demand supportive information to confirm a stated “fact.” We all watched “All the President’s Men” and the demand for supportive data and confirmation from difference sources. If that really occurred, those days are gone. When news must be 24-hours and the race to be first to report drives the business, journalism no longer has time to get “confirmation.” And, of course, there is no such thing as “being objective.” Every observer and every writer has a bias, a filter that distorts. Even the most rigorous sciences must acknowledge that the process of observing changes the nature of what is being observed. The best “objective” can reach for is to eliminate consciously and purposefully as many mental biases as possible that can color the conclusions.
NLP helps us to be sensitive to the constant influence of bias. And the source of bias is still debated. Do we experience our world as we do because of our language, or is our language the result of the world in which we live? What filters what? How do we get our habits? If we must “be carefully taught” as the musical South Pacific says, who and what teaches us? At least NLP keeps reminding us: The map is not the territory. Hopefully, NLP can help more people at least accept that everything is colored by our “maps” and our mental models. There is no truth. And if there is no truth, perhaps we can learn by listening to a different map and hearing what is being said. Perhaps we can help people learn that in any journey, there can be several paths to take. Multiple maps can be an asset, not a problem.