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NLP Presupposition – The Map is Not The Territory

There’s an old Chinese idiom (which probably originated from India) that talks about a few blind people touching different parts of an elephant and jumping into different conclusions of how an elephant looks like. The one that touched the tail says it looks like a rope, the one that touched the side says it is like a wall, the one that touched the head says it looks like rock and the one that touched its ears says it looks like a flag. They are all right to a certain extent, and the elephant is bigger than that.




Which explains why our perception of the world is not the world itself. Have you ever asked two people about the same incident and end up with two versions of the story? If you happen to be a policeman (or lady) and you interviewed different witnesses to the same crime, you may end up with many different stories. Well, this is actually very common. This happens all the time as we unconsciously filter the information that we receive through our five senses (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, gustatory and olfactory)  based on our values, belief systems and preferences by “deleting, distorting and generalising” to create an internal “thumbnail” (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic) to record an event or experience in our memory. In our daily interaction with the world, our senses pick up about 2,000,000 bits of information per second, unfortunately our conscious mind can only process about 7 plus/minus 2 chucks of information per second, which adds up to about 134bits per second. It is therefore necessary for us to filter the information so our conscious mind can make sense of the vast information that it receives.




So we may or may not be aware that we already possess the resources or tools to overcome the challenges that we face! Which is why by “thinking out of the box” we are able to find those resources or tools that we need to solve the challenges we are facing. Through the use of Meta Model Questions, we are are able to help people “recover” more information and see their situation in a new perspective.

What is Meta Model?

The Meta Model is a linguistic tool based on the observation that human behaviour is rule governed.  It examines the process of generalisation, deletion and distortion used in the creation of our linguistic representations of experience. The spoken or written language can indicate when and what kinds of experiences the speaker systematically omits from his representation of the world. Meta model helps us identify which process and what question to ask to help the speaker get in touch with the omitted portion of his representation of experience. Below are a few examples of how Meta Model can be used when working with clients: 1. Client: I’m a failure: Response: What exactly happened that made you decide that you cannot succeed? 2. Client: People are mocking me when they smile. Response: Do you know of anyone who smiles for other reasons? 3. Client: He always disobey my orders. Response: Can you remember any other instance(s) that he did obey you?