NLP Presuppositions Part 3

NLP presuppositions

This post is part three of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Presuppositions series of posts. Part one covered six empowering attitudes, principles and concepts to help improve our confidence, to change our perceptions and the way we interact with other people. Part two covered a further six.

Let’s get onto four more right here.

13. Resistance indicates lack of rapport

This presupposition is a great one to internalise, in order to improve our communication with others.

In life, whether personally or professionally, we need to interact with others. So often, when we want to get things done, we will need the help and support of others.

For example you might need support for a project at work from a colleague. However, when you discuss your idea, you don’t get the response you wanted.

Or perhaps you meet a person at a social gathering and you’re trying to make conversation with this individual. However, this person seems a little aloof and doesn’t want to open up much to you.

In such cases, it’s useful to remind yourself whether you have connected enough with this particular person. Have you created enough mutual trust with him or her? If not, you can consider creating some further rapport.

An excellent way to do this is to meet the person at his or her current view of the world, show that you understand their view, share similarities between the two of you and if appropriate, offer help or suggestions.

After doing this, you can go back to attempting to get support for your initiative or connecting with a person at a party, or whatever it was you initially wanted to do.

14. Behind every behaviour is a positive intention

This one for me had to be experienced to be believed. Once it has been experienced and you do so for yourself, its truth becomes so apparent.

What this presupposition means is that whatever behaviour we do and which others make, there is something positive we or another person is trying to do.

Let’s take interacting with women as an example. If you’re a guy and finding it difficult to approach a girl you like, you could be doing so to protect yourself.

For instance, the reason why you avoid doing so is because you want to protect yourself from possible rejection.

Why is it important to know this?

Well when we want to create changes in our lives for the better, by understanding that the behaviour we are doing (however undesirable) has a positive intention, we can learn to appreciate the value of the behaviour, preserve its good qualities and still do what we want in a life from a position of maturity.

15. Every subjective experience is made up of two parts. These are content and structure

Another way of looking at this principle is our life experiences. Let’s say you had an argument with a family member about something. The argument has already happened.

However, you now continue to remember that particular scenario. You remember exactly what you said to the family member and how he or she felt. You recollect exactly what he or she said to you and how it made you feel.

You even end up feeling like you did during the argument, now!

This is an example of content. However, this content from an NLP perspective also has a structure. This structure is made up of thoughts and beliefs you have around that argument.

Bringing this structure to the fore is powerful because one can actually change these structures to change how they feel for the better, about experiences that have already happened and experiences which may happen in the future.

16. People have the resources they need

I’m a firm believer that when we help people overcome a problem, all we are doing is encouraging that person to look within themselves for their own answers.

In the coaching world it can be called as facilitating a person to help him or her find their own solutions. Once a person takes responsibility for getting themselves into bad states, then equally that person has opened the doors, to taking responsibility for finding answers that will help them be resourceful and move through the world skilfully.

It’s amazing what lies dormant inside each of us. However, once our inner strength becomes activated and we channel it appropriately we can become unstoppable!

Photo Credit: nicolasnova

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on in January 2013.

  1. Dear Hiten,

    You have brilliantly presented NLP Presuppositions in your own simple and charismatic style..Time and again you are proving that you are a real Master Practitioner

    I was really surprised, shocked and excited 🙂 to see our names at the end of your post where you have asked your fans to see our blog…Thank you dear Hiten for your generosity and the willingness to help us along with other good bloggers…

    A few additions to the points from my end and please tell me what do you feel about it…

    1. Resistance may also indicate that the other person is not in a good state of mind..I have had this feeling even towards people whom I have had a good rapport. How to talk to anyone by Leil Lowndells is a good read if someone is looking to improve their rapport building skills.

    2. Behind every behavior is a positive intention either for both parties or a win/lose or lose/win can also be there..Sometimes the outcome can also be lose/lose…So this is a very interesting presupposition.

    3. Synchronization of content and structure is the most important thing.

    4. Yes, people have all the resources within them is a good presupposition..And what I still wonder is how am I gonna sell this concept to someone in Somalia?? It could be a little hypothetical..However, I feel it is looking from a real life example..What are your thoughts Hiten?


    1. Dear Rafi,

      I’m really glad you liked the article and appreciated my writing style. Thank you very much!

      Sareena and you are very welcome to be included in the post. You are both doing some great things at your blog and then more people who know about it, the better!

      I loved the points you included in your comment. Indeed, about your first point, I totally agree resistance can indicate a person is not in a good state of mind. For instance, if we are unwell then we might want to be left alone and not have people disturb us. Thanks for recommending Leil Lowndes’s books. I will definitely check her material out.

      I was intrigued by your second point about there being a positive intention behind behaviours. Could you please explain further the connection between this and the win/lose, lose/win and lose/lose you mentioned?

      The way content and structure are connected and the way they can be separated apart brings amazing scope for change to occur inside a person.

      Regarding explaining the concept of people having resources within them to someone in Somalia, it depends on exactly what type of person in Somalia you meant? I agree they are many people in the world who are very poor, living in war torn nations and hence such a principle might not be appropriate.

      I think this principle is best in a coaching or therapy context when we are helping a person get the best out of themself.

      Thanks so much for your brilliant comment and adding so much more to this post, Rafi.

      Take care,


  2. quite a few eye openers here! looking at things in the right way can really open up new avenues for us. i didn’t read part 1 and part 2 because i thought this was something which i wouldn’t understand. will read the entire series tomorrow. an excellent post!!

    1. Hi Debajyoti,

      It looks like the link to your website is broken..Kindly check..


    2. Hi Debajyoti,

      It’s so good to see you here, my friend! 🙂

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post. That’s the great thing about such ideas and concepts. They really do help us change our perspectives and help to empower us.

      I hope you enjoy reading part 1 and part 2.

      Thank you for leaving your great comment!

  3. I was particularly drawn to the supposition that all actions have a positive reason behind them. I’d never thought of that before – in that way. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ll try to bring this thought to the fore when someone makes me angry or sad. I think it’s a really good thought to have, as it protects you from lashing out or feeling too cross.

    1. Hi Anne,

      I’m glad you could resonate with the presupposition about there being a positive intention behind our behaviours. It really is an attitude shifter, isn’t it!?

      Indeed, it’s another attitude that can help us with our communicating. When someone behaves or says something to us, usually they are doing because it is achieving something positive for them. Of course, the way they be doing it, really isn’t appropriate at all. However, it does allow us to become more compassionate towards people.

      Thanks so much for leaving your great comment.

  4. Hey Hiten,
    The one tried and true principle that I use with my Coaching is the “two ears principle”. Regardless of all the other theories that exist, this is the one that really counts when you are one on one with a client.
    If you don’t listen fully, then there will be no positive result. Keep up the great work.
    Be good to yourself

    1. Hi David,

      Master advice from you, as usual!

      Indeed, with coaching the “two ears principle” is the most important of all. I totally agree this is the one, which counts the most when we’re with a client!

      Thanks very much for adding so much more to this post with so few words (which you’re brilliant at doing!).

      Cheers, David.

  5. HI Hiten

    Great post!

    I feel you rightly said, Resistance= lack of rapport, I have felt that in my college days, while there were friends who will share everything and there were few who won’t open up, the reason I could now very well relate, the lack of trust which could have been due to less time spent with her.

    This is really too good for me and this can really spread positivity around, Every behavior is a positive intention. I always feel that this really depend on the receiver, if he feels the behavior has been positive for him then behavior is perfect and if receiver feel the opposite then the behavior is negative. I really admire your points and specially this one which really paves the way for positive thinking.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this.


    1. Hi Sapna,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences of Resistance=lack of rapport in action.

      Indeed, spending time with those who are most resistant and perhaps difficult to get on with can really be amazing, especially when that person begins to open up to us.

      I loved the point you made about judging how effective our behaviour is by its impact on the receiver. Indeed, in those cases where the behaviour was perceived as negative, we can change our behaviour, in order to help develop rapport with the person who we are communicating with.

      Thank you very for leaving such an insightful comment. I appreciate your support.

  6. “I’m a firm believer that when we help people overcome a problem, all we are doing is encouraging that person to look within themselves for their own answers.”
    Me, too, all the way! Great post!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      I’m really glad you agreed with the point, about how we are encouraging people to find answers within themselves! It really is true, isn’t it?

      Thanks very much for commenting. I appreciate you dropping by and showing your support.

  7. Hello Hiten great post my friend it’s so important to help each other in order to gain friendship online. There is so much that can be accomplished buy we need each other to learn from.

    Thanks so much for the share my friend have a great day..

    1. Hi Rob,

      I’m so glad you liked the post, my friend!

      Indeed, when we open ourselves to learning from our friends and associates, it can literally help us to change our lives!

      Thanks so much for leaving your comment and showing your support! 🙂

  8. Really helpful post, Hiten!

    I think your NLP presuppositions are just great. I can relate to each one of them and find them of great value.

    I totally agree that relationships or rapport are so important – not only for connections, but to get things rolling.

    There are two states of motions – moving and still. When we’re standing, the inertia overwhelms us, and we find it difficult to move. That’s how we’re when we lack rapport. While in motion, we don’t have to make such efforts as we need to do to overcome inertia. Rapport keeps us in motion; it makes things easy for us.

    I like when you say that every behavior is with a positive intention. In my first thought, I was tempted to react that not every behavior is positive. How can a bad behavior have a positive intention? But you need to think from a different perspective.

    Old wisdom says, there’s a reason for everything, and whatever happens – happens for the good. Like you say, there’s something good inherent in everything. And, what we need to do is to understand and decipher it. Of course, it helps us to understand better if we add the karma principle to it. Now, this is difficult to digest too, for some. But the fact is that the whole universe is evolving, and you only evolve when you move in the positive direction. All events are results of chain of events that may appear to be positive or negative, but there cumulative result was positive.

    We tend to neglect the importance of old wisdom, but we forget that these are the results of great minds and thinking of people for thousands of years, and if you study them in-depth, you’ll find most of the modern day scientific thought mechanisms are just repeating or giving a different color to them. It’s like polishing the old gold.

    It is true that it’s our thoughts and way of thinking that makes us who we are, what we do, and how we behave. Yes, you can call that as the structure that binds the content and creates a shape that either makes us comfortable or uncomfortable, successful or unsuccessful. All we need to do is change the structure, the rest happens on its own.

    Again, the old scriptures say that every person has the universe within – all power and energies to “be”. We all have unlocked potential of unlimited resources that never deplete. Of course, we ourselves have to open this valuable treasure, and all external aspects helps us to either find or make that key.

    I’d say you’ve done a very good job in constructing these principles of life in a very logical, scientific, and easily comprehensible way. Such presuppositions in modern language help us to accept and agree to them.

    Thanks for making such efforts and helping us to work with our thoughts and mind to shape them better. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I’m really glad you liked the NLP presuppositions! As you can probably tell, I love them!

      They are also a great ‘pick me up’ resource to help get our minds clear and straight.

      I loved the way you explained about the two states of motion and it really got me thinking. The more I contemplate on what you wrote, the more I can see the truth in it. When we do become standstill it really does take effort to get moving again. And while we’re moving, it really does feel more easy and free, and as you say, it makes things easy for us.

      I can relate to what you said about your initial reaction to the ‘every behaviour has a positive intention’ principle. I too was the same the first time I learnt about it. It’s very interesting because it allows us to make sense of even some of the most toxic of behaviours. Such behaviours can be totally unacceptable. However, for the person doing the behaviour, he or she is trying to achieve something of value to the person.

      I totally agree with the point you make about evolving through positive action. This is very important to understand and can also be used as a question to ask ourselves. Before we engage in a particular behaviour, it’s good to consider whether this action is taking us forwards in our evolving or backwards. If it’s backwards, then it might be worth questioning whether to do it.

      Indeed, we do tend to forget about the old wisdom and again it’s a good habit to keep referring to the old scriptures. For instance, when I first got into NLP, I couldn’t help but make some connections to some Hindu and Buddhist spiritual texts I had read previously. I agree modern day ways of thinking and just repeating what was already discovered thousands of years ago.

      I think the content-structure model is useful as one approach to create change. There is also a general structure in terms of our responses to outside stimuli, thoughts and emotions arising and behaviours being carried out. Playing around with this gives rise to possibilities of changing one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

      Absolutely, we all have the universe within us and there are many ways to find the treasures that lay inside us.

      I truly hope that all of us will experience some of the real and true powers that are within us.

      I’m really glad you liked this series of posts and thank you very much for leaving such a brilliant, extensive and thought provoking comment. 🙂

  9. Hiten – I read this post last week and for some reason couldn’t comment. However, I must say I’ve been thinking about what you said a lot.
    I’m firmly convinced that we all have the resources within us to tackle our problems. Here’s something I believe in : The best anyone can offer to give people is an effective tool they can use to solve their problem themselves.
    — Tara Springett
    I find Point No.14 most interesting. It could be an absolute game changer for self-development and growth in relationships!
    I’ve always toyed with the idea of doing a course in NLP and now I seriously am looking for one.

    1. Hi Corinne,

      I’m sorry your previous comment couldn’t get through. Thanks for coming back and commenting again.

      Thanks very much for sharing Tara Springett’s quote with regards to giving people a tool they can use to help themselves. This is great and I absolutely agree with you.

      I know what you mean about number 14. It still never ceases to amaze me. However, I definitely believe in it and it makes communicating with people and understanding people beyond their outward behaviours, so much easier!

      I definitely recommend a course in NLP. I’m sure you’ll love it.

      It’s great to see you here, Corinne!

  10. i like no 14 so much
    it can help us find excuses for people and spread love
    thanks for the detailed explanation

    1. Hi Farouk,

      It’s so nice to see you here, my friend!

      It seems like number 14 is a very popular one with all of our friends! I’m really glad you could resonate with this one too!

      Thank you for leaving your comment and for showing your support.

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