NLP and Unemployment

Once again I might upset a few people here, but since I do it so well I’m going to make a claim.  It is a claim that is based purely on my observation and is true in some, but not all, cases.

Here’s the claim: NLP training can be a very fast way to unemployment.

Here is what I am seeing: In a field so obsessed with perfecting the map, so many seem to be ignoring the territory.

There.  Remember, this is coming from myself who has recommended, and continues to recommend NLP training to so many people, has assisted some of the “names” in NLP, written a book that is reflective of NLP, and so on.

Yet I see so many people who have attended NLP workshops/trainings and then given up the day job expecting hoards of high-fee paying clients to form a queue at their door.  With several thousand of people having NLP training in this country every year, it is probably best not to believe the hype.  I have known one or two people who actually gave up their job first and then went to the NLP training with the high hope of the riches and wealth that awaits them.

The mistake is that whilst NLP can be taught, and for some, taught quite brilliantly in a short space of time and the personal results achieved from this training can be immense and positively life-changing, it doesn’t alter the fact that building a thriving business is bloody hard work. It requires a lot of man-hours and significant amounts of experience, understanding and knowledge that exists outside of a week-long NLP workshop.  Many people naively miss this important detail:  NLP might give instant results for many things, but it doesn’t make the competitive market of economic forces conform to one’s high hopes and ambition.

Expecting instant business success is a demonstration of poor business judgement and it leads to a very unfortunate situation:  A bittersweet army of armchair NLP experts.  An armchair expert always knows the ways things are and the way things should be, but they do not participate in any of those things themselves.  They consider themselves above all that.  They are practitioners without a practice.

The armchair experts are those who have attended training courses and not actually achieved anything different on the outside of their minds as a result of that training.  They may start attending further courses for personal development, or even in the hope that one day they will achieve success in the field, but none-the-less, they are now experts operating from a theoretical perspective.

They may turn into newsgroup regulars on the internet and garner some respect and status from the other newsgroup regulars as their opinions and attitudes harmonise and homogenise. They may seek and acquire internet enemies – person’s whom they have never met, nor care to meet or converse with, yet about whom they know everything apparently, simply because that person – that enemy to the club – “is well known for that sort of thing”.  Facts and evidence be damned, running with the wolves is a far superior type of fun and with it brings instant gratification.

Whilst in-groups form and out-groups form, their reality gets filtered, distorted and significantly bastardised.  An in-group has its heroes, an in-group has its enemies, an in-group has its own club-mentality and unspoken rules and etiquette.  Like a school-yard gang, the group is intolerant of anyone whom it sees as a threat to these club-rules and harmony and will attack as a single entity, as a seemingly well-organised pack.

And along with this something significant begins to emerge: The illusion of status and the illusion of importance.  To the newcomer, it can seem impressive – a tight in-group, with established (yet informal) hierarchies, attitudes, all the grandiose titles….and an evident overwhelming sense of self-importance of the group.  It can be tough to join, even harder to get accepted, but still, people want in.

Yet if one were to scratch beneath the surface, you might start to see some interesting patterns emerging – the unusual hours people keep (revealed by the times of newsgroup postings), the problematic mental health histories (which may not be all that historical for some), the drink problems (just look at their Facebook photos, where many have endless photo after photo of drinking exploits and “great nights out”, pictures that accidentally say to future employers, “Hey, I’m popular, I don’t get drunk alone.“) and back-patting, mutual congratulations and lashings of mutual intellectual masturbation.

But you know what?  So many of these armchair critics and success coaches don’t actually see any clients (because they found that the promised hoards and referrals never actually formed that queue at their door), and few have ever successfully run a training/workshop or offered any demonstration of their competencies beyond newsgroup postings.

Many are unemployed, and for all the hyperbole, so few have any actual experience other than attending workshops along with all the usual suspects.  But they are seen on the scene, and being seen by others is important.  It is an illusion of success.  It is a scene that says, “I am successful because I belong.”

Andrew T. Austin
  • Andrew T. Austin
  • Andrew T. Austin is formerly an NLP master practitioner, clinical hypnotherapist, and a nurse with a background in accident and emergency (A&E) and neurosurgery.

    He is the developer of Metaphors of Movement and Integral Eye Movement Therapy.

    #NLP #neurolinguisticprogramming #hypnotherapy

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