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The NLP Process of Generalization


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There are three ways to filter the 10 million bits of information that enter via your five senses.

One way is to delete them, another way is to distort them and the third way, which this article will address, is to generalize them.

The five senses are of course, visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (feeling), olfactory (smelling) and gustatory (tasting).

You use generalization to organize information into groups or categories. It is a valuable process, which allows you to remember and categorize what you have learned every day .

Generalizations exist when you take specific experiences and generalize them to make them true, outside of their particular context.

This is also another form of distortion.

It is important to do this otherwise you would have to go into a tremendous amount of detail when you were speaking to someone to explain something.

However, many people also use generalizations to disempower themselves.

How often have you heard someone say: “I always catch a cold in winter"? Guaranteed they will because they are programming their neurology with that ‘wish’.

Generalizations can be made up of universal statements using such words as, no one, everyone, never, always, all, and nothing.

Generalizations actually make up your belief systems which are the specific rules you have that govern your life.

Your belief systems are based on your individual experiences as well as on socially and culturally-based issues, such as gender, age, culture, religion, etc.

The danger to avoid with generalizations is not to make sweeping assumptions which can lead to prejudice and intolerance, and limiting choices.

An example, of a limiting choice would be when you say: “I could never do that".

Nevertheless, if you didn't have the ability to generalize, each time you saw an object that you could sit on, you would need to relearn that it is part of the ‘chair’ family.

Your subconscious mind, in order to protect you, generalizes certain experiences you had as a child, and at times these childhood generalizations now impede you as an adult from moving forwards.

If as a child, you were told that you were not good at mathematics, now as an adult, you would generalize that, any time you perceived you needed a mathematical-style skill, you would not be able to do that activity.

This is when the generalizing function is used in a disempowering way.

These filters of deleting, distorting, and generalizing are dependent on your other internal filters.

These are your Rulebook, and are created as a result of your upbringing, your environment and the significant emotional experiences you have had in your life.

They determine what you focus on, what you look for, and how you sort your daily experiences, these experiences which you call your reality.

Linked to this, these filters are instrumental in forming your values, beliefs, attitudes, memories, decisions, the language you use, and your meta-programs.

My suggestion is that every time you are about to say or think that you cannot do something, or that you find something difficult, or that you've never been unable to do whatever it is, you do and think the complete opposite.

You now say: “I can do this, I find activities like this easy, and I'm looking forward to doing it".

Repeat and repeat and repeat this new way of speaking, hearing and feeling.

Once you use this process of awareness, you will realize that you have no limitations imposed upon you by others because their assumptions are based on nothing, just their own personal opinion, from their own filtration system, and their version of reality - not your reality.

Often people place their own limitations on others

Eleanor Roosevelt said that, no one can make you feel small without your permission.

Therefore no one can make you feel inadequate without your permission.

Broaden your focus, and see your world, hear your world, and feel your world like the Samurai warrior with a 360° radius.

Live your life spherically, a full circle in all dimensions.

Gloria M Hamilten is a recognized authority in disciplines within Personal Development and People Skills for Business Professionals, such as Time Management, Negotiation Skills, Developing High-Performance Teams, Assertion Skills, Building International Rapport, Conflict Management and Resolution, Presentation and Platform Skills.

Her studies in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Psychology have lead to her researching brain disorders such as ADD and its relations.

She has her own training business, and conducts courses for Corporate Organizations, Sporting groups and Tertiary Educational Institutions in Australia.

Her professional experience covers over 30 years of study, research, one-on-one coaching, group coaching, presentations and workshops. Her clientele includes children as well as adults.

Gloria Hamilten has authored the eBook: “Practical Self-Hypnosis for Success" and many Reports and online articles.

Her websites provide a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything within these genres.

Visit her websites:

This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, or website. The author's name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.


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