Created date
Aug 7, 2022 12:55 PM
Personal Growth
Book Review
Communication skills
This chapter teaches us what are the subconscious patterns in our mind. Not until this chapter mentioned them, we do not notice, or even think about how these benefit and detriments our life at the same time.
This is the excerpt from the chapter 1 of NLP: The Essential Guide — the book I am reading.
There’s another really important thing that happens in the mind: it does certain things automatically—and without our awareness. It generalizes, deletes, and distorts information. Let’s explore a few examples.


Generalization is noticing how an experience is similar to other experiences. It’s a natural process. We perceive people, things, and events by noticing aspects of the experience that are like previous experiences. There are many kinds of doors, right? Revolving doors, automatic doors, sliding doors, screen doors, the list goes on, doesn’t it? But, they’re all doors. An upscale restaurant may have nicer ambience, a specialized menu, more attentive service, and higher prices than a family-style restaurant, but they both have food, tables, and servers—so they’re both restaurants. And, of course, certain people remind us of other people. Experiences remind us of other experiences. This is how our brain generalizes. We experience a new thing or skill consciously a few times and after that we delegate it. We do this all the time.
Even though generalization is useful and efficient, it can also get us into trouble. For example, someone who reminds us of a friend may well be a very different kind of person. A pepper in your food may look like a mild pepper you’ve had before, but in fact be a very spicy pepper. Something that looks familiar, a generalization, can lead to incorrect conclusions or ineffective actions.
Generalizations can also contribute to limiting beliefs. For example, all people with green eyes are sexy or tall people wearing big boots are threatening. Such generalizations submerge and become beliefs. And those beliefs then start to run your life. Actually, beliefs are so strong that when you have a belief, it starts to alter what you perceive. Now all these external stimuli coming in have to get through these belief filters. Your mind doesn’t really get the raw information. It doesn’t get to choose anymore.
Rather than getting the actual sound waves coming in, your brain just gets what it hears. And hearing, like seeing, takes place in the brain, not the eyes or the ears. The eyes and the ears are just channeling in vibrations, essentially electromagnetic waves. It’s just raw data coming in, but your mind is filtering that raw data and saying, “Is it dangerous? Is it safe? Is this interesting? Is this significant?”
Your mind is filtering your experience to allow you to survive; so this is a good thing. It’s just that you might want a little more flexibility in this area. That’s one thing you’ll get as you explore the different Discovery Activities in this book—because the more choices you have, the better off you are. Of course, to create, examine, and make different choices, you have to use your brain, which means not living on autopilot. That becomes a problem when beliefs that were formed when you were a kid (knowing only what you knew then) are still making your choices. Those old beliefs have largely chosen your work, your politics, your mate, and your lunch.
As you explore your beliefs and start modifying them using the approaches in this book, you will be able to have more choices available to you in the future, and that is a very good thing. But, I digress.


What’s deletion? Deletion is dropping away aspects of an experience. Deletion is natural. When we perceive or remember someone or something, we often leave out the background, other people and so on. That’s deletion. When we focus intensely on something and everything else disappears, that’s deletion. When we can’t remember something, that’s another form of deletion. When used effectively, deletion helps remove the noise, distractions, and minutia of life, so we can concentrate on what’s important.
Here’s a “deletion” experience you might be having right now. You’re probably focused on reading these words, thinking about what they mean, arguing with the ideas, or taking notes. What you’re ignoring perhaps is the feeling of your body sitting wherever you’re sitting, on a hard chair, a comfortable couch, or a cramped bus seat. You may not be paying attention to your body, your environment, or what time it is. You may not be paying attention to the way your feet feel at the moment. When I mention it, maybe you notice them, but not until then.
Another example is when you’re looking for someone in a crowd, you’re focusing on specific things and you’re deleting the background. You might scan a group of people searching only for a certain thing—the color of a sweater, the shape of a hat, or long blond hair—everything else in the picture is just background; you’ve deleted the other elements.


Distortion is changing an experience from what it actually is to some modified form of what it is. (Let’s put aside whether you can really know what something is and just explore distortion further.) Distortion, too, is natural. We perceive and remember people, things, and events based on aspects of the experience: the typical dog, the ideal friend, the worst vacation, and so on. This is a distortion. It’s a bit of the experience, but we have dropped out a whole lot of details and filled in the rest with imagination.
When we perceive a particular characteristic about someone, good or bad, and apply it to all aspects of that person, that’s distortion, too. With distortion, when we perceive someone as a slow talker, we might distort things so we imagine that they’re also a slow thinker. Similarly, we may conclude that someone who’s a sharp dresser is a sharp thinker. When you remember a moment of an event as representing the whole thing, that’s distortion. When you tell the story of that experience and leave things out and embellish others, that’s distortion. We do this quite frequently.
These three ideas don’t really operate independently—they interact. For example, generalization requires deletion, and is a form of distortion. It doesn’t matter that you remember these terms, what’s important is that you recognize that there are billions of bits of information flooding into your brain every second—to manage all this, your awesome brain automatically generalizes, deletes, and distorts information.
The difference among body, brain, and mindHow do we create our feeling?

Jason Siu
A warm welcome! I am a tech enthusiast who loves sharing my passion for learning and self-discovery through my website.
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