1-4 Chapter Summary, Additional Demos, Bonus Activities

You’ve made a great start with this chapter. Here are a few reminders of what you’ve explored so far:

Chapter 1: Key Ideas

  • Our brains interpret the sensory input we get, and assign a meaning to it. As soon as a meaning is assigned, it leads to an emotion. This is unconscious, and fast, so that we have the stimulus and the emotion. The rest is out of awareness.
  • When we learn, we generalize. Because we had some experiences in the past that seem similar, we generalize and automate; it’s an efficiency strategy.
  • Generalization is also how beliefs get formed; then beliefs filter all the different stimuli coming in. The mind doesn’t really get raw information; it no longer gets to choose.
  • Deletion is when the mind ignores specific sensory input.
  • Distortion is changing an experience from what it actually is to some modified form of it.
  • Each of us is a blend of body, brain, and mind.
  • The world inside someone’s mind is based on five languages: sight, sound, smell, taste, and feeling.
  • The world you see and live in is really the world inside your head.
  • People often favor one sense or “rep mode” over the others so they are more visual . . . more auditory . . . or more kinesthetic. (new tip: it frequently changes from one context to another: eating a meal…watching a sunset…)
  • What people remember is a moving target; it shifts each time someone calls up a memory.
  • Our minds can recall what we specifically experienced and combine remembered elements to create new imagined experiences and ideas—which are critical to change and innovation.
  • Consciously using mental sticky notes (anchors) is a powerful way to strengthen positive mental “states” and diminish negative ones.

Bonus Activities

  • As you have or recall positive experiences, step into these and relive them. Add these pictures, sounds, and feelings to the anchor you created on 2nd knuckle of your middle finger.
  • Continue to play with the Circle of Excellence (additional description here). Strengthen the one you explored in this chapter – or create another one with a different focus by changing the situation or the kind of resources you’re working with.
  • Notice differences between how you recall an event, and how someone else who was there remembers it. Consider what personal filters may have shaped the way you experienced, interpreted, and remembered what happened.
  • Identify generalizations that you’ve made, but may not have been aware of before.
  • If you come across one or two memories that are painful, write these down so you can use these as examples when you’ve learned new ways to shift your experience.
  • Use the notes pages at the end of each chapter or keep a journal to briefly capture your discoveries, accomplishments, questions, and things you might want to change in the future.
  • Get a friend or two to volunteer to practice with you. That way you can discuss what you’re learning and get immediate feedback on the processes you’re practicing.

Review and Refresh: The Circle of Excellence

Circle of Excellence Demonstration

Review of Demonstration and Exercise Guide

Review of Circle of Excellence Exercise


Comments (36)

Dear Tom,
Thank you so much for writing this book. I discovered NLP some time ago, although I didn’t know there was a name for it. I simply discovered some of my triggers and used acceptance for my feelings about triggers/cues to heal many aspects of myself. It completely changed my life and my world in extremely positive and wonderful ways. I also I created an anchor (not that I knew what it was called this although it’s similar to the spotlight one you go over) and has made it so that I feel good in almost any situation. I especially like to use it when I’m out at a party or with friends and have done so successfully for many years (since 2014).
About 4 years ago, one evening when I was out at a party using my anchor, I met a man and hit it off with him. I didn’t deem him capapable of a long term relationship and so didn’t really take him seriously but we had a lot of fun together. Then I began to notice that when I used my anchor in a powerful way and felt very light, joyful, free but connected confident and blissful this man would always show up. It was the strangest thing – I’d just run into him at a party and we’d hit it off – every single time. It happened so many times (30+?) over the course of a few years that I came to associate him with these good feelings.
I ultimately wanted to have a relationship with him but he insisted he didn’t want one, which was his right. But still when I felt my anchor I’d run into him or he’d call – like we were magnetized to each other and I at least felt very deeply for him but I also knew from reports from friends that he was just trying playing me or something strange was going on with him. The relationship – if you can call it that -began to get a bit strange at times and I noticed that somehow I had begun to associate him and an icky feeling about him with what had been very pure wonderful feelings. Now when I feel them, his picture pops up and I feel regret or angry or scared like I won’t be able to handle him if I run into him. So a very positive anchor has turned into something far less. I’ve done a lot of psychological work to make men like him less attractive to me and actually have a new much better boyfriend now (LOL) but that guy’s image was still tied up with these wonderful feelings was for lack of a better word, haunting me…
Since reading this chapter I’ve practiced other spotlight anchors, made the context be how I am if and when I see this guy and it’s helped a ton. This guy’s image seems to finally be fading (thank you !!).
I wanted to find out if you have any other suggestions on how to take back my power and feel these specific feelings of lightness, joy, bliss, connection and freedom without associating them with him. And of course also how to handle this or any future scenarios like this in the most positive helpful manners possible.
Thank you so much!

Go Tom – I’ve read many NLP books already and I’m enjoying yours immensely! I’m having trouble with some of the NLP exercises. I’ve tried crashing anchors several times (anchoring calmness when I’m at the beach) but they don’t seem to “stick”. I also have a very hard time discerning which rep system I use primarily. I don’t get good visual images, I don’t think I’m auditory or kinesthetic. Is it possible to be primarily digital? I seem to always be talking to myself internally. Thanks in advance!

Hi Carrie,
So I hear you talk to yourself a lot. 😉 Well, intelligent conversation is important, and mostly its a matter of keeping it intelligent. This means first keeping it useful for you, and that means it has to be kind. Kind to you. A lot of people have internal dialogue that’s sometimes pretty mean. If you do, that’s a first thing to change.
I’m going to jump past questions of your primary rep system (ask me about that later if you want) and suggest you work with a tool called the Auditory Swish. It’s in Chapter 2 p 75 of the paper edition. Play with that a bit and let me know how it goes, ok?
Tom D

hi tom,
I have just started reading the book, its incredible, I do have a question with an emotion I suffer with since very early childhood, anger, would you recommended the circle for this, although because of angers intensity and impulsiveness I cant imagine it, very curious about your thoughts on this.
thanks so much Tom 😉

Hi Patricia,
Nice question. This is how the Circle of Excellence will work for that.
The Circle of Excellence is a process that can change states easily, given specific instructions are followed.
Since anger is an emotional state that can occur in a great variety of contexts, almost any context in fact, starting with a very specific context is even more important. The circle of excellence is an anchoring process where a desired response is triggered by a specific context or stimulus.
So the way it can help you here is for you to pick a context in which you wish a specific resourceful state in response to some specific context that used to stimulate an angry state. First, though, let’s think of a resource state that would be generally appropriate across the board. Something like a response of curiosity is usually quite effective. You might choose something else like surprise or amusement if that’s easier or more appropriate. Use the circle of excellence process to create a powerful example of being intensely curious, like you are going to find out x no matter what! Practice stepping into that state and just experiencing it a dozen times.
Then make a quick short list of a dozen contexts where you used to get reliably pissed off. To start with choose the mildest one, the one that only pisses you off slightly. Carefully note how it is that you know to get a little angry in that situation: what is the first thing you see, hear, or feel that tells you “ok, get mad!”
That’s your signal to step into your circle of massive curiosity.
Now use that to practice, and do so until your response is automatic. “See snake, notice I’m curious as hell…” Got it?
Now some people will need to practice this with several different situational triggers before it generalizes to all the times they used to respond with anger. Other people, after having strong results from practicing the first one or three will find it just automatically generalizes across their experience.
Let me know how that works for you, ok?

Hi Tom,
I sure will and thank you so much for you help and time, I am very appreciative 😉

Hi Tom
Really a great book as a guide. It gas really helped me to help my clients. Just one question Tom. I don’t know why but I feel NLP techniques when I apply them on myself it is not effective. Why?

Hi Rashmi,
Yes, it can be more difficult to use some NLP processes with yourself. We chose those for the book that we thought would minimize this issue, and it’s not possible to avoid it completely. You’re attempting to be in an experience and guide it at the same time. that’s not easy. This is where having someone to work with is highly useful and advised. It may be just someone to read the instructions to you, so that you can stay focused on your experience, can make the difference.

Hi, I am finally going through the audiobook after wanting to explore NLP for decades. I wish we had been taught this at school, or university. Firstly, than you so much for the generous resources on this site. Secondly, my question – I would love to use these techniques/concepts to help my 16 and 19 year old – especially things like the circle of excellence in helping the younger one access more resourceful states for presentations at school, asking questions in class etc. Any tips on how to frame the pursuit of this knowledge in a way that appeals to the younger adult (especially one who is very kinaesthetic in his learning preference, and has meta programs seemingly heavily weighted towards Options, Content to Form and motivation Toward Positive)?

I would probably invite them to an experiment in making “x” feel easier while stating no way to know how much it would improve choices the first time. Then ask for a suggested context/outcome where easier choices would be desired for a first experiment to evaluate. Circle of Excellence would be my first choice to guide. Depending on their relationship I might offer the younger one the chance to learn something first, before the older sibling. It may also be easier if another adult, perhaps an admired aunt or uncle, could lead this. options all. 😉
PS Sorry for the delay in responding, we had some email issues.

Hi Tom, I am going through your ebook and videos. I wanted to just say Thank you for sharing so generously.

Hi Tom,
If I want to pursue NLP as a career, what are the steps I need to take? I do not have a degree in psychology.

Hi Ramya,
That is a simple question that does not have a simple answer. There is no “nlp career” as such. There are therapists and life coaches whose practice is NLP based to some extent, and NLP trainers, and business consultants and so on. Many people are professionals who use NLP methodologies and understandings to enhance their life and practice. So the answer depends largely on what an NLP career would be to you. You would do well to use the “Well Formed Outcome” process to answer that for yourself.

Thanks, Tom. I guess that answers my question. I was thinking if I do NLP as a certified coach, I could make my foray into behaviour therapy without having a formal degree in psychology. But I guess what you said makes sense.

Thank you for the amazing book and taking the time to reply to every single comment here 🙂

Hi tom,

I’m only 2 weeks in but I’m already noticing subtle differences in how I react to things which is great.

I purchased the book through audible and i’m listening on the way yo and from work. I having some difficulty in finding the activities / summaries referenced in the book and was wondering if there is a complete pdf version I can download?

Thanks again


Hi David,
Thanks for the kind comment. Since there is no pdf of the whole site, I created an extensive listing of the site and posted it right above this comment section on the home page. I hope that helps.
You may also find it easier to use the new address, nlpessentialguide.com

Thoroughly enjoying these videos. I am going through the audiobook a second time but this time taking notes and applying. I am a homeopath and integrating NLP into my practice. Excellent!

Christopher Fleischman

Can you show an image or diagram of the kinesthetic personal anchor of touching the second knuckle with the tip of the thumb? I’m not sure I understand which Knuckle is the ‘second knuckle’

Hi Christopher,
You can use any knuckle or other point you can easily identify. The “second knuckle” is mentioned just to specify a location for instructional purposes. Kinesthetic anchors can be created anywhere on the body. Anchors can also be created by location, such as in the “Circle of Excellence” process, and visually and auditorily. Essentially you are creating a stimulus response loop, which is easily reinforced by repetition.


I’ve just started listening to this book on Audible and up to chapter 1.4. The book mentions that ‘The world inside someone’s mind is based on five languages: sight, sound, smell, taste, and feeling’.

Just to clarify, feeling as one of the five languages, is this emotion or sensory touch, as in feeling something with your hands? If emotion, than can you please explain why is sensory touch not a language?

Thanking you in advance for this explanation.

Kind regards

As we use it, feeling refers to both proprioceptive – perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body, and touch. Certainly touch is a means of connection and communication. Emotions are complex states different from direct sensory experience, and are not a direct form of communication, although humans are pretty good at assessing each other’s emotional state.

Swamini Tattvavidyananda

Thank you. The book is great. These demonstration videos give great clarity. Really good work. Thanks

This book has been great so far.

I am brand spankin’ new to NLP, and the Universe led me to it at just the right time for continued growth. I’m loving the book and processes thus far. Soaking it up like a sponge.

I have read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make such a magnificent informative web site. cgeekkbgcgbaebdb

Great book with great video content. I must say thats a great work guys. I really enjoy the process and the progress. Thank you.

Can the circle of excellence be perform alone without any assistance?

Absolutely. I’ve used it that way a lot; it’s one of the easiest to do yourself.

This has become my favourite NLP book (and as a qualified Practitioner I have a TON of them).
Absolutely brilliant!
Charl Viljoen

Is it the memory or the emotion that im anchoring? Or both?

Yes both, actually. The memory triggered by the anchor contains the emotion, or re-creates it for us. Frequently the content of the memory will be out of our awareness – unconsious,if you will. So we suddenly have this feeling ‘out of the blue’… and then, if we backtrack a little we may find the memory and the anchor that triggered it.

I have really enjoyed the videos. I have been hooked on NLP from the moment I started studying it 8 months ago. Thanks so much for everything

Love this book.
This is my first introduction to NLP,
very similar to hypnosis, really enjoying the video training aswell!
Thank you!

Thanks, Nathalie. So kind! If you have a moment, please feel free to post this to Amazon as well.
It really helps.

Thanks,Brien, I’m glad you enjoyed them!

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