Neuro – Linguistic Programming, which is all about the interconnectedness of our Brain and Body to achieve success, has been creating quite a buzz now among leaders in the corporate and business world. These people go by another name: grown-ups.

NLP has appealed to adults because it presents a powerful way by which we can change our mindset and behavior to get to the path of excellence. It’s far from easy. It requires strong willpower, staunch discipline and whole-hearted commitment, but who can refuse the benefits that excellence can bring?

The good news is, NLP can work for both grown-ups AND kids. Here are some of the principles or presuppositions of NLP and how they can be effective for children:


We are most productive when we are at a positive state. For the record, state here means emotions. Adam Khoo, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and one of The Executive Magazine’s 25 Richest Singaporeans under the age of 40, said in in his book ‘Master Your Mind, Master Your Destiny’ that the Top Ten Emotional States of a person are: Motivation, Energy, Curiosity, Excitement, Confidence, Passion, and Happiness. We can control our emotional states by changing our physiology (muscles posture) and our thinking (beliefs and attitudes). Children can be taught to do this by providing a lot of exercise and techniques to keep their values, beliefs, and attitudes positive and powerful.


One of the most important skills of the 21st century is creativity. Once this idea—that at any given moment they have everything they need to succeed—is ingrained in them, then they will be driven to find new and resourceful ways to solve problems. If, for example, a child wants to buy a toy but has no money for it, then he could be encouraged to ask what he could do to still be able to obtain the toy (legally, of course.) The child’s mind is now forced to think of ways to get what he wants. If he recognizes that he has all the resources he needs to succeed, then he could ask money from grandma in exchange for cuteness, or he could negotiate with mom for him to do chores around the house in exchange for some payment.


Another 21st century skill that should be harnessed in today’s students is communication. Even at a very young age, children must know that everything about us conveys a message. Even without words, feelings and character traits can be derived from our body language, facial expressions, and even the clothes we wear. Teaching them to identify their feelings, to express what they mean in the most accurate way possible will work wonders for children. In line with this, the use of positive language can also help in getting what they want out of life. Children can be taught to use affirmations to boost their confidence.


Failure does not look into age. Everyone is bound to commit mistakes—whether it is a misstep during toddlerhood, a bad fashion choice during the teenage years, or a wrong decision during adult days – what matters is not the actual blunder, but how it is handled. This is where “growth mindset” comes in. Mindset, as the word itself implies, is the current setting of our mind. It includes our beliefs, our ideas, our values. Having a growth mindset entails understanding that mistakes are a part of life and they can be used to make improvements. Children know when to stand up when they fall. This gets harder to do with age, when slip-ups involve a scarred ego, or a hurt heart rather than just a skinned knee, so young as they are, children have to develop that resilience. They have to learn to recognize their choices, to pick themselves up, to push their limits, to go out of their comfort zones, and always make room to learn new things. Failure is a part of life, but with NLP, children will recognize that they don’t have to be taken as burdens or problems but as feedback to help them become better.


NLP is big on modelling. It promotes looking at the patterns of behavior of winners and leaders from whom you have derive a formula for success. Pop singer Lana Del Ray echoes this principle. She said, “Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.” Through the use of stories, children can easily be exposed to lives of great men and women and their character traits, actions, and even language patterns, so that they can set personal goals based on their achievements. The idea here is that if others have done it, then it is proven possible, one only needs to have what it takes to get there as well.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming may sound quite technical, but it does not mean it’s only for grown-ups. Since it deals with the human brain, it has the ability to transcend the boundaries of age. It’s just a matter of how such seemingly adult concepts are broken down into understandable chunks. Think about it, if adults are able to change their fixed mindset, how much more children, whose minds are more malleable, more open?

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