Failure Into Feedback Strategy

New Years Resolutions tend not to succeed.  People frame the experience as failure that is a big problem in terms of making positive change for most people.

The NLP Failure Into Feedback Strategy starts a couple of Presuppositions

The first NLP Presupposition is:

  • “There’s No Such Thing As Failure; Only Feedback!”  –  (Attributed to Thomas A Edison)

This belief system will have been adopted by any competent NLP Practitioner (or otherwise highly successful person).

Closely related:

  • The Law of Requisite Variety: “The person with the most flexibility (variability of behavior) is most likely to succeed in any given situation.” 
  • Corollary:  “He who controls the frame; controls the interaction!”

AND REMEMBER: The 3 Keys to Success

  1.  Know what you want.
  2.  Know how you will know when you have it.
  3.  Vary your approach until… (you do get it!)

The third Key (above) is about FLEXIBILITY (The Law of Requisite Variety) and about not giving up until you achieve what you say you want to accomplish (goal/outcome).

The Failure Into Feedback Presupposition is stated as:

“There’s no such thing as failure; only feedback.”

People who are consistent winners in life seem to know how to keep a great attitude even when circumstances seem to be overwhelmingly against them.  The question I have for you this month is, “What is your relationship with failure?”

NLP has modeled some of worlds’ most successful people in a wide variety of life pursuits. Based on Behavior Modeling, NLP is built upon the foundation of what we’ve learned from therapists, athletes, business leaders, health care practitioners, sales professionals, negotiators, public speakers, and other highly successful people in a number of fields.  Everyone has felt like a failure at some point in life.  Everyone has failed to achieve some expectation at something they wanted to accomplish.  And some of us have tried so many times without success that we just want to give up.  Some people succumb to the habit of failing and become resigned.  The label for consistently failing it being a failure.  It’s amazing how many people give up on their goals just because their efforts are not generating the results they anticipated they would or get or hoped they would get.  But NLP Practitioners don’t accept the belief in failure.

What if…

What if what you are failing at is recognizing the results you have been getting or not getting is nothing more than FEEDBACK framed in a disempowering way?  When you take on the pattern of looking at ‘unexpected results’ as ‘feedback,’ you are already setting yourself up for success in ways you could not possibly have predicted.  Chances are that when you don’t let your attitude slip into thinking you have failed, you are already sorting for information in a way that automatically helps you find more possible solutions to any task at hand or problem state.

The Feedback Frame

The frame you choose to put around how you perceive the circumstances or events in your life preselects for the type of thoughts and ideas you are able to access.  Choosing to use the word ‘feedback,’ instead of ‘failure,’ also allows you to relax and feel differently about what is occurring and you can stay positive.  First, notice how it feels when you imagine yourself ‘failing’ or worse, being ‘a failure.’  Now think about how it is different when you imagine even difficult circumstances as ‘only feedback.’  When you are no longer experiencing negative thoughts, actions, and feeling produced from the old paradigm of ‘failure,’ you are immediately and automatically sorting for solutions.  The Feedback Frame can open you up to the energy and positive body chemistry that will support you in being more flexible and achieving successes that were not going to happen from the old paradigm.

To repeat, a primary Presupposition adopted by any competent NLP Practitioner is that “There’s No Such Thing As Failure; Only Feedback!”

Here’s the Pattern

The Failure Into Feedback Strategy

(Reference from the book Changing Belief Systems by Robert Dilts)

(This NLP Life-Change Pattern is best done with a partner with some knowledge of NLP Eye Accessing Cues. The intention of the pattern is set up a loop that allows for resourceful states and thereby more choice regardless of the circumstance.  An important piece of information is that beliefs are accompanied by Reference Experiences.  You should be able to represent a moment in time as a picture in your head or short movie with a beginning, middle and an end or a story about the event that is a representation of the limiting belief you are working with.)

1.   Identify a problem attitude or belief.  Facilitator: Notice the direction of Eye Accessing Cues at the moment the belief is accessed.  Pay attention to what is going on internally for the person with Visual, Auditory, and with Kinesthetic at each part of the current belief strategy. Think of each of the VAK Accessing cues as molecules.

2. Separate the VAK Representation by placing of the previously collapsed molecules now identified as Visual (r) and (c), Auditory (r) and (c), and Auditory (d), and Kinesthetic into the appropriate Eye Accessing Positions (as shown on the chart below).



3. Look up and to the right which Visual Construct (Vc) in the normally wired individual.  Sometimes unpacking the collapsed VAK representations changes the representation dramatically.  Refocus the image represented toward the desired capability.  Notice changes in representation and then check for Positive Intent with regard to the feeling and then on the words themselves with the new outcome (not of the past memories).

4. Imagine or re-picture the memories associated to the belief and adjust or build a more realistic perspective of the total situation.  You can do this by placing positive memories (access other memories from your past) mixed with the memories associated with the problem so they fit on your time in the appropriate time sequence.  (Here’s the magic) See how previously negative memories can now provide positive feedback that will now lead you even more surely to your outcomes/goals.  You can even modify or add the desired outcome based on what you have learned from constructing the new, adjusted memories.  Pay attention to see steps that you can now follow to connect the memories to your positive outcomes/goals.

5. Identify a positive resourceful reference experience (give a moment to access the new reference experience) as a set of resourceful perceptions about something you can achieve in the future and establish an anchor for the experience.

6. Make the structure of the desired state molecules the same as the new reference experience.


This is a somewhat more complicated pattern that most that I post in the newsletter. If you need help with running pattern, consider contact me for an NLP Coaching Session.

NOTE: You can run the pattern above or simply decide that no matter what happens; no matter how difficult the circumstances appear, that you are getting positive feedback and its’ possible to simply adjust your internal state and belief to find a way (be flexible enough) that you getting what you say you want. You can be confident now that no matter what happens that it’s just another example of how you succeed.