NLP Time Lines - what are they and how can they be used?
- Chris Harrison
- 7th May 2009
NLP time lines are mental constructs that are used internally to organize time. They are closely related to submodalities. The first thing to do before working with NLP time lines is to discover your own time line.
Before working through this process you should work through the lessons NLP Memory Manipulation - Change the Content of your Memories and NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality.
Discover your own NLP Time Line
Hopefully you've experimented with some of the other lessons on this site and are quite comfortable analyzing your own internal representations. To begin you need to thing of an experience or event in your life that happened around 5 years ago and to visualize that event as vividly as possible.
Now, in the same way as within the lesson NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality, notice where in space you project that image, for instance:
- Is the picture to the left or right?
- Is the picture above or below your sight level?
- How far away is the picture?
Having found a position for this event, think of an event that happened within the last week and notice the position again.
Imagine an event that will happen a year in the future, and then finally an event 5 years in the future such as your birthday.
Now if you take your finger and trace through those points in order, you should discover that they create a line or curve.
There are no fixed positions for time lines, but there are three common patterns. These are:
- Left to Right
- Behind to In front
- Below to Above
In the west most people have either a 'left to right' or 'behind to in front' time line. In the case of the 'left to right' time line the past is usually to the left in right handed people and to the right in left handed people. The 'behind to in front' time line usually runs from behind to in front - people tend to put the past behind then!
The 'below to above' pattern is rare in the west, but strangely is almost universal in Japan - could this be linked to the way japanese is written?
Like many submodality concepts there are a lot of little idiosyncratic behaviors based on peoples preferences. For instance people who run their time line from behind to in front may struggle to see far into the future. If the pictures further away from the present are smaller then perhaps you'll find it harder to focus on those distance events. Do you think if the gaps between the days on your time line was larger you might get more done?
Once you have discovered your own time line, check out some NLP time line techniques.