Information from the outside world comes into our neurology, and then we filter that information to form a perceptive model of the event, and then label that perception with language, but how does this work?


An external event enters your neurology via the 5 senses

Known in NLP as "The 5 Modalities", an event or experience comes into our perception through the 5 senses:

  • Visual (Sight)
  • Auditory (Hearing)
  • Kinethetic (Touch)
  • Olfactory (Smell)
  • Gustatory (Taste)

Those are the only 5 physical sensory input channels that the human body has. As the event (external or internal) enters our neurology, we are going to delete, distort, and generalize (maybe not in that order) the information before making an Internal Representation (IR) of that event.

The Internal Representation is made up of six things:

  • Pictures
  • Sounds
  • Feelings
  • Tastes
  • Smells
  • Self-Talk (internal dialog)

Those correspond to our 5 Senses, plus one additional thing, which is Self-Talk. Some of these modalities might be out of awareness when forming an IR, but these are the only six things we can possibly DO in our heads.



Self-Talk are the words we say to ourselves, hear inside our head, or see inside our heads (think subtitles) that put a language label or gauge (lang-gauge) "language" on the internal representation, and becomes part of the internal representation.

Many people have heard of positive thinking or affirmations, right? Simply thinking positive thoughts or saying positive things to yourself is always useful, and it is only 1/6th of the package that makes up the internal representation. If the self-talk is positive and is focused on what you want; however, the other modalities such as pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells are focused on what you don't want, then your overall focus is still on what you don't want.

Remember the saying:

"What you resist, will persist"

So in NLP, we believe that focusing on what you want means aligning all six things toward what you do want, so that you are focusing all of your neurology on what you want, not just a piece of it.


what are you saying to yourself? - words we say to ourselves label our experience, anD Determines our FOCUS!

It has been said:



"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.

The NLP communication model, or the NLP model of FOCUS, explains how this is true.

The information comes into the five senses, the three filters reduce that information into manageable chunks, then we do six things in our head that lead to the forming of our perception, and all of that determines our Focus.

As you will read on the next page, our Focus determines our behavior and therefore our results.