Image: Leonardo’s ‘Vitruvian Man’ from Wikipedia.org1. Know your outcome

Know what you want, why you want it, and make sure the outcome is ‘ecological’ – good for you and for the people you care about (and for your community and the planet) in the widest possible sense.

Often people are not sure of what they want. The best ways to discover this are to find what is already working well in the area that you want to change, and to elicit your values for that context.

2. Take action

Do something to make your outcome happen – nothing is going to happen unless you take action! The results you get, whatever they are, will provide you with useful additional information to learn from.

3. Pay attention

Notice the results you get from your actions. Are your actions taking you closer, or further away, from your goal? Consider knock-on and delayed effects as well as the obvious, immediate ones.

4. Be flexible 

If what you have been doing isn’t working, do something else. If you don’t know what else to do, do anything else and go on changing your behaviour until you find what works.

5. Operate from the best state you can 

Mind and body are one system. Your breathing, posture and general physical state affect your thoughts and emotions. Get yourself into the best possible state – physically, emotionally, mentally – and then take action. 


Now, if you’ve studied NLP, or you’re a fan of personal development gurus like Tony Robbins, you might think “So what’s new? I know all this already.” But how often do you actually put it into practice? It’s useful to have the occasional reminder.

Note: Adapted from ‘Five Principles for Success’ in the NLP Practitioner manual by Tad James.


Five Principles For Success

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