• How do you know you believe something?
  • How do you know you disbelieve something?
  • How do you know you like something?
  • How do you know you dislike something?

sub modalitiesDo you suspect that it is how we think about that particular something?

In NLP we are proposing that we take the world in through our five senses and then we use this as the raw building blocks to our thinking.

We think using a combination of our five senses and words.

This is not a new idea and even Socrates many years ago once said: “It’s not the thing but the form in our minds.”

If I were to ask you now to think of your favorite type of food, it may be different from the food I am thinking of.   How we individually think about this may also be different, i.e. is it big, small, life-size, moving, still, colour, black and white, near or far? Did you notice that these words are all sub-parts of the visual sense, hence the term ‘sub modalities’ or the building blocks to our thinking?

How we think about something effects how we react to it.

With the danger of getting philosophical once again I would like to quote William Shakespeare: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.

For example I know a young women who loves ironing clothes and she is as happy as Larry whenever she is ironing (I’ve never meet Larry but apparently he is very happy).  She has set up her own ironing business and loves life.  I can see that she is thinking about ironing quite differently from me and so I became curious to know how someone could love ironing so much. So I modelled her using a range of the sub modalities and guess what…… I got excited about ironing!  Interestingly, I choose not to be and just because you can does not mean you have too.

On a personal note …it worked for me.

Is there something in your life that is adversely affecting and perhaps holding you back simply because of the way you are thinking about it?  If you change how you think about life, you can change the results that you get.

I have the pleasure of being dyslexic and before I changed my mind about what it meant to be dyslexic it affected all areas of my life.  Inevitably I was concerned for the types of jobs I could go after, the people I could mix with and it caused me to be one of the shyest people you could ever meet and in turn created a low self-esteem ….in fact I had no steam at all.  Once I learnt about Sub modalities I decided to systematically change the way I thought about being dyslexic.

Now, that I have changed how I think about this perceived disability I now love life. I am proud to run a successful international business, to be invited to speak and train the world over and to have the pleasure of working with large and small firms.   All this and such a wonderful home life as well …..this NLP stuff is great!!

Common sub modality distinctions.

Here are just some for easy reference:











Moving or still

Stereo or Mono







Hard or Soft





Change your thinking.

Just image what you could do if you could change the way you think?

For example:

  • – Think of something you likedoing and note all the sub modalities from the above list.
  • -Now think of something you dislike doing and note all the sub modalities.
  • – You may find that some sub modalities are the same, whereas some encodings may be different.
  • – If you now change and swap-over the sub modalities for dislike to the same encoding as like you may now begin find that you like the thing you use to dislike.

Drop us an email asking for the sub modalities worksheet and we will send you a complementary pdf.

It is important to note that once you have an understanding of this subject it will form the basis for being able to use some of the more advanced NLP techniques featured throughout our other NLP training Programmes.

Do you have any questions or would like to share how you have used this powerful thinking tool?

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About John Cassidy-Rice

NLP Master Trainer

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