The Neurological Levels
The term "Neurological Levels" (also called Logical Levels), first coined by Gregory Bateson and the model was created by Robert Dilts. The logical levels are a tool which allows us to analyze our lives and situations in our life through different perspectives. Each logical level is a different point of view which is also connected to the other levels and they are arranged in a hierarchy of importance.
For many of us, the logical levels work outside of our conscious and they have a huge impact on the quality of our lives (whether we are conscious of it or not).
Every goal you want to achieve or a problem in your life bothering you is within one of those logical levels. Once we understand this model we can use it to understand where our problem standing and use different thinking levels in order to solve it.
The levels are visualized in a pyramid, from the basic and superficial at the bottom to the deepest and significant at the top. Although, a change in any of those levels can be impactful and affect the other levels. Still, the higher the level which changes happen in, usually the change is bigger.
The environment level is your surroundings. The place you are in, the people you interact with, conditions, results and basically everything from the "outside" which has some effect on us.
Imagine two situations in which you are a person trying to lose weight. In the first situation, you open the fridge and see cookies, in the second situation you open the fridge and there's only healthy food.
The person without the cookies in his fridge has a lower chance of eating a cookie at that moment right?
The change in the environment the person made led him to a change in behavior (eating healthy food). The connection between those two levels is simple and clear.
The Behavior level is our actions, responses and simply our behaviors with a certain content. I'm sure that I don't need to explain the importance of behavior.
Again with the example of losing weight, the person who eats healthy and goes to the gym four times a week will have much better results than a person who is lazy and eating junk right?
Our behavior eventually creates capabilities. When we do something we gain experience and knowledge which is translated to what we can and cannot do.
The capabilities level is our skills, abilities and everything we are able to do. Everything you have done until that day, over time, created capabilities.
Over time behaviors create capabilities. The person who trained and ate healthy learned a skill set, he has more knowledge on nutrition, health, and physical exercise which allowed him to stay healthy and lose weight again if he would like to.
There's a big importance to capabilities in our life, every goal we have demands certain capabilities to achieve. The capabilities we have, effect what we believe in. If we know what possible for us we believe we can do it.
Beliefs & Values
The Beliefs & Values level is simply what we believe and think about the world and how it operates. Sometimes people like to reference it to our map or the internal representation.
In our lives, we formed beliefs about what possible or impossible, what moral and immoral, necessary or unnecessary and so on.
Those beliefs have a direct influence on our lives. If we believe that making a lot of money is materialistic and immoral, then we will have no motivation and it will prevent us from creating behaviors and capabilities which will allow us to do so.
We can see that our beliefs affect our capabilities and also our capabilities affect our beliefs, like I said at the beginning of the post, all the levels connect and affect each other.
The Identity level is our beliefs about ourselves. It's our self-esteem, your sense of self, what you think about yourself and who you think you are.
It can be your job, roles you take in life like husband or father, religion or descriptions of your self-worth. A man who is saying to himself "Im so fat and soo lazy", will have a hard time trying to change on the other levels because in his core he will always pull himself to verify the belief.
This is what we believe we are, the impact of those beliefs is huge! Every change on this level will automatically have an effect on all the other levels. Most of the successful people identified themselves as successful, entrepreneurs and businessman before they gained huge success.
A change on this level will automatically create new beliefs which will create more capabilities which will create more behaviors...
The Vision level is our belief of what is our "purpose" or "mission", not all of us have a vision and for sure not all of us need them but the vision is the most powerful influence on our lives!
For what or for who you are doing everything?
I am sure you saw religious people who believe that the word has to be spread and they dedicate their life to it.
Or maybe a vegan which decided that every person eating meat is a murderer and dedicate his life to be a warrior protecting the animals.
Those examples are a bit negative and extreme but a vision can also be positive. A president who wants to change the world and find a way for his people to live a good life is an example of a positive vision.
A change in this level is the most powerful and impactful and once someone changes or adopt a new vision, his whole life will change dramatically! Although a change in the higher levels is more unlikely and on this level is very rare.
Identify the level of the problem
Let's say that we want more wealth but our bank account is no very happy. We need to go over the levels and see where we are standing.
We will have to start asking ourselves questions to direct us to the level of the problem. Maybe the place where we stay is not fit for our goal, maybe the people around us do not have a positive influence on us?
No? go to the next step, what do you do? Have you the behavior of a successful person? maybe you spend too much or maybe you don't work hard enough or in the right job? what can you do?
And you keep pushing yourself to the next level to see where the problem resides. Whether it's your behaviors, capabilities or you just don't believe in yourself. Once you Identify where the problem is, you can work with the other levels to change it!
It's most effective when you do it with another person who asks you the questions because he could give you more feedback, we aren't always aware of everything and another person looking at thing is another insight.