NLP, otherwise known as Neuro Linguistic Programming, encompasses the three most fundamental elements in how you interpret everything around you, collectively called the "human experience."  Neuro or neurology, is the system that regulates your body's functions.  From your heart rate, breathing, sleeping, etc.  Linguistic or Language is how people interact with one another and with ourselves.  Programming determines how our mind maps the world around us and how we identify and understand things.  This system breaks down the fundamental connections and interactions between your mind (neuro), your language (linguistic), and your behavior (programming) and how each affects our responses to the world. 

Richard Bandler, Co-Founder of NLP, A very short introduction to NLP
-Source, NLP Training Academy, Video Archives

All of NLP is founded on two simple beliefs:

  1. The Map is Not the Territory.  As human beings, our reality is our reality and no one but you understands your reality.  With all of the empirical proof of modern day there are still those who believe the world is flat.  Again, your reality is yours and yours alone.  The only thing we know is our own perception of reality.  We experience and respond to the world around us primarily through five of our sensory systems.  Sight or visual, sound or auditory, somatic sensation or touch, gustatory or taste, olfactory or smell.  This is what generates our "neuro-linguistic" map of reality.  This reality is what determines how we behave and what gives these behaviors meaning, it's not reality itself.  Because of this, it is generally not "reality" that limits or empowers us, but rather our map of reality which stops us.  
  2. Life and 'Mind' are Systemic Processes. Everything that happens around you, or "the processes" that take place, and your interactions are systemic.  Our bodies, our groups and communities, and our reality form an ecology of complex systems and sub-systems, all of which interact with and mutually influence one another.  Physically, it is not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest of the system.  All of these systems are based on certain "self-organizing" principles and naturally seek optimal states of balance. 

Understanding that the map is not the territory and that life and mind are systemic processes NLP gives us a system to change the way we see the map which adjusts our behaviors and our interactions with our reality.  The models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of the two principles in a way to influence the mind and body.  Wisdom, morals, ethics, and ecology do not derive from having the "right map of the world" because as human beings we're not capable of making one.  The goal of NLP is to create the richest personal map possible, which respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves and the world we live in.  The people who are most effective are not the smartest or have the deepest pockets, they are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and view things through multiple perspectives.  NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have, increasing the perceived choices available, and influencing them in the world around you.  Excellence comes from having many choices.  Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.