Central to NLP strategies is the TOTE model. TOTE stands for Test Operation Test Exit. It is a basic model from cybernetics that shows how to control man and machine. The first Test is to check whether it makes sense to start the Operation (any procedure). The second Test is to check whether the Operation has succeeded in outputting what we want. If not this data is passed back to the Operation. This is called feedback. All feedback is negative in the sense that it notifies the Operation that the output is wrong.

Only when the output is right we get an Exit, i.e. the Operation is done and control is passed on to another Operation. Most people think that there is something called positive feedback. This idea is wrong as all feedback is negative. You can however present feedback more positively by combining it with praise and compliments. Also, sometimes people want to praise good output and have the Exit accompanied with a compliment. There is no need for this, but there is also nothing wrong with it.

It shows both subtle and noble self-control when you reserve your praise (assuming you want to give praise at all) for things you disagree with: – otherwise you would certainly be praising yourself, which offends good taste. Of course, this type of self-control offers people a handy opportunity and excuse for constantly misunderstanding you. In order to allow yourself this real luxury of taste and morality, you cannot live with fools of the spirit; you have to live among people whose misunderstandings and mistakes are subtle, and for that reason still amusing – or else you will have to pay dearly for it! – “He praises me: that’s why he agrees with me” – this asinine inference ruins the better part of life for us hermits, because it brings asses into our neighborhood and friendship.

Beyond Good & Evil paragraph 283