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Can you really Transform in one day?

January 10th, 2015

Vector Transformation. Broken text

 

…we’ll, it depends.

 

A friend asked me this question the other day – can you really transform someone’s life in a single day? Surely the short time frame makes this impossible…

 

Compared to a whole life time of living in a particular way what can one day do? Surely making a transformational difference to your life takes time, effort, blood, sweat and tears?

 

Surely change is an arduous affair full of highs, lows, setbacks and failures, taking place over a tremendously long period of time?

 

You know what? Creating considerable and transformational change in your life does take time. I don’t care what any self improvement book or course tells you, creating a significant difference in your life to the extent where you can start to see, live and experience the fruits of your labour does not happen in a day; it happens over a considerable period of time. As the old, clichéd saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.

 

If you have goals, dreams, a mission or just ‘cool stuff you’d like to do’ then it will undoubtedly require energy, effort, learning and a good deal of persistence to make in roads and to start seeing the results of your efforts.

 

If your definition of personal transformation involves seeing and experiencing the physical manifestations of your goals then it doesn’t happen in a day; it takes time.

 

This isn’t the only definition of personal transformation though. There’s another way to look at the process that, in my opinion, makes ‘single day transformation’ absolutely possible.

 

At the simplest and most basic level, personal transformation isn’t really about achieving goals, increasing wealth or creating the life of your dreams.

 

At the simplest and most basic level, personal transformation is about experiencing some kind of significant internal shift.

 

It annoys me a little that transformation often gets equated with living a life of external abundance; creating a life rich with achievements like career advancement, financial wealth or elevated status. These are often some of the ‘fruits of transformation’ and obviously nice to have, but they’re not the transformation itself. That happens much earlier on the inside.

 

The process of Personal transformation doesn’t start with external achievements or taking massive action, it starts with an idea; an idea that takes shape, gathers momentum, and then eventually presents itself to the world in all its glory.

 

Perhaps it’s as simple as a sudden realisation that you can be more than you currently are; that your potential as a human being does, in fact, stretch much further than you initially thought.

 

Maybe it’s an innovative business idea, or a revelation about life that could have a significant impact on your levels of happiness and fulfilment.

 

Or perhaps it’s just a reaffirming of your own values and principles: the things in life that are most important to you.

 

In a world of hype and exaggeration it might seem like personal transformation is all about big external achievements but, at its heart, I think it’s really about experiencing a memorable shift in the way you think and feel; one that stirs on the inside and pesters you to take action. This, for me, is real personal transformation.

 

Can this be done in a day?

 

Absolutely…

 

Find out for yourself on February 7th….

 

For more info on the NLP Personal Transformation day taking place on Feb 7th in Central Glasgow, check out the link below:

 

NLP Personal Transformation Day February 7th, 2015

 

All the Best

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

The Magic of Hypnosis…

November 2nd, 2014

retro-hypnosis

 

Imagine a space of infinite creativity and potential…

A place where something that would normally have a fixed meaning can suddenly mean multiple different things, sometimes even contradictory, all at the same time…

A place where you can access a colossal reservoir of imagination, choice and resources. A place where you become open to consider and take on new ideas and then integrate these new ideas into your day to day life….

A place where you can take challenges or problems and very quickly shed new light on them…

As you imagine this space i’d like you to put a label on it…The label is called ‘Trance’.

 

One of the reasons I first got involved in NLP over 15 years ago was because I was utterly fascinated by hypnosis. The mystic surrounding it, its therapeutic uses and the unbelievable things that stage hypnotists could seemingly do captured my imagination like few other things could.

 

Then, when I started learning about all the amazingly useful things NLP can do, it’s not that I lost interest in the subject, it’s just my attention got redirected to something I found equally fascinating.

 

I still used hypnotic trance with clients (and willing friends & family!) but my first port of call for personal change was generally NLP and the many techniques it had to offer.

 

It wasn’t until a few years when we started running our ‘Art of hypnosis’ weekend course that my passion for hypnosis was rekindled. Then, after attending a four day hypnosis supervision course with one of the world’s most skilled hypnotists, my passion for the subject turned from a kindle to a burning, roaring flame.

 

For me, nowadays I’d say that hypnosis (when done well) has to be one of the most powerful tools for problem resolution, personal change and self development we have available.

 

It allows us to go to places we would normally struggle to go when we are being all conscious and analytical.

 

It makes it possible for us to capture and lead people’s imagination and affect them in ways that we simply couldn’t if they were in the normal waking state. It allows us to explore solutions to long existing problems and help others to do likewise within a safe and structured framework.

 

Quite simply, it’s awesomely cool, awesomely useful and awesomely powerful.

 

A few questions that you tend to get ask quite regularly when you tell people you use hypnosis (out with, ‘can you make Darren dance like a chicken?’) are –

 

What actually is trance? How does it really work? And what makes it so powerful?

 

I used to try and waffle round these questions with descriptions of everyday trance experiences and explanations of bypassing critical faculties but now I just pretty much repeat the opening paragraph of this post:-

 

Imagine a space of infinite creativity and potential…A place where….Well, you know the words, you’ve only recently just read them :-)

 

Going into trance can feel like a wonderfully relaxed, waking dream…

 

One where you are skilfully guided and supported as you explore the incredible potential of your mind within safe, secure boundaries…

 

One where you can become absorbed in the exploration of finding new solutions to problems that previously appeared fixed and rigid…

 

Going into trance can connect us more fully to the experience of life in a way not unlike the way we used to when we were kids. When kids play with abandonment and allow their imaginations to run wild they are most definitely in trance.

 

They might have their eyes open but they are most certainly entranced, absorbed and deeply connected with the experience of life.

 

They aren’t analysing whether what they are doing is right or wrong they are just connecting with their deep reservoir of creativity and allowing things to flow…

 

Hypnotic trance is very much like this…

 

So it doesn’t really matter if, while you’ve been reading this post, you have found yourself comfortably slipping into a deep state of light trance or a light state of deep trance because i know that you’ll be absolutely right when you allow a feeling of curiosity to emerge from somewhere deep inside…

 

A feeling of curiosity as to where your journey into trance could potentially take you…

 

A feeling of curiosity as to what kinds of things you’d like to change, develop or refine if you were to learn fully how to step into this deeply powerful place…

 

…and, if that curiosity continues to grow, then feel free…to check out our last seminar of the year:

 

The Art of Hypnosis taking place in the Marriott hotel, Glasgow on the 22nd, 23rd of November.

 

For more info click on the link below:

 

The Art of Hypnosis – Making powerful shifts through Trance – 22nd, 23rd November. 

 

We very much look forward to seeing there…Trance faces at the ready :-)

 

All the best

Steve

 

There’s life in the old dog yet…

September 28th, 2014

olddog

 

You know what? I just decided the other day that I really hate the phrase “Back in the day”.

 

On a recent night out with old school friends we started, as we often do, reminiscing about the past. One of my closer friends that I’ve known for close to 3 decades started entertaining us with stories about the various shenanigans we used to get up to. He kept on starting each story the same way, using the phrase “Back in the day”

 

I’m sure you know the line and may have used it yourself… “Back in the day when we used to <fill in the blank with something you used to do when you were young> etc”.

 

I don’t know about you but every time I hear someone use that line I get a sudden jolt of anxiety. I know for many it’s just a turn of phrase but the thought that instantly goes through my mind is

 

“Today is the day! Not some time 15 years ago!”

 

Whenever I hear one of my friends use the phrase ‘back in the day’ I always feel that the silent implication is that our best years are behind us. That just because we are rapidly heading towards 40, some of us are going bald, some are going grey and some are going bald and grey that we no longer have the ability to be as engaged and connected with life as we used to.

 

I hate this implication. I also find it to be mostly untrue. So many things in life get better with age. As we gain life experience and our mind develops over time we open up the potential to appreciate layers of pleasure and meaning that we simply couldn’t see when we were young.

 

I remember the first time I went to see the film ‘Pulp Fiction’. I was 19 and I hated it. I just didn’t get it.  I’d heard all the reviews and acclaims of creative brilliance but the only thing that surprised me as I walked out of the cinema was how boring and pointless I thought it was.

 

The scenes were too long, there was too much talking and it didn’t even appear to have a coherent structure. John Travolta gets shot dead half way through the film and then miraculously appears in another scene right after it! I had absolutely no idea what the heck was going on!

 

It wasn’t until years later when I watched it for a second time that I realised the scenes weren’t meant to be shown in chronological order and the film did actually have a very deliberate and quite innovative structure. As I watched it through older and wiser eyes I suddenly appreciated the brilliance of the film. The acting, the dialogue and the quirky atmosphere Tarintino had created, it was utterly absorbing. Why on earth hadn’t I noticed it the first time around? Why hadn’t I saw and appreciated the genius?

 

The reality was the genius had always been there, it had always been a brilliant film…I just needed to age a bit to see it.

 

I don’t think we’ll ever gain a full appreciation of everything life has to offer but I’m pretty sure more layers of pleasure and meaning become available the older and wiser we get. As we become more ‘experienced’ we start to see layers of appreciation we couldn’t see through younger eyes.

 

It’s not just with films but with most things we do. If we are open and willing to look deeper then there will always be greater depths of enjoyment and fulfilment to find. There will always be more to see, learn, explore and experience, in both our current activities and the things we are yet to do.

 

If we start buying into the illusion that we are past our prime, in decay and that ‘today’ is no longer ‘our day’ though, then we start to close ourselves off to these layers. We’re on, as many pre-retirees, say ‘the run down’. We might as well pop into a pair of slippers, grab a cup of Ovaltine and start watching re-runs of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Cocoon’.

 

There will obviously come a time when our body is failing and our mind is nowhere near what it used to be but let’s not speed it up on purpose shall we?

 

That’s why I really don’t like the phrase ‘Back in the day’. Sure, it’s great to reminisce about past pleasant times and it’s wonderful to share memories with friends but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to start believing that ‘our day’ has gone.

 

Today is the day! And now that we are a day wiser, it’s got the potential to be even better than yesterday.

 

 

All the best

Steve

 

The Drama of Scottish Independence…

September 13th, 2014

 

Scottish-Flag-1

 

So….Scottish Independence…Don’t you just love it eh? The two words guaranteed to initiate an argument no matter where you go in the UK. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the house! Just log into Facebook and join one of the many heated cyber space debates. Nothing gets the blood pumping faster than having an internet argument with a complete and utter stranger over your computer screen.

 

Never in my life have I known such drama in Scotland, never have I seen us being pushed so much into the limelight. The whole thing has certainly captured the imagination of not just Scotland and the UK but further afield throughout the globe. What the heck is going to happen? It’s all too close to call really…One thing’s for sure, both sides are most certainly going to some unbelievable lengths to convince you to vote their way.

 

Now…Just to be clear, this is not a post asking ‘Which side you are voting for?’ and it’s not a passionate plea to try and get you to vote the way I’m going to vote.

 

What it is about is an observation regarding one of the basic psychological principles that’s being used very cleverly by both sides to influence and manipulate your vote and how you can de-sensitize yourself a little from it and make a clearer decision.

 

On one side we have ‘operation impending apocalypse’ (otherwise known as ‘the Better together’ campaign). If we vote ‘Yes’ then obviously the largest swarm of plague infested locusts ever to be known in the history of human kind will instantly descend upon Scotland and attack you and your family. All the businesses will leave, the country will instantly go into recession and we’ll experience apocalyptic doom all before breakfast of the 19th of September.

 

I’m exaggerating obviously but the picture painted by the Better together campaign is ridiculously bleak. It’s designed pure and simple with a couple of aims in mind – To shatter the confidence you have in your own country’s ability to manage and scare the utter and absolute beejeezus out of you.

 

The Labour leader in Scotland even went as far as to say that Scottish people are to quote “not genetically programmed to make political decisions” (and she is Scottish by the way). I’m guessing that was a bit of an unfortunate slip of the tongue but it certainly shows you how far the BT campaign are willing to go to create the idea that apocalypse and evolutionary death of the Scots clearly awaits following a ‘Yes’ vote.

 

Sure there are some facts and figures thrown in for good measure and a bit of emphasis on the alleged extra powers we’ll get but their campaign has largely been all about creating the idea of massive potential future pain…All, of course, avoidable if you vote ‘No’.

 

On the other side we have ‘operation utopia’ (otherwise known as the ‘Yes’ campaign). If we are to completely believe Alex Salmond then, by voting ‘Yes’, we are well on our way to becoming some kind of cash rich, independent super power. All of Europe…no, all of the world! will bow down to our superiority, foreign countries will look on in envy at our massive cash reserves created through Oil and Gas and pretty soon we’ll become like the Nordic banking equivalent of Switzerland. We’ll live in a fairer society where we look after the sick and the elderly while at the same time dropping corporation tax and attracting the world’s most successful businesses.

 

All of this will also happen seamlessly, with no teething problems what so ever and without any kind of ‘bedding in’ period. Utopia awaits…For us, our children and our children’s children. All of this, of course, can be instantly acquired simply by voting ‘Yes’.

 

If the ‘BT’ campaign’s preferred method of influence is fear and potential pain then the ‘Yes’ campaign’s is more about potential pleasure. They have done everything they can to build a positive vision of how they imagine it might be. Sure, they have thrown a bit of potential pain in the mix as well by mentioning ‘Trident’, Tory governments and the alleged potential privatisation of the NHS but their main method of persuasion has been more about creating the idea of potential future pleasure.

 

Like the BT campaign though their vision  isn’t entirely realistic. It’s based on future predictions, elements of truth with a massive dollop of artistic license thrown in for good measure.

 

What we end up with is essentially a battle between two massively exaggerated visions – One of potential locust eaten pain and another of potential utopian pleasure.

 

On one hand we’ll have people who will vote ‘No’ because they believe the vision of impending doom (or at least bits of it) and want to move away from this potential pain and on the other hand we’ll have people who vote ‘Yes’ because they are inspired by and identify with the positive vision of pleasure and want to move towards it.

 

It’s obviously not as simple as this for everyone. Lots of people will vote ‘No’ because they feel a strong positive affinity with the union, lots of people will vote ‘Yes’ because they don’t like the Tories, many people will sit down and examine the cold facts and make as rational a decision as they possibly can and there will be many other variations in between. These things obviously have many complexities but at the heart of the methods used by of each side to influence you are the basic principles of pain and pleasure.

 

The bizarre thing is, most likely neither of the two visions are true. The truth most likely exists somewhere in between the two. I’m under no illusions that we’ll become some kind of cash rich, independent super power with low taxes but I do believe we have a lot going for us as a country and have the potential to make things better and more in-line with our cultural ideals.

 

I don’t believe for a minute many of the scenarios painted by the ‘BT’ campaign will come to fruition but I do think that, if we become independent, there WILL be big teething problems. It will most likely take quite a few years to make significant improvement and progress and there will be problems and troubles on the way.

 

No-one can predict the future but usually things fall somewhere between the two dramatic extremes. Which one it will eventually sit closer to, I guess is the real question we want to be asking ourselves.

 

So I’d suggest, if you want to de-sensitize yourself a little from the potential plague infested locusts and the mesmerizing vision of blissful utopia and make a clearer decision, then step away from the two dramatic extremes. Take a deep breath, let go of all the intense drama for a moment and make an assessment based on as much information as you can find.

 

You can still listen to your heart (in fact it’ll probably be impossible not to) but I do think this is a decision to be made with both the head and the heart and not just one or the other. Most of us know what our heart feels and the two campaigns are certainly doing their best to manipulate this but we also need to step away from the drama for a while to figure out what our head thinks.

 

When we blend both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ together that’s when we start to make decisions that are both rational and ones that fit with our personality and experience. By doing this we increase our chances of making a much more informed decision that also feels right.

 

It’s a tough one that’s for sure, but it’s important, and one that could potentially send ripples through the world.

 

All the best with it…I’ll see you on the other side!

 

All the best

 

Steve

 

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

June 11th, 2014

 

She burst into tears. I replied “Interesting!”.

 

Have you ever considered how liberating it would be to not get involved in any emotional drama…especially your own!?

 

Here’s my version of the drama process; an emotion happens because of something daft e.g. trains, work, relationship, money whatever. A wee voice inside our heads starts asking over and over again something along the lines of ‘Why me? Why does this always happen to me?’.

 

This begins to turn the volume up on the emotion at ever increasing rates and, before we know which way is up, we are wrapped up in an emotional drama which, of course, only serves to make the emotion worse, the voice louder and the drama complete! Sound familiar?

 

One concept I remember being taught a long time ago, by an excellent Yoga teacher, was the concept of witness consciousness; the understanding that the dramas of the physical world, both positive and negative, were not who you are. You are more than all of this and if you could meditate and connect enough with ‘spirit’, or whatever you personally call it, you could attain a state of witness consciousness, realise that ‘life’ as we know it is a transient phase of your existence and, therefore, you could watch your physical life unfold before you without ever getting involved in any drama.

 

Why would you, the dramas are mind stuff and the mind isn’t who or what you are?

 

It doesn’t fit me to take it quite that far but that doesn’t change the fact I loved the concept then, I still love it now and I’ve worked with it ever since albeit I’ve twisted it a bit.

 

So let me ask you, what would happen if you became a witness to your own thoughts? What would happen if, rather than losing yourself in your daily dramas, you stepped back as they began and just witnessed their emotional roots from a position of curiosity, like an emotional David Attenborough, fascinated by the curious behaviour of the creature that is you. What would Sir David say if his next epic programme was all about you?

 

The word ‘interesting’ is one of my favourite words and its one I use with myself and my clients all the time because, in my book, it’s a word of a witness. You see when I help someone hit an emotion, either positive or negative, it means we’ve discovered something together, maybe we’ve found something new, maybe it’s something old but I know we’ve discovered something! Now the fun is finding out what it is and how to make it do what we want!

 

So here’s a wee task for you tomorrow, or tonight if you still have time to fit in a drama before bed (if you’re in one just now even better!), feel what you feel as it starts, inside your mind step back from letting it consume you or acting on it (that doesn’t mean the feeling will go away, just you’re doing nothing with it) and just witness it. Watch it, see what it does. Don’t ask ‘why me?’, ask ‘why do that? What does it achieve?’.

 

One thing the great Sir David would think if he was studying the average person today? He’d be fascinated why, at times, they put so much energy into things they can’t change and so little into the things they can. But it wouldn’t bother him. He’d just think it was interesting.

 

After all, he’s only a witness. It’s not his drama.

 

Brian

 

Have you ever been bitten by a wolf?

June 2nd, 2014

 

I finally got round to watching Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf on Wall Street’ the other week. I loved the film and thought Dicaprio was amazing as the conniving stockbroker Jordan Belford but I couldn’t stop myself from feeling more than slightly unsettled by the story. It wasn’t so much the glorification of debauchery, drink and drug taking it’s been criticised for that bothered me it was more the devastating demonstration of how unethical influence can negatively impact on people’s lives.

 

There are certainly lots of people using their power, status and skills to do amazing things and contribute positively to people’s lives but there are also plenty of wolf’s out there looking to get as much as they can from you with little sense of morals or empathy.

 

I think the film acts as a very entertaining warning to those frantically chasing wealth and ‘the good life’ and as a lesson to those easily persuaded by charlatans and shysters. I do think you have to allow yourself to be influenced in life but I also think holding a healthy amount of scepticism is always a good thing.

 

So just how do you recognise a Wolf? How can you tell that someone is out to manipulate you without much care for your well being?

 

Well, it can certainly be tricky. Chances are they’ve been a wolf for a long time so they’ve became highly skilled at covering their tracks.

 

There are a few telling signs though. Here are some I’ve noticed over the years:

 

 

Excessive use of status…

I don’t think we realise or like to admit how much a person’s ‘status’ can silently but powerfully influence us. The higher your status the greater the level of default influence you will naturally possess before you even say a word.

 

It doesn’t mean you’ll have influence over everyone, some people are naturally suspicious of those with high status but, in general, your words will mean more than someone who is perceived to be of lower value and status. Every social, work and business group has its own ‘ladder of hierarchy’ and those at the top possess the most default power and with that power comes responsibility.

 

I think it’s perfectly okay to use the power of your position if your intention is to genuinely add value to people’s lives and you do have some substance behind the spin but if you find that someone frequently ‘milks’ their status then it could be time to take a reality check.

 

Ask yourself – If this was Joe Bloggs off the street and they were saying the same thing would it be good advice? When you strip away their status what’s left? Is there any substance or is what they’re saying mostly spin and smokescreens?

 

It’s amazing what status can make us believe and do so it’s well worth taking a glimpse of the situation as if it wasn’t there.

 

 

Blatant dishonest attempts to elevate their status…

 

If a wolf is using status to create the illusion of power and influence they may also employ the tactic of making blatant dishonest attempts to elevate their status in the eyes of their peers. Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with elevating your status but to do it with less than honourable intentions and blatant dishonesty is inexcusable and a likely sign you’re in the presence of a wolf.

 

If, for example, someone updated their Facebook status saying they had ‘Just landed in New York and about to meet Richard Branson for Coffee’ when in actual fact they’re doing a work out in a gym in Glasgow this would be a blatant dishonest attempt to elevate their status to gain more power over their peers.

 

I’m exaggerating a bit with the post but it’s not far from the truth! :-) There are many more subtle examples of attempting to elevate status dishonestly and I think it’s only good sense to be even more wary than you normally would of those in ‘apparently’ high profile positions.

 

Are they really that successful or is it mostly smoke and mirrors and they actually live in a council flat? (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living in a council flat btw but it’s a bit suspicious if you do while giving off the image of being rich, famous and successful)

 

If status is the means a wolf uses to increase their illusionary power over people so as to achieve their intentions then there’s a good chance they’ll employ dishonest tricks to try and elevate it. Be wary and always question their claims with healthy scepticism.

 

 

Continually painting False Blue skies…

 

We all occasionally make promises we don’t deliver. In an idea world it’s good to always over deliver but sometimes people make bad calls or external factors get in the road. That’s part of life but if someone is frequently painting exciting blue skies that don’t materialize then it’s time to sit up and take notice.

 

One particular wolfish tactic is to offer a huge carrot (something the person would love to have happen), get something in reciprocation only for the big carrot to then not materialize due to apparently ‘unavoidable circumstances’.

 

This is also called a ‘bait and switch’. Perhaps you’ll get something out of it but it’ll be nowhere near as useful and big as what they got from you. You might even convince yourself afterwards that you hadn’t been swindled but the truth is you’ve just been bitten by the wolf.

 

 

Believing people to be a means to an end…

 

In truth this can often be the case. We all use each other to a certain extent and most relationships are ones of a reciprocal nature to a certain degree. The wolf takes this further to the point where people are really just a means to an end with ‘the end’ usually being their gain.

 

If you find that someone has a distinct lack of empathy and pleasure for human contact that doesn’t involve personal gain then it’s worth taking note. Do they like you for who you are? Or just what they can get from you? If it’s the later then you could be in the presence of a wolf.

 

This Wolfy intention can often be hidden in the early stages.  There’s a good chance they’ll be charming and interested when there is the potential for something to be gained from you but once they have it, they’ll usually lose interest very quickly.

 

 

Positioning themselves as the opposite of what they could be criticized for…

 

Out with fuelling their own selfish needs, one of the prime concerns for a wolf is being detected. If their less than honourable intentions become noticed then the game is up…or at least the game is up until they find someone else to play.

 

One of the classic ways a wolf avoids detection is to position themselves as the opposite of what they could be criticised for. If, for example, they are worried people may suspect that their integrity is in question they might go on about how important ‘honesty’ is to them. By assumption the unsuspecting sheep is a lot more likely to accept that the wolf is also honest because they value honesty in others.

 

By the way, in case you’re wondering...Jordan Belford, one of the most widely publicised dishonest stockbrokers and unethical influencers is now a motivational speaker selling……..wait for it……an ETHICAL PERSUASION PROGRAMME!

 

I don’t know about you but that simply blows my mind.

 

To protect yourself don’t always assume that what someone values in other people is necessarily what they themselves value. They could be just doing it to trick you. Also don’t assume that because you value something (eg like honesty) that everyone else also values it. You’ll be playing right into the wolf’s hands.

 

So above all, I would say allow yourself to be influenced but do question things with a healthy scepticism. Being a cynic is of very little use but there is a lot of value in screening people to make sure their intentions are honest and positive. There are lots of great things out there but every now and again you will encounter a wolf…Hopefully you’ll now be ready for them :-)

 

All the best

 

Steve

 

 

How do you like your Change – Fast or Slow?

May 12th, 2014

 

At the end of our recent NLP Practitioner course one of our students asked a wonderfully crafted question. I can’t remember it exactly but it went something like this –

 

 

If you were to cast your mind back to when you were on your first NLP course assuming you had the knowledge and experience you have now, what advice would you give that ‘younger you’ to help them as they embarked on their journey as an NLP Practitioner?

 

 

Apart from the fact that it put me in a seriously DEEP state of trance! I thought it was a terrific question.

 

On further reflection I think the following advice is what I would give. (I also think it’s useful advice for people who have a casual interest in NLP but have not yet done an NLP Practitioner course)

 

The advice is this —

 

 

Change doesn’t always HAVE to happen fast!

 

 

There’s a bit of a myth in the NLP world that some people seem to have bought into that change HAS to be super fast or NOT AT ALL. Almost like a boom or bust, black and white kind of mentality.

 

Now don’t get me wrong here, I love and believe in fast change and think it firmly has a place in NLP. Phobias can generally be overcome in about an hour and emotional issues can often be released in anything from one session to five depending on the person and situation. Fast, flashy change is great and one of the reasons why NLP attracts the huge attention it does.

 

Without negating the usefulness and validity of fast change, I personally think the most useful and powerful type of change is the gradual and more sustainable one you make over a longer period of time. For me, who you become over a matter of months and years as a result of deepening your NLP skill and applying the tools and techniques to your life on a continual basis absolutely kicks the ass out of fast change any day.

 

I found out recently that in pretty much every culture there’s a variation of ‘The story of the fast and the slow’, ours in the UK being that of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’.

 

The moral is of course that in life there can often be two types of people. Those who sprint off in a blaze of glory stealing all the limelight and those who take their time, not appearing to be doing much at the micro level, but in the grand scheme of things making steady consistent progress.

 

The former in the story, as we know, starts to believe in their own hype, rests on their laurels and eventually becomes complacent. The later continues to plod along making gradual but significant progress until, to everyone’s sudden surprise, overtakes the sprinter and finishes first in the race.

 

Stories like this aren’t just cute little parables that families all around the world tell their kids at night time. They are cultural memes that act as vehicles for passing on important and useful historical learnings. Story telling acts as a ‘time-binding’ function, helping pass on the learnings of the past to the next generation and the fact the story of the ‘The Fast and the Slow’ has been told for many generations across many different cultures suggest that there could be something important to learn from it.

 

I know we live in a time where people want things NOW! In fact sometimes YESTERDAY! But it’s simply not useful to invest so much of your energy into the concept that change HAS to be super fast or not at all. A far more useful approach is to look at where you want to head over a longer period of time and then make gradual but significant progress towards getting there. Sometimes you’ll get a big breakthrough and sometimes it’ll feel like change is taking a little longer. Sometimes you’ll want to make a quick, dramatic impact and sometimes you’ll find it works better to steadily work away at making more subtle improvements.

 

Hey sometimes it’s fun to be the hare for a while. To arrive in a blaze of glory, to show off and bedazzle. It’s exciting and dramatic but if that’s all you’re about then you’ll wake up one day and realize that there’s a whole bunch of tortoises staring back at you from the finishing line with contented smiles you can only pretend to have.

 

Making an instant impact is important but don’t forget the longer and ultimately more important game. Life is as they say – A marathon not a sprint.

 

All the best…

 

Steven Burns

 

 

What’s beyond your problem is most likely your truth…

April 7th, 2014

 

Imagine for a moment that you completely unlearned your biggest psychological problem. Might stretch your imagination a bit but just imagine that you clicked your fingers and ‘hey presto’ it was gone, exposed as an illusion, as if by magic.

 

If that was possible and you stepped into the space beyond, what do you think would naturally be there without you having to do a single thing?

 

Chances are you’d be massively relieved and just pleased that you don’t have to feel bad any more but once the dust had settled what would you notice to be there without you necessarily having to create something new?

 

A sense of peace, purity, happiness, freedom, pure potentiality perhaps?

 

It’s funny, we often think that we have to create positive alternatives to our problems from scratch – ‘Out with the old and in with the new’ so to speak. The assumption being that, when we change, we always have to create something new to put in the old problem’s place.

 

Well have you ever considered that there is already something special and pure sitting behind the problem, in the background, only you can’t see or experience it yet because you’re too pre-occupied with all the turbulence?

 

What if you were to go beyond and catch a glimpse? What if you stepped fully into it and then looked back at the problem…how do you think that might change things?

 

I know this probably sounds a little strange and possibly a bit esoteric but stop and fully consider it for a moment…

 

 

If your problem was to suddenly be exposed as an illusion and you stepped beyond, what would naturally be there without you having to create or do anything other than simply notice?

 

 

I think when you honestly do this you start to get an appreciation of your truth.

 

When I first learned NLP I was told that when you quote ‘remove’ a limitation you are left with a void that needs to be filled. If not then the client (or you) would be left confused and may end up falling back into their old ways of thinking.

 

Unless you strongly suggest this to them then I don’t think this is what actually happens when we resolve a problem. I think, in the absence of the problem, something pure exists behind and it’s more a case of ‘unblocking’ things to allow the natural energy and emotion to flow.

 

That change is often more a case of ‘unlearning the not so useful stuff’ so that we can ‘re-tune into’ our natural sense of pure potentiality rather than ‘removing limitations’ and ‘installing new stuff’.

 

Sure, sometimes we need new strategies and learning brand new ways of looking at ourselves and the world is an essentially part of being Human but to suggest that change is always about creating something entirely new is a bit of an insult to human nature.

 

It’s a bit of a trick of the left hemisphere really, creating a kind of narrow focus, spotlight type thinking that stops us from having an appreciation of the layers behind.

 

It operates from the utterly false assumption that we are born as complete blank slates and that without our ‘learnings’ our ability to experience the world would completely collapse. It’s just not the case and there is plenty of beauty naturally there that we start to re-connect with in the absence of our problems.

 

I remember talking to a Yoga teacher who told me that, throughout his training as his body gradually returned to something resembling its default form, he started to experience pure, positive emotions he hadn’t felt since he was a child. He wasn’t even really doing anything other than getting his body back into a healthy place, human nature did the rest.

 

There’s something about the process of unblocking the body that allows you to experience a once felt purity that you perhaps haven’t felt for some time and I think a similar thing happens with psychological change. When you resolve a big issue and then step beyond, it feels different but it also feels kind of familiar, like you’re recapturing some of the purity of what it felt like when you were a kid. At least that’s what it feels like for me and I know from talking to people that it’s also like that for many others.

 

So have a think about it again as you rarely get the full appreciation of it on first reflection –

 

 

If you snapped your fingers and suddenly realised that your deepest psychological issue (and we all have one!) was an illusion, what would naturally be there in its place without you having to create or do anything other than simply notice?

 

 

Because when you honestly step beyond into this place, what’s naturally already there is most likely your truth.

 

 

All the best

 

Steve

 

Do you see the world in HD?

November 14th, 2013

So I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for a long overdue eye test today and I am now the proud owner of a lovely pair of designer prescription specs. (I look super intelligent btw)

When I tried them on for the first time the words that instantly came to me were -

 

“Ahh, so this is how the world is meant to look!!”

 

My eye sight wasn’t that bad but seriously…it was like suddenly seeing the world in HD!

 

I spent at least 10 minutes staring at this tree in the picture. I couldn’t believe all the details I’d been missing and how beautiful it looked.

 

 

tree

 

 

It goes to show that you really don’t know what you’re missing until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it can be a bit like going for a massage to release a knot in your back. You don’t know how physically tight your body has been until you experience the release.

 

It’s the ‘Law of Familiarity’. When we’re in pain our body and mind finds a way to manage and cope with it and we sometimes start believing that’s the way it ‘should be’. Everyone has their burden to bear in life right?

 

It’s only when we resolve the pain and experience the relief and benefits that come with it that we realise how much we’ve actually been struggling and just ‘making do’.

 

I think it’s the same with psychological change work.

 

You don’t fully realise how much you’ve been struggling and ‘just getting by’ until you experience resolution.

 

You really don’t know what you’re missing out on until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it’s also relevant to your potential. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you let go of the things that hold you back.

 

So the question to ponder is this – What’s the thing you ‘manage’ or ‘just make do with’ and what steps do you need to take to start making it better?

 

Perhaps it’s a physical thing you’ve been dealing with, perhaps it’s psychological or maybe both…

 

Perhaps there’s a quick simple solution to it or maybe you have a journey of healing ahead of you. Whatever it is, now is the time to start.

 

If you’re already on that path, what’s the next step? The journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step and then continues with the next one. What’s the next step for you that will make the biggest difference?

 

Think about it…

 

What do you need to do to start seeing the way the world is meant to look? To start seeing it in HD again…

 

Take Care
Steve

 

Top 3 Myths of Hypnosis

October 15th, 2013

 

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes…and sleep! You are now under my complete control and will do everything I say…

 

It’s funny how, when you ask people about their opinion on hypnosis, you get a lot of responses that are close to or in some way related to this.

 

I first trained as a hypnotherapist when I was 22 and ever since then, when I’ve told people about it, I’ve had some pretty weird looks and often some even weirder questions.

 

The all time most popular question from the men (usually asked in a kind of ‘half joking, half serious way’) has to be: “Can you use hypnosis to get girls into bed?!” Closely followed by a genuine request to ‘Make Darren dance like a chicken’ (Act like a tumble drier is one of the stranger ones)

 

My female friends tend to ask a lot more intelligent questions…Usually ones involving the practical applications like relaxation, weight loss and confidence while remarking how fascinating a subject it is.

 

However, I did get asked by one woman at a party if I had ‘brought my watch with me’because she would ‘love it if I made her stop eating!’ I said I could but asked if she realized that stopping eating would in fact lead eventually to death!”

 

She looked at me kind of strangely and re-stated with complete conviction that she really needed to stop and I had free reign do my ‘voodoo magic’ on her…

 

I think the general perception of hypnosis has improved a lot over the years but there are still lots of misconceptions about what it actually is and how it works. Stage hypnosis certainly doesn’t help but I think it would be a bit rich to criticize given that the high level of intrigue surrounding it is probably one of the biggest factors in making hypnosis so widely recognised.

 

It does lead to a lot of misinterpretations about hypnosis though that can sometimes get in the way when you are either working with a client or training people how to use it.

 

Here are what I consider to be the 3 main myths of Hypnosis and hypnotic trance. Hopefully it will clear things up a bit and help give you a better understanding into what is, in my opinion,  one of the most useful therapeutic and personal development tools we have available.

 

 

Myth number 1 – When you are in a hypnotic trance you are zapped, zonked out or in some weird unnatural state.

 

This is a favourite…That idea that when you are hypnotised you ‘get put under’ and that you are in some weird, zonked out state of mind as if your brain has been stopped in some way. The truth is hypnosis can feel a little strange (in a very pleasant way) but it is by no means unnatural.

 

Hypnotic trance is a perfectly natural state that we go in and out of at various different times of the day. It can often be like a ‘deep daydream’ or similar to the feeling you get when you becoming so absorbed in what you’re doing (like reading a book, watching a movie or playing a video game). An hour can go past and it feels like it’s only been ten minutes, people can walk past you and you don’t notice them and the world around you can almost feel like it’s disappeared because you’re so engaged in what you were doing.

 

There are lots of different examples of ‘naturally occurring’ trances we experience on a day to day basis. For example, have you ever driven your car on a routine destination (perhaps to your work) and then, when you arrive, you can’t fully remember how you got there? You don’t consciously remember every turn, road sign and roundabout but you know you managed to navigate the journey safely. Perhaps you kind of went into auto pilot or maybe even a little daydream while at the same time feeling comfortable that you didn’t have to have your full conscious attention on the road. We all experience this from time to time, sometimes everyday and it’s a common example of when we drop into a hypnotic trance.

 

A more comical example is the ‘elevator trance’ (one that I frequently succumb to). You step into an elevator, punch in your floor number and patiently wait for your destination to arrive…The doors open and you walk out only to notice that you are, in fact, on the wrong floor! The turn back round with your tail between your legs (while checking to see if anyone noticed) and head back in the lift.

 

It’s an understandable opinion that hypnosis is a weird, unnatural state of mind but it is utterly misinformed and untrue. It’s a perfectly natural, enjoyable and useful state of mind that we all go into at various times of the day and the hypnotist’s job is to guide the person into this state of mind, deepen it and then put forward suggestions so that they get the changes they want.

 

Myth number 2 – The hypnotist had complete control and can get you to do things you don’t want to do.

Again this is a common myth that can often concern people when you mention hypnosis and one that is definitely born from stage hypnosis. Let me be clear about this…hypnosis is very powerful and can most definitely influence people to change deeply held emotions, behaviours and mind sets. However, the power it has is held by the hypnotic subject rather than the hypnotist.

 

There’s that phrase we often use that ‘there is no such thing as hypnosis only guided self hypnosis’ which is very accurate about what really goes in the trance process. As a hypnotist you are a guide that helps the hypnotic subject through an exploration of their own mind to find different ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

 

You may be thinking though - ‘Well that’s all fine and dandy but what about stage hypnosis?’ ‘Surely that gets people to do things they don’t want to do?!’ Well, I know it seems that way but the truth is a bit different. The hypnotic subjects know fine well what they are getting themselves into when they volunteer. They know it’s an entertainment show, a performance and that they are going to be asked to do things they wouldn’t normally do. By walking on the stage and volunteering they are essentially saying ‘I am okay with this’ at a subconsciously level and possibly a conscious one.

Stage hypnotists also go through something called a ‘selection process’ where they work their way down from a large number of volunteers to just a handful. This process is designed to highlight the ones who are highly suggestible and deep down feel the most comfortable with going along with pretty much everything the hypnotist says. There are also a lot of other psychological factors involved such as crowd psychology that add to what is already a very persuasive hypnotic environment.

 

The kind of hypnosis that is used on a one to one basis shares some similarities but is not the same.

 

Essentially the subject is the one who makes the shifts and changes and the hypnotist acts as a guide. The more skilful a guide you are the better a hypnotist you are…The trick is to weave your words in such a way that the person being hypnotized attaches their own meanings and reaches their own solutions as opposed to you ‘just telling them to do something’. It’s a highly skilled craft and can be truly mesmerizing to watch and listen to when it’s done well.

 

 

Myth number 3 – Not everyone can be hypnotized…

This one has probably been covered already indirectly but I think it still merits its own mention. I’m not exactly sure when and where this popular myth was created but I think it may have come from a time when the main style of hypnosis was ‘Authoritarian hypnosis’. This is where you are very direct about how you induce trance and give suggestions for changing behaviours, emotions and mind sets. This type of hypnosis can work with a small percentage of people and is certainly worth doing as part of the hypnotic process but if it’s the only approach you have then there will be a large number of people who will not respond. (Both in going in trance and making changes)

 

Modern day hypnosis is about utilizing the hypnotic subject’s experience of the world to guide them into trance and then allow them to explore further. It’s about recognising that trance is a naturally occurring state and that everyone goes in and out it at some point during the day. Given the discovery that trance is, in fact, not some weird unnatural state this myth should really be confined to the bin.

 

People are often a bit confused, however, after they are hypnotized as to whether they were in fact in trance. Some will even convince themselves that they weren’t because it didn’t feel that much different than relaxation, meditation or being in a daydream. This is more of a reflection on public perception of what trance is than the reality. Because trance is something we have all experienced then it does feel similar to experiences we have already had. That doesn’t make it any less useful though it just leads to people mistakenly jumping to the conclusion that they ‘ couldn’t get put under!’

 

For more information on hypnosis feel free to comment and/or get in touch. We’re always happy to chat about it. If you fancy learning hypnosis check out our weekend seminar that’s coming up soon:

 

The Art of Hypnosis Glasgow

 

Take care

Steven