First it was a 21 year old frat guy running around the crowd yelling “I’m a rock god!!!”
This was immediately followed by the 17 year old girl who ran over to him and made a Justin Bieber fangirl look tame.
Immediately three VERY awkward 20 somethings stood up covering their fully clothed bodies and started yelling at everyone around them to “stop looking at me!” (they thought they were naked).
Upon hearing the man on stage utter those words, a 14 year old girl grabbed the recently lit cigarette from the man next to her, stomped it out and started screaming “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”
Finally, to end it all, a random guy got down on one knee and proposed to the girl next to him, whom he’d never met.
Sounds like one extremely messed up dream right?
No actually it was just the hypnotist show I’d happened to stumble upon at the State Fair this past summer.
My Past Experience with Hypnosis
I’ll start out by saying that as skeptical as so many people are, I totally believe in hypnosis.
When I was at my day job, I was experiencing weird stress and anxiety for no apparent reason. Maybe it was because I was so desperate to leave, or didn’t know what to do, but I didn’t really know how to solve it – and the last thing I wanted were drugs or pills.
This is when I first discovered self-hypnosis.
I’ve always believed in the benefits of visualization and positive thinking, but I really believed that through deep meditation of self-hypnosis you could make dramatic changes in your life.
Having no clue what I was doing, I got a couple books, read up on the subject, and a couple times a week practiced hypnotizing myself.
Up until about a week ago, I had no idea if I’d ever really succeeded with it. I figured maybe some of the benefits I’d received were simply the placebo effect.
After all, if I’d been properly hypnotized I’d be a rock superstar or deranged second hand smoke activist, right?
So very wrong.
Not How I Expected This Ski Trip to Unfold….
One of the most interesting and cool dudes I’ve met this year is Peter Shallard. Peter has built a remarkably successful business as ”The Shrink for Entrepreneurs”.
He’s the guy that high level CEOs, New York Times Best Sellers and others go to in order to get their head right and catapult their business to the next level.
Seriously this guy is no joke (and he’s not cheap).
Well last week we had the opportunity to further our friendship while carving lines at Breck and downing expensive scotch (Thanks Dan!) in the hot tub.
About halfway through the trip it came up that he was a licensed hypno-therapist.
As soon as he said this, I knew this was my chance to make my lifelong dream of getting hypnotized a reality.
After talking about it for a couple days we finally decided to make it happen on our last night.
I roped my buddy Andy into doing it with me, because let’s face it, venturing into the unknown like that with 10 of your pseudo drunk friends looming over,could only end poorly for me.
Erasing Thoughts of What Hypnosis Should Be
Visions of running naked through the hotel while screaming at the top of my lungs were quickly turned into extreme relaxation.
“Pick a spot on the wall in front of you, and focus intensely on that” – Peter’s voice said as I tried to quell laughter and skepticism.
The skepticism slowly subsided over the next five minutes as he told me to be acutely aware of everything around me. My eyes slowly started closing in on me and it became almost impossible keep them open.
“Am I hypnotized? Is this it? I can’t be hypnotized, I wouldn’t be asking myself if I was hypnotized if I was really hypnotized. Wait, would I?”
I distinctly remember saying that to myself in my head.
That’s when he tied a few helium balloons to my wrist – or at least thats what he told me to think.
I always knew they weren’t there. I was well aware that there were no balloons on my wrist. Yet a minute later my hand was raised all the way above my head.
“What the hell? But I can still open my eyes. Or at least I think I can?”
One of the things I learned about hypnosis is you can’t hypnotize anyone against their will. They have to want to have it happen.
Since I was fully on board for this little experiment, I apparently was very easily suggestible.
This is evidenced by what happened next.
After awakening me and putting me back to “sleep” a couple times to really get me under, he setup two chairs 5 or so feet apart.
I then proceeded to go fully cataleptic. While I was standing there my body was completely rigid and firm. They then put my head on one chair and the edge of my feet on the other – with nothing in between.
It’s amazing what the body can do under these suggestions.
I distinctly remember all of this happening, which was totally contrary to my idea that I’d be left wondering “what just happened?”
After a few more suggestions he left me with an “anchor” that would allow me to get back into a similar trance more easily when doing it on my own.
More than a week later it still works. When I relax and work to put myself in a state of “self-hypnosis” I’m able to quiet my mind easier and my eyes become immediately droopy.
The Difference Between Self and Regular Hypnosis
Those times when I’d put myself under, I was definitely hypnotized. As evidenced by the significant behavioral and emotional changes that happened after just a few sessions.
I always thought however that because I was aware I must not have been doing it right.
What I found when Peter did it was the ability to go into a deeper trance state, which then makes the suggestions that much more powerful.
He used to offer services where you’d come in for a 2.5 hour session, and when you’d leave your smoking habit would be gone.
Of the dozens of people that he treated, only two ever came back to say it didn’t work.
I get asked a lot about behavior change.
How do I stop procrastinating? How can I eat better? How do I create more time for my business?
There are all sorts of ways to answer this question, but to be completely honest, a totally realistic option is meditation and hypnosis.
Sure it takes some regular practice, the willingness to feel kind of stupid for the first few times, and an open mind – but the effects as I’ve experienced first hand are nothing short of remarkable.
Hypnosis really isn’t about a swinging pocket watch and a bunch of silly actions. It’s just an intense form of meditation that allows you to tap into the type of things your mind is really capable of.
When done properly and regularly, it’s almost like a natural version of the movie Limitless. Sure the effects may not be that drastic, but the things you can accomplish after shifting away from even one of your bad habits will make your options, well, limitless.
Have you ever been hypnotized? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments!