We think we’re in control, but it’s really our unconscious mind that’s driving the bus, so to speak.
Want to learn how that intricate and complex system operates? And how you can re-program it for everyone’s benefit?
Well you’re in luck, because our guest for this episode, Ken Dubner, is an expert at the unconscious mind generally, and at hypnotism, hypnotherapy, and NLP or neuro-linguistic programming, specifically. Ken is a speaker, a certified Master hypnotist, and an NLP Master practitioner. He used to be a comic for A&E Network. I’ve seen him hypnotizing audience members live from stage, and it was impressive.
This episode previously aired on my other podcast, Get Yourself Optimized.
If you want to gain mastery over the unconscious mind, for benevolent purposes only of course, then stay tuned!
In this Episode
- [00:20] – Stephan introduces his next guest, Ken Dubner, an expert at the unconscious mind generally, and at hypnotism, hypnotherapy, and NLP or neuro-linguistic programming.
- [01:34] – Ken discusses the idea of hypnosis, explains about trance and differentiate unconscious and conscious mind.
- [08:34] – Ken discusses fears and walks through the process of elegantly reframing the unconscious mind for a successful life transformation.
- [12:06] – Stephan wants Ken to talk and describe frames and reframing to the audience, which is a key term in hypnosis and NLP.
- [16:02] – Ken and Stephan discuss the benefits of having a virtual assistant to an entrepreneur.
- [17:39] – Ken explains the changes in the meaning of the word “geek” and gives an example of restructuring and reliving it in your mind that can change the meaning you provided to that event.
- [19:23] – Stephan talks about how there’s always a gift in trauma that you haven’t seen yet and narrates being once a geek who was extremely socially awkward and eventually went through a transformation, a journey of evolution and self-discovery.
- [23:40] – Ken emphasizes every weakness is a strength and every strength is a weakness and shares his own story to explain it.
- [31:24] – Stephan wants to know the definition of critical faculty and asks for tips for somebody to get past that critical faculty that keeps it from going deep.
- [36:26] – Ken communicates hypnosis is one of the greatest ways to get past the critical faculty because it deals with the non-linear unconscious part of your mind.
- [39:12] – Stephan and Ken tell their thoughts about the law of attraction.
- [41:47] – Ken likes guided visualizations and explains the whole process of visualizing, which is not visualizing; it’s imagining.
- [49:50] – Ken shares another basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming tenant is that there is no failure, only feedback on the principals
- [53:03] – Ken and Stephan talk about a pattern interrupt and breaking the dance step.
- [59:21] – Stephan asks Ken about hypnotizing people on stage simultaneously and not hypnotizing people to do something dangerous.
- [1:03:29] – Visit Ken Dubner’s website to work with him and know more about hypnosis and the mind.
Ken, it’s great to have you! Thanks for joining!
Thank you, Stephan! It’s very nice to be here!
Yeah. You’re a great guy and I’m so glad that we get to hang out again here and talk shop in terms of self-development and being your best self.
I have been looking forward to this opportunity, man. I’ve listened to a couple of the podcasts and you are Johnny-on-the-spot so you were born for the chair, man!
Thank you! Great, so let’s talk about the different types of hypnosis because I conjure up in my mind the term hypnosis is the idea of somebody hypnotizing a person on stage and then they start barking like a dog and make a fool of themselves but there are lots of different types of hypnosis—some are more self-help oriented, some are more for demonstration purposes, some are just for putting on a good show. Could you walk us through these different types?
Sure, actually the better question is, what isn’t hypnosis? Because so many things in my mind are—the filter I use is, does it promote trance? Does it promote an altered state in which somebody is going inside rather than outside oriented and they are now really accessing their creative mind? For me, a lot of times people say, “Oh, I’ve never done hypnosis. I would never do that!” and I say, “Wow, you’re an athlete. Do you ever do a guide individualization?” and they’ll say, “Oh, I do that every day!” So, I say, “Well, you’re doing hypnosis!” You know, meditators are doing hypnosis. We all call it something else and we can have a theological-type discussion on that and get a couple of people from different disciplines on but to me, if it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck then I must hypnotize that duck.
I love that! So, what is a trance exactly? Why would I want to be in one and—
A deep daydream is a trance.
You know, we go in that trance all the time. A deep daydream is a trance. Let’s take that one example because it’s the most mundane example. That example on the example of driving a car along distance while really thinking about something and then missing your exit and not realizing you missed it. Has that ever happened to you?
Yeah, of course!
Okay, well, you are in trance at that moment. Who is driving the car?
I don’t know!
And yet, here’s the thing, if somebody had jumped in front of your car, you would have hit the brakes probably faster than if you were consciously trying to drive the car. Because your unconscious mind is the part that was driving the car, you’re still keeping the car going, you know how to drive the car, you don’t have to consciously think about it, and once you really get in the rhythm and you’re not looking for street turns, or you‘re in a place that you know, or a long highway where you don’t have to give that sudden thought of stoplight—something’s that’s going to interrupt the train of thought—you tend to go somewhere else in your head because your unconscious knows how to drive a car. It’s kind of hard to talk about it without visuals.
We talk about the conscious and the unconscious and that’s part of the American zeitgeist but let me talk about what I believe the unconscious and conscious are. A conscious mind is a linear, logical piece of your mind that thinks it’s making all the decisions based on rational and logical reasons. The unconscious mind is an emotional, creative, non-linear part of your mind. It thinks all at once. That is actually the part of you that comes up with what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it and then you’re conscious mind rationally comes up with the reason that sounds good. So, in another word, your unconscious mind—that part of you that was built when you were a child is a part that really runs the show and makes all the decisions. The conscious mind is just there so you can use “big boy” words in order to justify those decisions. In other words, when salespeople say people buy on emotion and then use logic to justify it?
That’s what I’m talking about. The emotional part is the unconscious processes. It’s the things you learn as a kid. It’s the things you don’t really understand but they run you and they drive you and because of that, unless you really can get in touch with them, oftentimes, you’re going to be at odds with that part of you because your conscious mind may say, “I want to be this” or “I want to do this,” but unless, unconsciously, you believe it’s possible and good for you—that’s a big thing—you’re not going to do it. The unconscious mind is there to help you survive. It’s the part of you that started when you were a small child and just trying to make sense of the world. So, when you first were born, you don’t have any real understanding of the world because we have very few instincts and we’re helpless. There are two things that we tend to be afraid of—one’s being dropped and the other one is loud noises. Everything else, we basically learn.
You take in new information and you decide: Do I like this? Is it good? Is it pleasant? Is it safe? Or, do I not like this? Bad? Hurts? Unsafe? You put everything in those categories. As you get older, for instance, hopefully, mom’s voice is a good thing. I hear mom’s voice, I get fed, my stomach’s full, I feel good, and the warmth of her body feels good. As you get older, you start making a finer distinction—mom’s voice is, generally, a good thing but any toddler knows, sometimes mom gets a tone of voice and when she gets that tone of voice, it’s best to avoid mom. So, a toddler now has made that finer distinction of, “Okay, most of the time, mom’s voice is good but this new information came in, and when I hear that sound of a voice, that’s not a good thing,” Well, that gets really deep into the wiring of you are because that’s a toddler. Then, as a 3-4-year-old, you’re building on that understanding. As a 7-year old, you’re building on that. You’re constantly building on the foundation you started as a small child. If somewhere along the way, because I don’t know if you ever tried to have a linear, logical conversation about what happened with a 6-year-old but it doesn’t work too well—It comes back to that basic question that you’ve heard before – would you rather be right, or would you rather be successful? Sometimes to be successful, you’ve got to do the thing that you don’t understand because you’re so used to… Click To Tweet
Because they really can’t do it. So, if somewhere along the way, you have some kind of thing that you came up within your 6-year-old mind and you took it in, that’s your reality. It’s the basis. It’s kind of like, remember Y2K was supposed to just mess up everyone’s computer?
Because it was so deep and so hard to get to and part of everything. It was one of the basic programming things that they have done and they had just made that mistake of not thinking, “Hey, one day it will be 2001, What will we do?” Well, if you’re six, and you take in the message that you’re worthless for whatever reason—it could be that your mom literally yells you’re worthless, or your dad leaves your home, or some kid beats you up, or you’re just watching a TV show and notice that everybody else is living better than you—it could be a million reasons that a 6-year-old might surmise their worthless but if that goes into your basic programming for the rest of your life, that gets reflected in everything you do. You are either trying to prove that wrong or just going along with the fact that you know it’s right and until you change that deep programming, it will constantly get in your way.
Yeah, because we, essentially, are trying to subconsciously or consciously being consistent with our view of ourselves and our identity.
If we define ourselves as a millionaire then we’ll likely be millionaires but if we define ourselves as a wanna-be millionaire that never quite makes it, we will sabotage ourselves subconsciously.
Exactly! And that reframe, that elegant reframing, is what I do with the unconscious mind because once you change that self-definition, everything else changes about you and no longer makes sense. Here’s something I hear a lot: “Ken, I know it’s crazy but…” and then people will tell me what their problem is because logically and rationally, they know it’s crazy. I’ll take an extreme example—I used to work with phobias. I used to do a lot more of the classic hypnotists’ stuff: phobias, smoking cessations, and things like that. Now, I tend to more about life transformation. But if someone were to come to you for a phobia and they say, “Ken, I know it’s crazy but I can’t drive a car anymore.
I had a car accident and since then, if I even think about driving a car, my hands start to shake!” and I know that’s crazy because he’s just thinking about driving a car but no amount of willpower, logic, or reason is going to change that because in that car accident, during that one moment—what had been defined in your unconscious mind as this wonderful experience of freedom, of being a grown-up, and being able to go anywhere—“I drive a car” became “Hey, I almost died!” or “Hey, this is dangerous! Driving a car is dangerous!” Suddenly, it becomes so wired in at such a deep level that no amount of talk is going to change that until you change the definition. You need to change the association at a deep level back to something more positive and to reframe it, so to speak.
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I remember there is a great book—I think it’s called, Provocative Hypnosis. There’s a case study example he gives where somebody who was afraid of heights was a guy who climbs telephone poles and does repairs. That was his job and he was afraid of heights. So, he walked this guy through this process for the client to understand that it wasn’t actually a fear of heights, it was a fear of basically setting himself up to be afraid before he was even in “danger” and then on his way down, where he was at the exact same height, his anxiety level was almost zero.
It’s like, when you are in the ground and you are about to climb up the pole, your anxiety level is what? 10. 10 out of 10. Okay, now you’re a few feet up the pole and your anxiety level is still 10 out of 10. He just had the guy go up the pole, as he normally does as part of his work, and give this feedback of where he was on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of anxiety. When he was as at the same level of like, let’s say, six feet—so he was a 10/10 on his way up at 6-feet and then when he was at 6-feet on his way down, his anxiety level is a 1.
Okay, so you’re not really afraid of the six-feet or the six-meters wherever you’re at. You are afraid of what’s to come potentially and not on the height itself.
Right. You have to clarify that belief. And that’s a reframe, by the way. Because what it really means is, if I park you at 10-feet, you’re okay. If I put at 10-feet and tell you you’re going to be climbing to 11 in a minute, you get scared. If I put you on 10-feet and say you’re going to be climbing down, you’re okay—
So, what’s the difference with 10-feet? Sometimes, that’s enough. I mean, when people have those “a-ha!” moments—those moments of clarity—that’s because of something shifts. I guess you could say that a big part of my job is on the unconscious, giving them those moments of clarity that shift.
So, let’s talk about frames like, reframing, and who has a stronger frame? That’s the key term in hypnosis and NLP. Could you describe it for our listeners?
Yeah, framing was one that I had a hard time for a while because it’s funny how, over a 20-year period of doing this, new things come into vogue just like in your world, or just like in the SEO world, and the terminology and what’s hot now like, right now, everyone is 10x-ing everything?
Because in 8x, that’s just horrible. I wouldn’t want to 8x something.
I’m looking at 18x right now.
I’m looking at the one that’s going to be like, spinal tap where the guy says, “You know how you 10x? I’m going to 11x you! I’m going to get you where you’re 10x-ed and then I’m going to x you one more time!” Well, that became like that’s the big thing everyone’s talking about. Frames—it all goes back to communication, even salesmen use frames. Frames mean, the way it was first defined to me was, if you have a picture and it’s a photograph, and when you put a frame around it that’s very stark, or you put a frame around it that’s a bunch of hearts, or you put a frame around it that’s pastel with colors, all those different frames will change the meaning of the photograph somewhat.
If the frames have clowns in them, that’s going to be different than one of those hardwood frames that you’re grandfather has around his picture. It’s going to get a different meaning. So, what it means to frame something is to say, “Okay, I’m the one who’s establishing what it means. Here’s the content but it means this.” Salesmen do this all the time—again, without ever having to use the word “frames.” Reframing is my favorite word of all because it’s what I do. Reframing means, you’re framing the meaning of something one way and I’m showing you, “No, it’s actually this and I’m giving you an option that actually works for you better than the way you’re doing it.” So, if you’re framing, for instance, the word “geek.” Thirty years ago, before Revenge of the Nerds, being a geek was a horrible thing. No one dated a geek. Geeks were not popular. Geeks did not get the girl. Now, geeks like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and all the geeks have changed it. You’ve changed it. It’s a term of pride at METal. It’s a term of pride for a lot of people. “I’m a geek!” becomes something you now think is wonderful. It’s the same attributes.
“You’re bookish, you’re this, and you’re that!” but now that has a whole different meaning for people and that got reframed between the ’80s and the ’90s when computers came in and they were old enough to remember when being a geek was a big insult. And now it’s something people say all the time! “Nerd” and “geek” changed their meaning over my lifetime incredibly. They framed it differently now. It’s the same guy, if you made a picture of a nerd, from 1970 and a nerd from 2001—they look the same.
I’m picturing one in my mind right now and I’m looking at it going, “Well, that’s not that much different than me!” They look the same but the meaning is different because now, that same guy who is horrible at sports and awkward is the kind of guy who’s going to run his own company. This guy is the guy that can help me with my computer—computer nerd, computer geek. I think that’s part of what changed the frame on that word, by the way. Now, I want a geek in my life. I have to have a geek in my life because I’m not that good with computers so what do you do? You find a geek who can do it because those are the guys. They live to do computers—geeky guys.
Yeah. In fact, when I put out job ads on Craigslist and so forth where I’m looking for say, a virtual assistant. I had a VA episode that you were listening to—
It was great!
Thank you! That rockstar VA, Carolyn, she’s amazing! I wish I could hire her back. For listeners, if you haven’t heard that episode, definitely go back and listen to Carolyn Ketchum. Great, great episode!
And a great episode for entrepreneurs to listen to.
As an entrepreneur, people love to do what we do in general.
As an entrepreneur, people love to do what we do in general. A lot of us are entrepreneurs now. We don’t work for the “man,” so to speak. In listening to that episode, I was furiously taking notes going, “Oh, I never thought of that!” It was reframing my whole thought system on having a virtual assistant. Because I didn’t have an understanding of how that could actually help me, it seemed more difficult to have one than to not have one.
Mm-hmm. Now, I can’t imagine a life without VA’s. I can’t imagine managing my own inbox, for example. No way! Not going to do it! I just refuse! But back to this idea of geeky as a reframe and how this is a positive term, I actually have gotten better response on my VA ads by putting “geeky” into the title of the job ad than just saying “wicked smart” or “detail-oriented” or “creative” or whatever. “Geeky” just resonates like a higher quality of candidates coming in so that’s a good tip for you, guys, who are putting your ads out.
Now, I’m not a linguist but I will tell you this: my understanding of the word “geek” is that it comes from carnival geek. That was the guy—usually, a guy who was, unfortunately, a Skid Row alcoholic in the end part of his life that would be hired by the carnival to be the geek. The geek was the guy who would bite the head off a live chicken as part of his show. He was the wild man and he was called, “The Geek.” Then, by the time we were kids, “geeky” had just come on to be kind of weird, awkward, and not cool. And then, in the ’80s and ’90s, it changed again as it became this understanding. Hey, a lot of these guys who are so-called “awkward” and “not cool,” just are much better at this other thing that we didn’t even know existed in the ’70s and that’s computer programming and understanding that whole way of thinking.
So, let’s get back to this idea of the reframe and how, by kind of restructuring it in your mind and kind of reliving it, you’ll change your meaning that you gave to that event? And then, your experience of it changes and it’s no longer is anxiety-producing, or a phobia, or a trauma event? It’s just, you know, something that happened? It’s just information, right?
So, if you reframe that car accident, it becomes not the thing that defines car as it’s not being dangerous forever. It becomes, “Oh, that was that thing that happened that day.” That sometimes, things happen. And just that. That’s about the level of emotion—sometimes, things happen. It wasn’t something I’d like to do again but then again, sometimes, things happen.
Yeah, and sometimes, there’s a gift in it. In fact, there’s always a gift in whatever trauma and you only haven’t seen it yet. My fiancée, Orion, likes to say that it’s a gift with the bow on the bottom and you just haven’t turned it over yet, right? Somebody important in your life passes away, there is a gift in it. It’s hard to see it but there’s a gift. I just lost my mom recently and it’s tough but also, it’s part of life. Death is part of life. It’s what makes life so precious and makes every moment count because it isn’t endless.Confusion is another part of getting people out of that critical mindset. They get confused enough, overwhelmed enough when you reach the limit of your understanding of something. Click To Tweet
One gift that I got out of it was, as I was going through her books, there was this incredible book that she had bought. It was called The Hormone Diet. It’s a fabulous book and Orion is just loving it. There’s a ton of really great information in there and it’s a very timely point in her life to be reading it because hormones are so critical to our biology, and we need to take more proactive, I actually have other episodes where I talk about hormones in particular and other forms of bio-hacking and this book has been such a gift for Orion and it wouldn’t have ever appeared to us if I hadn’t been going through my mother’s stuff in her passing. So, there’s always a gift in whatever trauma event and it takes—
You have to find that gift.
And that’s part of my job too and I’ll tell you a little bit about my story but before that, Orion is a great example of the word “geek.” If you have ever seen, I don’t know if you have a picture of your fiancée online, geeks didn’t get women that looked like or as intelligent as that in the 1970s. It just didn’t happen. Geeks do now because here’s the thing, it’s not seen as a bad thing anymore. Women don’t just say, “Oh, I eliminate you.” They actually say, “Oh, wait! There’s something intriguing—that’s intelligence. I like that!”
So, that whole—that is, to me, one of the greatest examples—right there of how “geek” has changed. Orion is with a geek.
I have to clarify this because I was a geek who couldn’t get the girl before and then I went through a transformation and that’s part of the process that brought me to share with a larger audience through the podcast and through the book I’m writing. It’s a journey of evolution and self-discovery. If you look back at how I looked six years ago, I was the kind of geek that wouldn’t be able to get the girl. I was extremely socially awkward. I don’t know if I ever showed you a picture of what I used to look like.
Oh my God! You’ll be shocked! It’s amazing! I looked about 15 years older than I that I do now. On my “About” page on GetYourselfOptimized.com—You’ll be shocked! The before and after—and 9 years ago, when that picture was taken, I looked like a 50-year-old guy. I’m 45 now and I get mistaken a lot of times as a 30 or 32 to 34 years old and it’s pretty cool. I like getting that, “You can’t possibly have a 24-year old daughter. Like, what were you 12 or something when you had your kid?”
I didn’t know you had a daughter?
I have three daughters, yeah.
Oh, I didn’t know.
Yeah. My oldest is 24. I have a 23-year-old and a 19-year-old.
I have a 17-year old boy. Maybe we should hook them up?
Yeah, absolutely! We’ll save that for after the episode.
I’m looking at your “About” page while I’m talking to you, by the way. Because that’s the great thing about today’s day and age, you sit there and do these things at the same time.
Right! I’m on Facebook while we’re doing this episode—no, I’m just kidding.
I’m knitting a sweater!
I could actually believe that.
Every weakness is a strength, and every strength is a weakness.
Alright, so to get to what you’re saying about the gift in it. Part of the premise of what I do is that, every weakness is a strength and every strength is a weakness and what I mean by that is, the thing that you define is your weakness, in dealing with it makes you strong if you deal with it and the example I give is my own. My own example is this and I’ll tell the story. I was five years old and I was ready to kill myself. I was sitting on the edge of the rooftop and looking down the traffic. I remember where I was. I actually had a picture taken there recently when I was back East to visit. I don’t really remember why, I know that it was I felt worthless and that everyone will be better off without me. I have wonderful parents. I grew up in the suburbs. I had no reason to feel that way. I had a great family life—the prototypical suburban kid existence.
But what I also had was, clinical depression, and it was only in my 20’s when that got defined as such because in the early ’70s, they didn’t really talk about depression and they certainly didn’t talk about a five-year-old being suicidal. It just didn’t exist. It wasn’t in the world view of people. As I get older, I got to understand that depression. Depression, I used to say, is the canvas upon which my life has been painted. It has affected every aspect of who I am. It still affects me to this day. It may one day be the thing that makes me take my own life. It’s a one-in-five chance, somebody with my level of depression will take their own life. If I live long enough, Stephan, I may kill myself. That’s the deal. But here’s what depression did for me, I knew my mind worked differently from a young age and everybody else’s. I knew that one day was great, the next day I wanted to die—nothing had changed yet everything had changed. I got it on a deep level at a young age that your mindset dictates your life to the level that I still find people who are adults who haven’t gotten it to that level. Because of that, I was fascinated with psychology and hypnosis.
I went to school—Human Services. I work with the mentally ill. I started studying hypnosis and NLP. I’ve held thousands of people. I’ve been in front of tens of thousands of people teaching about this stuff. I’ve saved people’s lives that deal with depression, even though it’s not my job title, just because I could see it in friends and say, “Hey, I’ve dealt with this. This is me. Read this. Go talk to a doctor about this. You’re going down a road you don’t want to go down.” I couldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Although my biggest fear is if it starts hitting again, it’s a horrible thing. I wouldn’t wish it on somebody, or you know what they say—they wouldn’t want to wish it on their worst enemy? I’m not quite that nice. I wish it on my worst enemy but my second worst enemy? Maybe not. But, yeah—it is hell on earth when it’s hitting and yet, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s made me who I am. It’s made me strong. I think I said this at METal because in that group we belong to, there’s a lot of people that are high net worth individuals—very successful individuals—millionaires and billionaires. I stood up in front of them and oftentimes when people come to that group, they almost kowtow to the group. They say, “Oh, it’s such an honor to be in front of these people! You, people, are so successful and so this and so that,” and everyone feels great about themselves.
I walked up and said, “I want you all to know I’m not impressed with anyone in this room because unless you can live in my five-year-old head for a week, I don’t think you’re all that great and I don’t think you could do it. I’m not impressed by your money. I’m not impressed by what business you’ve built.” I’m impressed by your mental toughness and who you are at your core—that impresses me. It doesn’t matter who or what you’ve done. Try and live try and walk in my five-year-old moccasins for a week and then maybe you’ll impress me. Because of that, I have a bulletproof kind of confidence—sometimes, people say, too confident. I’m pretty fearless about a lot of things because I’ve been through worse. I’ve lived hell without ever having to go to war, be abused, or anything like that. I was in a living hell for so many years of just wanting to die. Every day is a gift to me. Every damn day. Today, I was driving home and California Dreaming came on the radio and I watched a young woman jogged by in shorts in a February day.
Don’t ever let anybody tell you it’s anything other than strength.
For a kid from the East Coast, that was pretty amazing and then I saw a palm tree and I just smiled a big old smile and I was so thankful for that moment because I have had those moments where I was ready to just say goodbye. So that curse is my gift and it’s my strength. It helps me with clients because I can talk the talk with the clients and deal with those kind of things. Again, as a hypnotherapist, I’m not allowed to deal with mental illness-type conditions or DSM level conditions. I’m allowed to deal with avocational and vocational self-improvement. When I’m talking to somebody who, part of their avocational and vocational self-improvement, says, “Hey, I’m less then because I have had this experience. I’ve been depressed. I have had anxiety attacks. I’ve done this. I’ve been to jail. I’ve done this.” and I say to them, “Don’t you understand that makes you stronger than everyone you meet? How many people could survive what you went through? Look around you next time with all these people that you think are so happy and put them in your shoes for three minutes in the situation that you just described to me and tell me that they could have navigated it. Because you’re here, somehow you survived it and now we can build on that. That strength is un-buyable. You earned it. Don’t put it down. Don’t ever let anybody tell you it’s anything other than strength.
Yeah. Wow, that’s profound. I’ve gone through my trials and tribulations too. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, right? I was a foster child. As a teenager, I was living with my grandfather. He had some heart issues and so forth. He needed to find a place for me and I ended up going into a foster home. I still keep in touch with my foster mom to this day and she’s an amazing person. It was a wonderful gift. It was kind of traumatic for me to live in a foster home where I was not the biological child of the parent and I wasn’t even living with the relative but it made me stronger and as they say—if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.
The skillset that you learned to get through that situation served you in other places in your life and continues to serve you.
And that’s what it means by making the weakness into the strength. By the way, a strength can be a weakness too because sometimes when we’re really good at something, we get stuck in doing it that way. Another key part of what I do is flexibility. In NLP, they talk about it. In cybernetics, they talk about the most flexible part of a system is the part that’s going to control that system. I just think that flexibility is one of the most important parts of resiliency, of being a healthy human, being able to say, “Look at the situation, and the way I usually do it isn’t going to work.” It comes back to that basic question that you’ve heard before—would you rather be right or would you rather be successful? Sometimes to be successful, you’ve got to do the thing that you don’t really understand because you’re so used to doing it one way. You’ve got to be flexible enough to not try and be strong in that situation. I don’t want to get too Zen. How did I get so Zen all of a sudden?
Because you’re a zen guy.
I should be sitting cross-legged under a cherry tree right now.
Why, you’re not? So, let’s talk about how to get something into your subconscious that hasn’t really broken through the critical faculty? I guess we should probably define the critical faculty for our listeners too. So, you kind of somewhat believe logically that, “Yeah, I should be able to make this kind of money or I should be able to attract the love of my life or I’m a good looking guy or I’m whatever,” right? But it doesn’t quite make it into your subconscious, you don’t believe it at a core level, and so, you consequently don’t manifest it. What are your tips for somebody to get past that critical faculty that keeps it from going deep? Let’s define critical faculty as well as part of this.
Okay, critical faculty means it’s the part of that conscious and unconscious, which is the bridge. It’s the filter. The way it works is, it really is just there to look for things that support what you already believe and reject things that don’t. There is a part of the brain called the reticular activating system that also now is analogous because we’re just figuring out how the brain works—real-time residents and things like that allow us to actually look at the brain. I’m going to tell you this. I had this discussion recently with a bunch of people who have been doing this for a long time. We’re in the infancy of understanding the mind. Twenty years from now, it will be light years ahead of what we understand because we will understand the brain does this at this moment. That’s why this thought occurred.
The reticular activating system is the gatekeeper. It’s there to notice patterns, it notices if something is dangerous, notices if there is something you’re looking for—you kind of set it to notice in the background. It’s a background program, you could say. Your critical faculty—and I love that word—is set on whatever you deep down believe but you don’t know what you deep down believe a lot of times because it’s deep down. By definition, your unconscious is an unconscious part of you. So, therefore the critical faculty is there to say, “Okay, this new thing comes in, does it agree with the deep-down belief system? If it does, it reinforces it. Let me give you an example, if I believe that I’m a horrible person deep down because in my core, I just kind of know I’m not worthy. I could do 20 great things in a day. I could have 20 people point out to me how wonderful they were, how giving, how altruistic, and all these wonderful qualities. I could have one person look at me and, for no apparent reason, walks by and gives me the finger and tell me that what they think of me as a human being is less than optimal. Which one of my taking in? The 20 things that told me I’m great or the one that reinforces that I’m really worthless.
Yeah, the one!
It opens up wide. Think of it as a filer. That filter opens up wide for that so if you’re trying to change something, there are some ways you can get past it. Repetition, that whole every day in every way I’m getting better and better? That kind of stuff? You do it a million times and just pounded in there—sometimes that can get through. You get through when you’re really emotional, the critical faculty opens up really wide like in that car accident. You overload it with information and it stops asking questions so for instance, when you’re buying a car and they’re giving you every detail over and over again including—the clear coat, how much it cost, why this is really good for you, why the under rest protection is better than the over rest protection because we live in the Southeast, you understand? If you live in Phoenix, you might want both but here, we’ll only get you one, we just want to give you deal—and they keep talking and talking and talking and at the end they go, “And that’s why here you go, sign the contract, and, by the way—, “and you just do it because—
I’m ready to sign right now!
Your critical faculty was overwhelmed! You no longer are questioning every individual thing. You’re just kind of going along for the ride.
In order to change it, you’ve got to get past it.
It happens to us all the time. Another way you can get through is music, poetry, imagery, storytelling, and anything except logic and reason. The problem is, we try and convince ourselves and others with logic and reason because it sounds good. Because we are all, basically, little kids walking around in big kid bodies and using big kid words to make everyone else believe we’re a big kid too but deep down, we’re little kids. I hate the word “inner child” because it sounds so earthy and crunchy but honestly, we’re all just inner children. I mean, that’s it and everything else is a difference for that child. So, critical faculty can be seen as the thing that’s getting in your way of making a change because it’s designed to not have you changed. It’s designed to reinforce what you already know. Cognitive dissonance, right? It’s about saying, “Hey, if I know it, I’m going to go with what I already know,” because the critical faculties are going to reinforce that. So, in order to change it, you’ve got to get past it.
There are different ways of doing it. Hypnosis is one of the greatest ways to get past the critical faculty because it’s dealing with the non-linear unconscious part of your mind. In other words, the conscious mind—that logical sequential where we think sequentially: one equals goes the next. Think about when you’re falling asleep, you ever had those thought processes and you’re thinking of an ice cream cone and suddenly, you’re like, “Why am I thinking of ice cream cone?” and you try to follow your thoughts back and it’s so random how they all connected?
I’m eating an ice cream cone but somehow it’s because I thought of this, which made me think of Hitler, which made me think of World War II, which made me think of my grandfather, which made me think of New York where he came from, which is Ben and Jerry’s because that sounded like a guy from New York, which is ice cream. What?
I totally followed that!
Your unconscious mind does that in an instant. It’s doing it all the time. I just made a linear, by the way, example for you because when I talked to you, one of the things I get is you’re real good at the linear—at the systems.
Yeah, I am.
You are. It’s incredible. You’re the kind of person I look at and think, “That’s a magic trick!” just like people look at what I do and think it’s a magic trick. Because my brain is pretty far on the other end as you can tell from the way I’m having this discussion—pretty far, non-logical and non-linear. Let’s go to all places and bring it all back together at the end into a nice little package but don’t worry where we are in the middle because we’re just kind of going around it all. I am thinking, on some level, it’s got to be driving you nuts. You’re like, “Dude, wait! We started this point, get back to this point!”
No, it’s all good.
In order to get past a critical faculty, do hypnosis all the time.
All right, so critical faculty—In order to get past a critical faculty, here is what you can do: We do hypnosis all the time. We rehearse failure all the time and that’s hypnosis—just negative hypnosis. Entrepreneurs who are looking at the fact that, “Hey, you know what? I no longer have a job and I have put everything into this project. This could all fall apart and I could be out of the house and my family could be on the street.” Well, if that’s what you think about over the next months, you have just up the odds incredibly of having that happen because what you should be thinking about is, “Wow! As an entrepreneur, it’s all open. Wide-open. I could change everything. What do I do now to change it?” If you start rehearsing that in your mind, if you start really getting that point across by going over on just repetition alone—well, do it over and over again. Let’s get into guided visualization. It’s a good thing for you, guys, to think about.
Yeah. I was just thinking that the Law of Attraction dovetails quite nicely in this—
Well, the Law of Attraction—it’s funny because there’s the “woo woo”, Law of Attraction, and then there’s the, “Hey, you want to sound really scientific to people? Tell him that what you’re really doing is activating their reticular activation system,” to now look for the cues in the environment that they would have missed. In other words, if I think that I’m going to get kicked out of my home because my project isn’t going to work, I’m going to have set myself to find every example in the environment that supports that. So, if I get one bad review on Amazon.com of my product, that’s going to tell me why I’m not going to make it. If I don’t get somebody returning my phone call, that’s going to tell me that I’m not worth being called back. Everything I’m looking for is to support that premise.
If on the other hand, I have put the Law of Attraction. The “I’m-putting-it-out-to-the-universe,” which to me is another way of saying, “Unconscious mind, you can have this. I’m not going to just beat myself up about it.” You walk in faith. You say, “I’m going to do it,” and you do the action, by the way. It’s not like you just sit there and wait for the world to come to you. You’ll find yourself more resourceful in finding opportunities and doing all these things because in any basic environment, there are millions of bits of information going around and we only can pay attention to a very small number of them. There’s a part of our mind, the unconscious part, which does notice all of it but it only gets brought to conscious awareness if it’s important.Your unconscious mind—that part of you built when you were a child- runs the show and makes all the decisions. The conscious mind is just there, so you can use “big boy” words in order to justify those decisions. Click To Tweet
In other words, wherever you are, wherever you’re sitting right now, whatever is over your head right now—whether it’s the sky, the roof of your car, or the roof of your house, you weren’t thinking about a probably a moment ago. It was just there but you knew it was there, but you didn’t really think that it was there, you didn’t notice it, you noticed it because I said it but if it started to crack and make a noise, you would have noticed it pretty quickly because then, you needed to notice it. It’s always been there: the walls, the floor, your left foot, the right finger, and how it sounds when you exhale. These are all things that you could notice at any given moment because they’re happening all the time but you don’t because you don’t need to. You haven’t set your mind on it. If I said, “Hey, Stephan! By the way, that left finger of yours? That could be cancer! You know, if it ever throbs at all, you have to get to a doctor right away!” Do you think that you’d ever think about that left finger the same way? Do you think you’d ever let it just be not noticed? By the way, do you think that if there was this slightest little weird feeling in that finger, you wouldn’t notice it immediately?
That’s the critical factor so to get past the critical factor, repetition is one. I like guided visualizations because that whole process of visualizing—and really, it’s not visualizing, it’s imagining. Some people think they can’t visualize so I say, “Okay, just imagine!” When you really lushly imagine something—and what I mean by that is, not just what it looks like but maybe, what it would feel like in your body. It will feel like emotionally for sure because if you emotionally charge it, that opens a critical moment. What it would sound like—so, in other words, there is the, “Okay, I want to be a success. I want to win an Academy Award.”
And just leaving it there. Well, of a lot of people would just go, “Well, that’s never going to happen.” Well, yeah. It’s never going to happen for them, that’s for sure. The person who believes it’s going to happen, does it mean it’s going to automatically happen? No, but it sets them on a journey to find out how to make it happen. If they were to say, “Okay, I want to visualize and imagine that. I’d say, “Okay, well, let’s go through that whole process of imagining and getting the award but then, let’s backtrack because to get the award, you had to do a certain movie. To get that certain movie, you had to become a certain kind of actor and get in certain other things. You might have to start it with TV, or probably even down to commercials, or Community Theater, perhaps. There’s a journey that took you from this to that.
The unknown was never good for the individual, but it’s always good for the species.
Let’s go through it in your mind so that it becomes a reality so that now you can follow that path versus “Let’s just hope that one day I get an Academy Award.” What if we built that whole frame of your understanding and you went through it as if you had actually done it? So, this is no longer an unknown because the mind is not like the unknown. The unknown was never good for the individual. It’s always good for the species. In other words, we eat berries. Why do we eat certain berries and we don’t eat some other ones? Because Fred the Caveman ate the wrong berry and died. Bob the Caveman said, “Hey, you know what? I’m not eating that berry but the blue ones? They look good. I’m going to eat those.” You go over the hill and once in a while, somebody would try to go over the hill. They wouldn’t come back until one went over the hill, came back, and now the whole tribe could move. Therefore, we got to explore the whole planet but there are a lot of people who didn’t do too well with that strategy. In other words, the species moved forward but the individual may have been hurt by doing the unknown so it’s not something that’s hard-wired into us to go, “Let’s go to the unknown—whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing!” So, hey, you want to win an Oscar? Great, that’s an unknown. Do you want to be an actor in Hollywood? Great, that’s an unknown. You have to make it known, so you have to rehearse it.
Yup, or even walking up to a girl in a bar. That’s an unknown. Scary!
Oh, it’s hugely scary because here’s the other thing, you just touched on something else, which is the fight or flight response. We’re hard-wired, when stressed, to have a certain response. We’re hard-wired, when we’re in danger, to have a certain response—the fight or flight response. What that meant, again, for cavemen? All right, so you’re having that idyllic life—Bob, Jane, and the gay people. You’re picking berries and you’re hunting and it’s kind of boring with no cable or anything like that. You’re just kind of going through the day but every once in awhile, maybe every couple of weeks, there is a rustle in the bushes, and every once in awhile, there is a rustle in the bushes with a little growling noise, and then every once in a while, there’s something that peeks up behind the bushes and it’s got huge fangs on it.
The people that ran or the people who tried to fight, they might have survived. But the person who tried to make a well-thought-out strategy of “What would logically be the best thing that I could do right now?” was already dead by the time they got to the word “now” because the lion had eaten them. So, that caveman didn’t reproduce. The ones that had that response to danger—Run. Freeze. Fight. Real quick. Amygdala. The real quick basic thing to happen. They survived. So, what’s our response to danger? We go to that amygdala hijack. Dr. Goldstein is the one who taught me that—where you’re freaking out, your amygdala is freaking out, your fear centers are freaking out, your higher cortical functions aren’t working, your breathing is going up into your upper chest, your heart rates go way up, your blood pressure is going way up, your hormones are going crazy, your neurochemicals are crazy, and it’s all designed so that you can either fight that sabertooth tiger or run away from it.
When that’s going to happen, by the way, you have a high pain threshold because why does it matter if you get hurt if you need to do to survive. You’re not going to see a sabertooth tiger but most guys—especially, the guys who aren’t so-called good with the women kind of guys—they have the same reaction as if it was a sabertooth tiger just to walk up to a strange woman and say hello. Their body does all—if you had them hooked up to an EKG and a stress response, everything is exactly the same as if I literally put a gun to their heads and said, “I’m going to count to three and pull the trigger.” The unconscious mind takes that meaning in. The mind doesn’t know the difference between something that’s real and something that you lushly imagine.
When you do guided visualizations, have your clients live with three senses.
One of the things I tell hypnotists is, when you do guided visualizations, have them live with three senses. In other words, if I can have you, really, in a moment’s notice be able to see something, imagine what it would actually feel like and what it would actually sound like? If you have three of your senses engaged, your mind totally forgets that it’s not real. It’s why you’re able to go and have an argument with your girlfriend in your head on the way to see her then find out that she’s not mad at you. The thing that you thought happened hadn’t actually happen but you’re still really pissed off because you’re ready to fight. It’s as real as real is. Or, flip of the coin, I don’t know if Orion’s ever done this—women are more famous than guys for doing this: Waking up in the morning saying, “I had a dream that you did something bad,” and being mad at you?
Yeah, it sounds familiar.
Because it’s so real. They remember it. They remember what it felt like, what it sounded like, what you looked like, how it made them feel. All those things and therefore, the brain goes, “Real. Reality.” Well, that’s what you’re doing when you’re rehearsing something correctly so in other words, take the example of the guy that’s afraid to approach women. Instead of that fear response, I would take them outside of themselves, first of all. That’s something in NLP called third position dissociation. It’s looking at themselves as if they’re looking themselves in a movie screen and seeing that person that looks like them approaching a woman, taking them through the process of saying hello, doing the things that they would do to interact back and forth, and seeing them survive it. It sounds funny when you say it that way but in their mind, there was no concept of that.
It was I just walk up, get shot down horribly in flames, feel horrible because everyone in the room laughs at me, and I’m a social outcast forever. Although that sounds ridiculous, that’s exactly what I’ve heard people say. When I say, “Deep down, what do you fear?” and then you say, “Okay, let’s look at that situation.” Guy walks up, he looks like he was walking up to that girl, he says something but she shoots him down and the whole room literally turns and in unison yells, “You suck!” and laughs at that person. Usually, what happens is, at that moment, that guy starts to laugh because it’s absurd. It’s absurd when I describe it and yet, that guy was rehearsing that his whole life. Now, we can rehearse it the right way, which is you walk up to someone and you say hello. You start a conversation. Sometimes, that conversation leads to something. Sometimes, people are nice and friendly. Sometimes, they’re not that friendly. It’s the grand spectrum of human behavior but it’s really not about you.
You just go walk up and say hello.
Well, a great thing about reframing that kind of scenario is, it’s all successful and every interaction is a success because either you get the phone number, you get the kiss or whatever, or you learn something and so you get better. As long as you learn something, it’s been successful.
There’s a failure if you take it as a failure.
Well, another basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming tenant is that there is no failure, only feedback on the principals and I really believe that. You’re there to get feedback. There’s failure if you take it as failure. If you take it as—and again, we’ll just use this example—“I got shot down so it means that I should never try this again. It hurts and I’m horrible with women and no woman would ever want to talk to me”—that’s failure. Congratulations! You actually managed to fail. I mean, seriously, because some people are really proud about the fact that they can do that and fail that bad. If you take it as, “Wow, I didn’t do that well. Maybe I want to learn some things.” Well, that’s feedback. If you take it as, “Hey, maybe this woman wasn’t the quality person I thought she was.” That’s feedback. If you take it as, “Hey, you know what? Next time I walk up to a woman who’s got a big frown on her face, is wearing a shirt that says “Men suck!”, and has her arms crossed across her chest? Maybe I shouldn’t say hi to that one.” That would be feedback too. But if you’re just looking for, “How does this make me less? How does this prove what I already know, which is I am a failure with women, or business, or money?” You’ll find that and that to me is the only way you’ll fail.
Yeah. And so, you absolutely have to deal with the root, solve that so that you get the bigger picture that there is a lot of amazing feedback, positive things, and it’s not just reinforcing that you suck.
Exactly. I love that “You suck” scenario. I was so hoping I could get you to say the word “suck” on the air because I’m trying so hard not to use blue language. Well, my clients know me. I come from New Jersey. I thought a certain way. It’s basically part of having me as somebody who’s working with you that you’re going to hear some salty talk from a guy who used to be, as you said, a standup comic when I was in my 20s on the road. I’ve lived a life, kids, and it comes out when I talk to people. So, yeah, for me to get you to say, I was like, “Oh, I said “suck,” I hope I’m not in trouble.”
Totally! Well, we have had some explicit episodes.
I am so making the effort right now. Don’t tell me that’s even allowed or I’ll go crazy!
Oh! Oh my God! If you listen to episode one—the sexologist, Jaiya, talking about all sorts of crazy stuff.
Ah! I will be listening to that!
Oh, you totally should be! You have to give me feedback on that episode.
Remember this—actually, where I come from and where I grew up, it is where The Sopranos—that area where it was filmed—that kind of zeitgeist is where I grew up. I watched Goodfellas, I got homesick. I go home and visit and I come back. I’m close in a blue streak and I do sound like I work at the docks. It is part of who I am that I have to do because hey, how does that frame for other people? If I get on the air and I drop the “MF” and the things that I might say in private to you to somebody who I’m close to or even a client who needs a wake-up call or a kick in the ass, so to speak, because most people don’t have their therapist or coaches or so forth talk to them that way. I don’t do it every day but when I do it, man, it is effective.
Yeah, a pattern interrupt.
Pattern interrupt. But if I came on the air immediately and talked that way and actually you mentioned this, I’m actually ripping you guys off. You mentioned this with your virtual assistant. She was saying that she has a colorful way of speaking but she was interviewing someone and they said some things and she thought, “Well, in an interview that’s not appropriate. To hang out with me, I talk that way too but in an interview, that’s not appropriate.” And of course, I listened to that about an hour ago so what’s been first and foremost in my mind is this little blinking sign that says, “No potty mouth. No potty mouth. No potty mouth. Stephan’s in the air, no potty mouth!”
No, you can totally use potty-mouth. I don’t mind at all. There’s some F-words in different episodes. It’s totally fine. Let it let it rip!
All right mother fucker, let’s do this!
Bam! Now, this is an explicit episode! I’ve got to label this episode—
Oh my God! Take that one piece and I won’t do it again!
I’m kidding. No, it’s totally fine!
I was going to get a podcast up and they said, “Well, is it going to be explicit or not?” and I’m like, “Oh God! I’m going to have to say explicit because I just can’t talk about clam chowder without saying, you know, clam chowder is fucking good!” I’m sorry it’s where I grew up.
My mother swore like a truck driver when I was growing up. She’d drop the MF-word all the time.
My dad is a wordsmith. And by the way, think about this, all right? I’ll give you an example of getting past the critical faculty. You are used to an interaction where, if, say somebody is used to an interaction where if they tell me all their problems or they tell someone all their problems or their deepest fear, people say, “Oh my God, that’s so horrible!” Well, it’s like a dance that they learned to do. I tell you this about me. I self-disclosed that I have this weird thought. A lot of times, I self-disclosed that I do this thing and then you come in in this nice tone and you tell me why it’s okay. They come to me and they say the same thing. I look at them. I stare at them and you can’t say because I’m on the air but you’ve seen me, Stephan, when I stare, I have a New Jersey look in my eye, and I say, “Mother fucker! That is the stupidest thing everyone’s ever said in my office!”
That suddenly blows past their critical factor because they are so overwhelmed that they can’t take it in. “What, what, what? This is the dance I do with everybody. Everyone dances the step with me. What are you doing? Or, I’ll start laughing at that point and go, “That’s tremendous! How did you manage to get so fucked up?” And they’re like, “Who’s happy about that?” I’m happy about that because it means I’m going to work with you and we’re going to do great things. I’ll reframe it right in that moment because they’re wide open. I’ve taken everything that they were preparing. We have that whole preparation and that whole wall that says, “Okay, if I tell you something about myself that’s not that great, you’re going to have this certain reaction and I give him the opposite reaction and I’d throw some verbiage in there.” Well, suddenly, they’re busy just trying to figure out what the heck just happened instead of giving me their rehearsed story that they’ve told thousands of people over the years, that they’ve gotten so good at telling themselves that just leads them to the same conclusion that they’re less than, or can’t do it, or they suck. And now, we have a start point. We have a wedge. We have an opening for me to get in there and start changing and reframing some of those things.
Confusion is another part of getting people out of that critical mindset.
It’s like hitting the reset button.
I’m a walking reframe in a way. I’m a walking pattern interrupt, I guess. Like in NLP.
Yeah! I love it! Well, that reminds me of Mike Mandel. Howie Mandel’s brother is an NLP practitioner and hypnotist.
Mike Mandel is great!
Yeah, he is great! So, he talks about how he would, in the middle of a therapy session with a client, he would start sniffing under his watch as the pattern interrupt. He was doing it kind of surreptitiously so that the client wouldn’t notice but he did it on purpose, of course, and then they’d be like, “What are you doing? You just sniffed under your watch, didn’t you?” and he’s like, “No!” and then he’ll do it again at some point and they’ll be like, “No, you just sniffed under your watch! That’s disgusting!” and instead of dropping the F-bomb, he’d sniff under his watch and boy, that really popped him out of the depression or just really reset them and so he was then able to reframe them. Pretty powerful!
And I call that breaking the dance step. We all have a dance. You have a certain dance to do with your lover. You have a certain dance that you do with your best friend. A certain dance with your neighbor or your boss or yourself. They are intricate steps that have been established over the years. If you’ve ever watched an old couple, they know how to do that dance and nothing’s get in the way of that dance. If you try and get involved in that dance, you’ve got a big problem. If you think that you’re helping with the older couple who are having an issue by just jumping in and giving suggestions, well, no. What you’re really doing is, messing with their dance step and they’re both going to get angry about it. If you change the dance that you’re doing with someone else—in other words, “Okay, the dance is this. I am the person who is always failing and everyone else, therefore, either is mean to me over it or feel sorry for me,” and you do anything other than those two things, it’s confusing. It’s the unknown.
Wait, that’s not how people dance with me. And now, they have to question, what do I do next? Now, you have an opening. Confusion is another part of getting people out of that critical mindset. They get confused enough, overwhelmed enough when you reach the limit of your understanding of something. For some people, that’s the only thing that breaks them out of their rigidity. I swear to God, I’m going to answer one linear question with a linear answer. By the end of this podcast, I’m sitting there and going, “Wait a second! I am now an hour in and around about, give me one linear question and I’ll answer it with a linear answer.If we define ourselves as a millionaire, then we’ll likely be millionaires, but if we define ourselves as a wanna-be millionaire that never quite makes it, we will sabotage ourselves subconsciously. Click To Tweet
Okay, so this will be our last question.
It’s going to be an easy one so, I was really impressed with your presentation at Reignite, which is a peak potentials event, and you hypnotized probably what? Was it a dozen people on stage simultaneously? You got them to do all these crazy funny things but I guess, in hypnotizing people, you can’t hypnotize them to do something they really don’t want to do or something that’s dangerous to them—their subconscious won’t allow that.
Right, there’s a thing called, The Hidden Observer, and that’s always going to keep you safe. The only time you are really on guard against hypnosis is when a hypnotist is talking to you. Unfortunately, everybody’s doing hypnosis to you all the time and—oh God, I’m just going to—
Go for it!
As a comic—as a comic in my 20’s, everyone would tell you jokes after the show because everyone thinks they’re funny. Folks, I’m here to tell you. Most of you are not funny. Do you think you’re funny? You’re just humorous. You’re not funny. It’s a very small percentage of people who are funny and therefore, everyone thought I could do that. Here, let me tell you a joke and unfortunately, this is, you know, 20-25 years ago, so I was getting jokes about, you know, “Hey, this is what we said on Okinawa!” and usually, it was not complimentary to the people in Okinawa so, it was those kind of jokes and people will go, “Well, you could throw it on your act. Talk about Pollocks.” No, that’s not really what we do and that is not my character.
Everybody thought they’re funny. Nobody really respects the comic other than, “Well, he’s funny but I could be funny sometimes too!” As a hypnotist, if I go on stage and I do stage hypnosis, which is what you saw me do. I was doing it as a demonstration to show phenomena not just as a funny kind of thing so that people could understand their mind. People give me this great kind of deferential treatment. Oh, you do this thing! Don’t look him in the eye and all the old myths, right? Yet, you’re hypnotizing each other all the time. So, although most people who are listening to this—trust me. You think you’re funny? You’re not!
You think I’m the only hypnotist? You are also! Because we’ve all been with that old couple, speaking of the dance. You’re know that couple and they have something that happens between them and you have no idea what just happened. Somebody says, “Pass the salt,” but they arched their eyebrow a certain way and it reminds the other one about something that they talked about before. Next thing you know, the other one’s yelling, “Your mother is an alcoholic!” and they’re having some kind of brawl at the table and it’s all because the woman raised her eyebrows a certain way and because that’s a post-hypnotic suggestion to that couple. That happened so many times that it is hard-wired into his unconscious.
We’re all hypnotists.
When she raises that eyebrow that way, it means that she’s looking to say something bad about me, and that reminds me why I don’t like her mom, and now I’m going to go into the whole thing. You see this happen. Have you been with couples like that? It’s tremendously funny if you’re not sitting at a table with them but they’ve been hypnotized. They have put a post-hypnotic suggestion. Any time I give you this look, it means that I am having a bad thought about you. Think about most people’s parents, they can do that. I just was talking to a client about this today. I don’t care how old you are, how well you’ve done, or how Zen you are, there is not a human being on this planet who’s an adult that if their parents really, really, really go for hitting that one button won’t act like a child because what we learned about as a child, it was hard-wired. If Mom looked at me this way, with this tone of voice, and said this phrase, it made me feel like crap when I was eight and it will make me feel like crap when I’m 58. It goes past the conscious. It’s no longer, “Oh, this wonderful old woman is giving me this feedback and by the way, she loves me,” it becomes “Mommy disapproves of me and now I’m going to react.” So, we’re all hypnotists. I did not answer your question.
You know what? I give up. That’s a wrap!
That’s a wrap, folks!
Oh, funny! Okay, so seriously, let’s get to the close here. As I was saying, you’re really impressive. You’re a stage hypnotist and a demonstrational hypnotist. You had a dozen people on stage doing all sorts of entertaining stuff. You, clearly, are a master at your craft. How would somebody work with you? Let’s say, they want help with smoking cessation, or life transformation, or becoming fearless, or more confident. How would they end up working with you?
They could contact me through the website: MindTrainingSolutions.com. Frankly, right now, at this point, if it’s just smoking cessation, I would just probably send them to one of my students. If it’s smoking cessation because as part of the life transformation—in other words, here’s the person you want to be and here’s the person you are and by the way, part of this is because you don’t smoke. Then, I would deal with it. But if someone comes to me and says, “I just want to quit smoking,” I’ll send him to someone else because I really do deeper work with people now—a little more long term, a lot more rewarding for both of us, and I save lives. That’s how I look at it. I change people’s destinies when they put their trust and faith in me.
If you contact me, I’m happy to talk to you about hypnosis and the mind. What I would generally do is, have a conversation with someone on the phone before anything else just to see if I think I might be a fit. I vet my clients a lot because I don’t have to just take any client. I really pick and choose who I work with now and I want a certain kind of client. I want someone who’s willing to work on their stuff, willing to be flexible, really wants to change, really willing to say, “This is the thing I have to do in my life in order to be happy.” Unfortunately, some people will talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk, in my job, on those conversations is to figure out, “Are you somebody who’s really ready to do the work?”—because it is work. Even though I’m using hypnosis and all these cognitive methodologies, without your participation, no change ever happens. It doesn’t matter, you know, someone like me has been doing it for 20 years. I don’t care how good you are. You can’t make them change—you can only help them in the changes they want to make.
Yup! As I say, I only work with highly-committed individuals and it sounds like you’re the same.
Pretty much, yes.
Cool! All right, well, thank you so much! It was enlightening and empowering.
Stephan! Here’s what we can do!
I’ll be back on next year. Send me some bullet point questions. I will have them in front of me. I will have my assistant sit behind me and anytime, I come off-topic, she will turn my head to those questions—
Dude, there’s no way! I refused to do that! It’s like cutting you off at the knees. No way!
This is too much fun, man!
It is. Tons of fun! And so, listeners, I encourage you to go to Get Yourself Optimized website to get the shownotes from this episode as well as the transcript and checklist. Download that PDF of the checklist and transcript—it’s going to be great for you to take some of the learnings from this episode and apply them in your life. And by all means, work with Ken. If you’re a good fit, I’m pretty much going to guarantee that he will change your life. He’s a really good guy and knows his stuff so thanks again, Ken. Listeners, I will catch you on the next episode of Get Yourself Optimized! I’ve been your host, Stephan Spencer!
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Be open! Hypnosis and change can’t happen unless you are open and willing to accept them. So step number one is allowing yourself to accept changes to your beliefs.
Repetition is a great way to connect with your unconscious mind. Start using daily affirmations and guided meditation to relax and create a healing space.
See a hypnotherapist for phobias; they can help you to get past your fears by reframing the experience in your mind.
Remember that in weakness comes strength. If you are strong enough to start working on your innermost fears, you will become stronger throughout the process.
Information overload causes you to let go of your doubts by not giving yourself a chance to overthink them. Start by asking a lot of questions.
Watch what you say to others. Just as you can be programmed to think negative thoughts about yourself, others can be programmed by your words.
Hypnosis isn’t just for fears; it can also be used to change bad habits or create full life transformations. Write down a few of your deepest desires to take with you when you see a hypnotherapist.
Use visualizations to become more open to change. The more open you are, the more you can connect with your unconscious mind.
Music and poetry connect with your creative side and can help to promote healing. Spend time reading or listening to music with positive, upbeat tones.
Your unconscious mind is not going to be easy to change. Stick with it, and work on yourself over the long term for the best results.
About Ken Dubner
Ken Dubner is an expert at hypnotherapy, hypnotism, and NLP or neuro-linguistic programming. He is a speaker, a certified Master hypnotist, and an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Master practitioner. He is the CEO and founder of Mind Training Solutions and was a comic for A&E. You can find Ken on Twitter @kendubner.