I’ve heard it all before.
Plenty of folks insisting they can’t be hypnotised.
And others saying that surely not e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e can be hypnotised. Really, everyone? That’s such a high bar.
Let me be clear:
I’ll admit I might be wrong about this. Maybe I’ll look back in ten or twenty years and think, oh, how young and naïve I was back then.
I’m sure I’ll think that generally – but about this, it’s possible.
But as best as I can tell, according to both researchers and hypnotists…
(And when practitioners and academics agree, it often means something.)
… if you’re aware enough to read this, you can be hypnotised.
You didn’t have to be taught to smile to show you’re happy. It’s a universal human experience, found in every culture on the planet. Day-old babies do it. When you first did it, it was instinct.
But you did have to learn that moving your head up and down means yes, and shaking it left and right means no.
When did you learn that?
No one sat down and explained it to you. You observed and imitated – the first style of learning you mastered.
Then at some stage you probably learned to read. This time, someone did sit down with you and explain this squiggle sounds like ‘ah’ and this one like ‘fff’.
But is that how you learned everything?
Through direct instruction or imitation?
It can’t be, if you think about everything you know that you haven’t seen or been told.
Maybe you believe that good deeds attract good things.
Or justice is the most important thing.
Or that money can’t buy happiness, the universe is abundant, democracy is worth dying for, science is the only path to universal truth or family matters above all else.
If you believe any of these, their opposites or any of the thousands of similar beliefs in your head… how did you come to learn them?
You can mimic behaviours but you can’t mimic principles. Maybe you observed them in action though? Probably… but you also saw it fail. Let’s say your grandfather did good deeds and it led to riches and respect. You would have also seen folks take advantage of him, and other folks’ good deeds leading to punishment.
Observation alone doesn’t explain it.
What about direct instruction? Did someone sit down and explain that principle to you?
Again, maybe they did, but maybe not. Even as an impressionable child, you ignored more of these principles than you adopted.
Any parents want to challenge me on that? Have you ever told your kids something like ‘you should treat people with respect!’ only for them to keep being obnoxious?
So then how did you learn all these principles?
At some stage in your life, you probably heard a story. Maybe someone told you about it, maybe you saw it play out with your own eyes.
Only you didn’t simply mimic the behaviours you saw.
The story became more than just a sequence of events. You saw an underlying principle that explained them. In an impressionable moment, without realising you were doing it, you took on that principle as a belief.
You started thinking and acting as though that principle were true.
Well, guess what?
The only thing hypnotists do differently is we design the principle to suit the subject. If you start acting on the principle that many people like you and you’re worthy of love, bam, your anxiety disappears.
Or if you start acting like cigarettes are bad for you – not just knowing it, acting like it – then you’re a non-smoker.
Still think you, or some other people, might not be able to go into a trance? Those people wouldn’t have any experiences like that in their lives. They’d only know things they observed other people do or what they read in books. I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure not even psychopaths operate like that – they still ‘know’ things they’ve never seen or been taught.
If you can function in society – even awkwardly – then you’ve been hypnotised before. Maybe not by a hypnotist but by society itself.
The good thing about this is it makes tribes, culture and society possible.
The bad thing?
A lot of your beliefs, you picked up almost at random. It’s like installing software on a computer at random and hoping you get something useful.
Thankfully, you have the tools to correct unhelpful beliefs right here: