Friday, November 29, 2013

Get Inspired--Life Is a Science Fair Project

 This blog, and my practice, is about inspiring and motivating people to achieve what they want to. And like most other people in my field, I like to explore the whole range of materials out there. Unfortunately, that sometimes entails having to slog through a lot of ebooks and MP3s full of feel-good fluff, angels, questionable metaphysical "rules" and pop-psychology. (Now, I do appreciate that a lot of those unorthodox approaches have really worked for some people, and I'm actually pretty open minded about these things, but I do feel compelled to approach them with a fair amount of skepticism. It's not just because I'm a snarky, cynical guy, but I feel so much of the material out there is more created to sell products to people with a real need than it is to actually fulfill those needs. While I can't guarantee results for my clients any more than anyone else can, I do feel that I have an obligation to do my best to help clients reach their goals effectively and permanently, and not just make them feel good for a while).

But I'm not just a hypnotist. I'm also a nerd. I used to experiment with transistors and integrated circuits, and used to do things like make flashing L.E.D. earrings for the girls when I was in school. How nerdy is that? I haven't picked up a soldering iron in at least a decade (and then only to rewire a lamp), but when I came across an interview with one of my techno-heros, I had to take a listen.

SURPRISE! It's one of the most inspiring interviews I've heard in a long time.

Here's an interview with a guy, Forrest Mims III, who has spent his life following his passion --science--and making a go of it. And from the sound of it, having a blast AND making the world a better place at the same time.

In case you're wondering what his credentials are, he's got a lot of them. He consults for NASA and environmental organizations, he writes for top science magazines and he created the first commonly available personal computer--The Altair Computer. If you aren't familiar with it, suffice to say that long before anyone heard of Microsoft, Bill Gates was getting his start writing software FOR the Mims' Altair.

                   "Life is a science fair project"
                                       --Forrest Mims III 

When you listen to this interview, you're going to hear the story of a very happy, fulfilled man. And a very successful man. But you won't hear him talk about wealth. Is he wealthy? I don't know. I don't think so. His greatest interests have never seemed to be about wealth, just about having enough money to have the freedom to explore his science projects, and he's done that. Now, if you're following most of the pop-philosophy out there, you'll often hear people say things like "Don't think about getting rich. Just do what you love and the wealth will come." That always bothers me. I know people who are successful in what they love. I know guys who are wealthy. Both groups are happy, but the wealthy one are not necessarily successful at doing what they love, and the ones who are successful at what they love are not necessarily wealthy. Money isn't the spiritual reward, happiness is. A metaphysical rule I can get behind is that "you stand a better chance of getting what you put your attention to." That law is verifiable and repeatable, and "verifiable and repeatable" are a scientific standard. Am I suggesting wealth and fulfillment are mutually exclusive? Not at all. You CAN have one or the other. You CAN have both. Just that you stand a better chance of getting whatever you want if you focus on exactly what you want (personally, I'll go for fulfillment and wealth). Whatever your choice, go after it with a sense of joy and humor and it'll be a worthwhile ride.

I think it's also important to mention that not only is Mims a renown scientist, but he's also a creationist. And that got him into some hot water--it got him booted off the staff of Scientific American. But a real scientist (and I'd wager to say, someone who really has faith) doesn't allow a conflict between science and belief. I couldn't imagine him allowing his beliefs interfering with his scientific ethics. Something that Scientific American seems to have failed at.

So without further ado, check out this exciting interview! (Some of it may be a bit nerdy and technical, but the stories are so much fun that you can gloss over those bits, or look 'em up later).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reblog: See how Ray Dalio, "Hedge Fund Genius," credits meditation for his inspiration

When I used to run regular self-development events, I had a lot of people coming to me who worked in various aspects of business, things like financial services, sales, management and of course entrepreneurs. A lot of them were looking for ways to increase their creativity, confidence and saavy. There are a lot of NLP & hypnosis techniques that can be used to great effect, and other stuff as well. I'd also always felt basic meditation was a great way to give yourself the focus you needed, but I wasn't sure it was a "business-like" topic to introduce--but to my surprise, I had a lot of hardcore business folks approaching me about meditation! It seems that many of the business-motivation authors and speakers sung the benefits of meditation to help business people achieve success.

I always like to read stories of the way real, successful people are actually employing these things, and here's a brief but excellent portrait from Daily

Ray Dalio, Hedge Fund Genius, Says Meditation Is Secret to His Success

by IBTimes Nov 12th 2013 11:51AM

One of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world attributes his success to a daily meditation regimen.

"I've been doing it for 44 years, twice a day for 20 minutes," says Ray Dalio, the guru behind Bridgewater Associates, speaking at Tuesday's NYTimes Dealbook Conference. "It's such a great investment ... more than any other factor in my success. It opens up the two sides of the brain, brings a creativity and open-mindedness." He adds, "It allows you to clear your head and bring an equanimity to everything."
There's more! Read the whole article here:

And if you want to get started with your own practice, check out my book "Everybody's Meditation Book." I wrote it specifically for people who want to get started right away, but don't want to have to learn exotic terminology or buy incense and candles. Over 20 different techniques for different approaches and different goals and purposes, because different people have different needs and tastes. There's also a great chapter on stress management full of practical approaches gleaned from my years in high-stress, high speed Madison Avenue Advertising agencies.

Friday, November 8, 2013

REPOST: The Addams Family: The most well-adjusted family on television?

Self-Esteem--Internal Validation and External Validation

Every Halloween, I seem to end up in at least one discussion comparing The Addams Family to The Munsters, the two royal families of spooky B&W era TV. I always have fun looking for the psychological archetypes in things like this, in this case, specifically the issue of personal validation. Some people get the approval they need for to develop a positive self-image from within themselves (usually by meeting their own goals and principles) and those people are often called "internally validated". Other people get the cues to develop their positive self-image from outside themselves, in terms of accolades from friends and family, meeting societal goals, making money or winning prizes.To me, there's a clear divide between these two royal families, and my discussion usually goes something like this:

The Munsters/Addams divide is very interesting. On one level, the Munsters were a campy stereotype immigrant family, while the Addams' were strictly old-money. Two different spins on the American experience. On another level, the Munsters are "externally validated" and live entirely for the approval of others. The Addams are "internally validated" and totally comfortable with themselves as long as they live up to their own standards. The Munsters are ashamed of their unique qualities, while the Addams' celebrate and enjoy them. (Only Grandpa Munster is unabashed, and continually has to be reigned in).

I'd even go so far as to say that you can learn a lot about a person's own system of validation, and the way that feel about their own place within society based on which TV show they prefer. In my experience, Business people, early risers, team sports players and dog owners all seem to like The Munsters while artists, night owls, individual sports players and cat fanciers see to prefer The Addams Family. (of course, that's meant with a little silliness involved, don't take it too seriously!).

Anyway, I just came across this fun post on another blog, and thought I'd share it with you. Whaddaya think?

Nicked from NESSBOW.COM

The Addams Family: The most well-adjusted family on television?

I was watching an interview today with the four remaining members of the original Addams Family.  It was very entertaining, and I especially liked the comment made by John Astin (who played the original Gomez Addams) that at the time, the Addams Family were probably the best role models on television.  When I thought about it, I realised that he was right.  In the age of the Brady Bunch, the Beverly Hilbillies and Lost in Space, the Addams’ clan provided more positive family messages than most programs at the time.  Don’t believe me?  Read on…

Gomez and Morticia
Gomez and Morticia Addams have always been portrayed as a loving, romantic couple.  They spend a great deal of time alone with one another, and aren’t afraid to show their affection in front of others.  John Astin passed comment that Gomez and Morticia were the only couple on TV at the time who actually touched one another, and contrasts them with the tepid, polite partnership seen between Mike and Carol Brady.  He remarks that “You can see how it would come to be that Gomez and Morticia would actually have children”, and that every other couple on TV at the time seemed to have found their children in the cabbage patch.  Another positive thing about Gomez and Morticia’s relationship is that, while they often compete against one another, in fencing, chess and other persuits, they rarely keep score and never seem to argue with one another.  Also, despite spending plenty of time together, Gomez and Morticia also have their own interests and hobbies that they indulge separately.  Morticia loves gardening, music and the dark arts, whereas Gomez prefers reading, cigars and model trains.  They respect one another’s space and show interest in eachother’s pursuits.  Overall, the two senior Addams’ complement one another perfectly, and have a well-rounded, affectionate relationship that is neither tepid nor co-dependent.

Sibling rivalry?
While Wednesday and Pugsly do like to play pranks on one another, they generally get along quite well.  They often help one another with projects and work well together.  Although Wednesday is often seen to commit acts that could be dangerous to her brother’s life (such as strapping him into an electric chair or shooting an apple off his head with a bow and arrow), it would appear that she does these things out of curiosity, rather than a desire to harm Pugsly.  The Addams siblings seem to view one another as accomplices, rather than rivals.  This can be contrasted with the sharp rivalries and bitterness exhibited by the Brady siblings, particularly Jan and Marcia.

Extended family.
The Addams clan had two members of their extended family who shared their home: Uncle Fester and Grandmama.  Each of these older relatives were usually treated with respect and kindness.  The Addams’ children often go to Uncle Fester for advice and generally look up to him as a source of important information (such as knowledge about various explosives).  Grandmama is the unofficial matriarch of the family, and is treated kindly and respectfully by all.  This is quite different to the treatment of extended family members in other programs, who tend to be portrayed as doddering or irritating.

Treatment of house staff
The Addam’s had a butler, Lurch, who was always treated as though he was one of the family.  He was often seen to participate in family activities, and appears to be a close friend and confidante of Gomez and Fester especially.  The children were always kind to Lurch, and never forgot their manners when speaking to him.  Lurch was always treated as a human being and friend rather than as hired help (although whether or not Lurch is human is debatable). 

The family had a wide range of pets, all of whom were well cared for and greatly loved by all members of the family.  Morticia took great pains to prepare meals for her carnivorous plant, Cleopatra, and Wednesday rarely let her spider, Homer, out of her sight.  Pugsly also had an octupus named Aristotle and the family had a lion named Kitty Cat.  Thing is a pet of Gomez’s from his childhood.  This empathy for all creatures great and small (and slimy, and hairy) sends out a very positive message.

Just be yourself.
The overarching message that I draw from the Addams Family is that you should always be happy with who you are, and you should never tone down your own personality to please anybody else.  The Addam’s were as weird and strange as they come, and yet, they were totally oblivious to this fact.  They didn’t seem to care that none of their neighbours enjoyed playing with instruments of torture or traipsing through a swamp.  Furthermore, they never persecuted any of their ‘normal’ guests for being different, but rather accepted them for who they were.

There are an awful lot of positive messages imbedded within this classic program.  Rather than sitting kids down in front of Dora the Explorer (who is always wandering around unsupervised) and In The Night Garden (who frankly act like they are all on crack), buy them a copy of the Addams family DVDs and sit down and enjoy them together without a speck of guilt.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A quick Comment About Knowledge vs. Wisdom

I've been lucky in some ways, in that I've lived many lives. I spent a number of years as an athlete (a good 10 years in competition), in big businesses (20 years), art, and some other exotic arenas before being drawn into personal coaching, hypnosis and NLP.

In any endeavor, business, marriage, music, martial arts, whatever, there are certain phases a person hors through. The first is the RAH-RAH phase, where everything is wonderful and amazing. The next phase is the crisis, the "what am I doing with my life"! phase. If you make it through that, and some people decide it's the time to quit, is the experience phase, where you finally have a clear perspective. Everything you've learned before the crisis is knowledge, but after the crisis what you begin to acquire is wisdom. (and part of that wisdom is that this cycle will probably repeat itself over and over again). Now, when someone in the rah-rah stage wants to dispute me about something I know very well, all I can do is shrug and wonder how soon before they catch up.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Ways Authority Affects People

Some time ago, I wrote some articles about authority (All Hypnosis is Authoritarian), but I thought I'd go over it again specifically, with a little more detail.

To start, let's define authority. According to the Oxford English Dictionary:
1 [mass noun] the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience: he had absolute authority over his subordinates a rebellion against those in authority
2 (often authorities) a person or organization having political or administrative power and control..
3 [mass noun] the power to influence others, especially because of one’s commanding manner or one’s recognized knowledge about something
(Abridged from:

In my last article, I suggested that when faced with a compelling authority, people will either comply, rebel or surrender. I thought it would be worthwhile to explore these in a little more depth with a little more detail. As you read these, see whether you can think of examples that you've already experienced or observed, and whether thinking bout it explicitly might give you more control in the future.

Comply-- In the face of authority, many will comply. A teacher, a boss, or other figure says, "do it!" and (many) people do it. In a well structured and regulated society, there's a kind of chain of order, and those higher up on the chain are qualified to direct the people underneath them, so that when they give an order, the ones below will obey. (at least, that's the theory). In an abstract perspective, the people below obey the people above for the sake of order and society. That's surely a possible motivation, but people certainly are motivated by more immediate and personal needs and feelings. In practice, people will obey a higher authority because there's an advantage to themselves. This might sound a little mercenary, but it doesn't have to be. While it's obvious that an employee will obey the boss for the sake of his paycheck, and a prisoner will obey his guards for privileges or to avoid punishment, that's not the only reason people comply. A person will obey another on trust, if that the person they're obeying has their best interests at heart. The advantage could be something external to the person, or it could be simply an investment in the relationship.
Rebel-- Not everyone obeys an authority. If the command runs counter to a person's own interests, or sense of identity, or offers no advantage, they may refuse to comply. If the authority presses more force, the mind might resist it with more force, or run away. People rebel when a situation really runs in opposition to their needs and feelings or when they can perceive a threat of some sort. History is full of examples where people have taken a stand against injustice or tyranny and rebelled against it.Sadly, we've also seem examples where people have decided they are more qualified to be the authority, and they rebelled against the existing authority to take control. Teenagers, as they begin to mature and perceive themselves as individuals separate from the family and surroundings, will usually rebel against authority to discover the boundaries of their powers and where they sit in the social hierarchy. Rebelling can be a form of testing the boundaries. It's not uncommon in other areas, too. In business, a new executive may rebel against the established order of the company in a bid to become the new authority. Rebelling is as much a test of will and power as it it a rejection or an escape.
Surrender-- When  person surrenders to authority, they do so because they feel they have no power to do anything else. The person who complies gets something out of it, the person who rebels still feels they have some power and control and refuses to give it up, but when a person perceives he has nothing to gain and not the power to resist, he may surrender to the authority. If you're the authority, this might sound like exactly what you want, since you're getting compliance without rebellion and don't have to worry about the needs of your underlings. But think about it. Is it really ideal? Imagine you're a military commander and you have some enemy soldiers who've surrendered to you. Do you trust them? Or do you have to set guards to watch them 24 hours a day, for fear they'll escape, rebel or sabotage the rest of your soldiers or your command. People who've surrendered are like this. They've given up because they've reached the bottom, but it doesn't mean they'll stay there. A person who's surrendered may well grasp at the first opportunity they have to rebel, and they may also find other ways to rebel that are less likely to be detected. In offices, it's not uncommon for an employee who's feeling beaten to get even by pilfering supplies or sabotaging the day to day workings of the company. (I personally experienced working with a guy who's sabotage consisted of trashing the bathrooms and stuffing up the toilets!).
For a person in a position of authority, surrender might superficially seem like an ideal solution, but getting compliance by taking the others' needs into consideration works much better in the long run. 

There's one other response some people have to authority that's important to touch on, which I think is best described as transference. In psychology, transference is a word used to describe when a person transfers their feelings for one person to another as a surrogate. An abusive spouse, for example, might be transferring their anger from a parent to a spouse, for example. A person who's musician-spouse may have died might transfer their feelings to another musician they meet. Hostages with "Stockholm Syndrome" captives develop a sympathy for their captors, a funny kind of transference where they transfer their trust and understanding to the people they should trust least.

You will sometimes find someone who is under the auspices of a strong, maybe oppressive, authority, and they seem to comply even though there's no obvious advantage to them, and they may even suffer abuse from that force they comply with. Sometimes the compliance increases with the level of force put upon them. Are they masochists? (If so, that would then be something that satisfies their needs, so that would be compliance, not transference!). If you watch them with their underlings or peers, you might find that they are behaving in an authoritarian manner, maybe bossing and abusing the others. Though they get no direct benefit to complying with the authority, they take on the air of dominance, and see the power of the person over them as extending through them.

A Look at NLP for Sales People

I do apologize for not being able to post much to the blog, recently. I've been getting some great feedback from readers regarding past articles, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it in the near future.

I often get inquiries from people about whether NLP can be used for business purposes such as sales, and how and where they can find out more information. Here's a recent response I have to just such an inquiry. If you've been wondering about this, i hope this give you a good place to start!

Hi Dale,
NLP is a kind of a toolbox of techniques and approaches that can apply to all kinds of things, so, yeah, it can be a little daunting.
So the first thing I'd ask, is what areas do you feel you'd like to work on first? There are NLP approaches that can be applied to other people or to yourself. Off the top of my head some of the areas these could be applied might be:
·   Improving your own confidence and creativity to find leads and/or approach clients.
·   Using well chosen language to present your products in an irresistibly appealing light.
·   Using "rapport skills" facilitate powerful connections with clients.
·   Getting a clear insight into the client's needs (which he may not even be aware of!) by looking at the cues he gives off in his way of speaking and body language.
It's best to pick one area and work on that first, until you get solid results. The good news is that a lot of NLP techniques work quickly, and they're fun!

Depending on what areas you'd like to work on, I can make a lot of recommendations. For confidence issues, you might want to check out the old classic "Frogs into Princes" by Bandler and Grinder. A good, accessible book on ways to learn about a client's inner issues by decoding the way he moves his eyes, you can check out "Instant Rapport" by Brooks (it's a bit overly complicated, to my tastes, but very educational). Bandler and LaValle put out several products geared towards sales people which are excellent. I can't remember the exact titles, but they come under the Design Human Engineering (DHE) umbrella.

And while it's not really NLP, The books and tapes put out by Richard Dawson are the best I’ve ever come across on the topic of negotiation.
I hope that gives you a good place (or couple of places) to start with. I don’t currently do workshops these days, but I’m happy to answer questions, and I’m available for private consultations.
I can be reached at, and my website is