Milton Erickson was a remarkable man who revolutionised the world of Hypnotherapy. Even though he was the pre-eminent hypnotherapist and hypnotherapist trainer his methods have become the source from which such a practical approach as the Solutions Focused have been largely based.
Some while back I was struggling with the problem of inadequate confidence. You know the sort of thing – feeling tongue tied in the company of people I didn’t know well. The problem was confidence and I spent some time focusing on trying to resolve it. At some point I realized something, and that was trying to be more confident wasn’t working and what I need was an antidote. Something completely different and radical, that would engage me in a way whereby confidence or no confidence wasn’t actually in my thoughts. I found that antidote was curiosity. Stop trying to be confident and get curious. Stop trying to stop the problem and start the solution. Be curious about the person you’re talking to. It’s not about what you have to say about yourself it’s what they have to say about themselves.
As an experiment a bunch of strangers where put in a room and given the instruction to mingle. Only one person was told that they could not say a single thing about themselves and must just find out as much as possible about the people there. At the end of the session the people were asked who they had met and who they had found the most interesting company, and you guessed it – the person who came top was the one who had asked them about themselves – whilst they didn’t know anything about him!
Give it a go – feel tongue tied in company – don’t know what to say? Then get curious ask them about themselves. Do you want to develop excellent conversation skills than check out and learn ‘Active listening skills’- These are what therapists used to put their clients at ease and they work equally well in general company.
How about feeling hurt by another’s words? Been trying really hard to be less reactive and think you would benefit from being less sensitive? Tough one this ‘cos when we are stung into strong emotion it’s hard to remember the ‘better way’. Just consider this, what might the antidote be? My suggestion is kindness. Sounds unlikely but worth a try??
What might help is remembering that kindness isn’t essentially about what you are doing for someone else; in fact all you might be doing is simply being less reactive in ways which failed in the past. The ‘Kindness’ is so that you stay connected to that state of mind for yourself!
Milton Erickson used hypnotherapy and hypnotherapy training to facilitate rapid and lasting change. One of the reasons was his emphasis on connecting up his clients to their strengths and focusing on the outcome. Hypnotherapy trains the mind so that old unsuccessful ways of doing things are redirected by our creative intelligence to do things better.
Until the next time,