Approximately 100 years ago, a neuroscientist named Dr. Sigmund Freud abandoned hypnosis as a tool for helping patients overcome neuroses in favor of free association. He called this new method of analysis through free association “psychoanalysis,” a methodology that has influenced mental health since its nascence. But why did Freud abandon hypnotherapy and create this new methodology for treating neurological issues? Was it because hypnotherapy didn’t work? Was it because Freud found it difficult to hypnotize his patients? Or was it his ego? Perhaps there was more benefit to himself in developing a new methodology for treating patients as opposed to using a centuries old methodology with a proven track record?
While I can’t imagine a doctor making self-serving decisions in the treatment of his patients, I can imagine that a man living in turn-of-the-century Austria may be a person who seeks significance in his professional life, and whatever contributes to that increase in significance may increase in perceived value to him as a course of treatment for using on his patients. Given that we do not have a time travel machine (yet) with which to go back in time and ask Freud why he abandoned hypnotherapy in favor of psychotherapy, we are each free to make our own decisions based on our life and professional experiences.
From my experience utilizing hypnosis to help otherwise healthy, high-functioning people experience breakthroughs and achieve peak performance, I see great value in people everywhere educating themselves on what hypnosis is (and is not) and learning the best way to leverage self-hypnosis for their personal and professional benefit in everyday life. I mean, we are all being “hypnotized” every day by people who want us to spend more money, buy more stuff, and behave in ways that benefit their desired outcomes, regardless of whether or not that behavior is in our best interest.
Find that hard to believe? Think back to the last time you listened to a commercial on YouTube or TV and ended up buying the product or signing up for the service; consider the last public speaker you watched deliver his message and found yourself enraptured by the idea he was espousing; remember the last time you read a good book and completely lost track of time. Each of these is an example where a person outside of yourself captured your imagination, harnessed it for his benefit, and then succeeded in delivering a message (i.e. idea, concept, product, etc.) to you in order get you to do something. Whether you like it or not, you (and I and everyone around us) is being “hypnotized” every single day. Just because you don’t see a swinging pocket watch in front of your face, or the person doing the hypnotizing is not wearing a gold chain, doesn’t mean you are not being hypnotized. Once you accept this reality, you can do something about it and take back control of your attention and leverage it for your own benefit instead.
Taking back control of what our mind focuses on is of paramount importance to me. Everywhere I look, I see people whose ability to perform optimally is limited by disempowering stories that they have been fed repeatedly over the years, whether directly or indirectly by their family, by the media, or by society at large. Do you know what the worst part of this is? The worst part is that 99% of these people don’t even realize that these limiting beliefs stem from outside influences; instead, most people blame themselves for their lack of success and attribute their failures directly to themselves and their shortcomings. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Very soon, machines will take over in many functions currently performed by humans. As machine learning advances rapidly, humans must take back control over the focus of their minds in order to limit distractions, gain maximum mental clarity, and unleash their peak performance in everything they do. Currently, society’s leaders are those who have learned how to harness human nature and leverage people for their benefit; the leaders of tomorrow will be those who learn how to harness the human mind and leverage machines for their benefit.