Monday, 20 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Final Part

For many situations, acceptance alone will eliminate negative thinking, but not all. You need another strategy for when your emotions are RAGING. And this is the discipline of SURRENDER.

Before you can understand this second discipline, you need a basic understanding of your emotions.

Emotions are information in the form of feelings. When you experience an emotion, your body will respond with the release of hormones. This process is completely beyond conscious control at the point of feeling. Thoughts, hormones and behaviours already programmed in to your subconscious will automatically arise as soon as the emotion is felt.

If you have undertaken no training, this response will be a default. This default will be based on past experiences, quite often from childhood. The response may therefore be completely inappropriate! The level of response is also dependent on your sensitivity.

Remember that external reaction may have nothing to do with internal reaction. Some people are capable of a poker-face calm exterior when inside they are seething. It’s your internal reactions, rather than your behaviour, that will determine both your wellbeing and your performance.

Once we feel severely vexed about our situation, we enter into a kind of trance, known as the “Red Mist”, and acceptance can no longer help us. The appropriate response will surprise you.

Raging emotion is actually empowered by resistance. It feeds off the part of our awareness that says “this is wrong”. Why? Because you feel in an impossible position. On one hand you want to do the right thing, yet the “right thing” is utterly unhelpful in resolving the issue. Utterly cornered by this conflict of overpowering negativity and the inability to square it with your conscience, you will only act like any cornered animal does.

So what’s the answer? Give up. Give in. Surrender. Imagine that for some great cause or loved one, in order to save something more precious than your own life, you decide to sacrifice yourself, drop all resistance, and prepare to die. Another picture is to imagine that an alien has been trying to take over your mind. Knowing it will only possess a loved one if you resist, you drop your guard, and allow the creature full access to your mind. Another picture is consenting to receive a general anaesthetic, and to allow yourself to slip into unconsciousness and lose all control, or to submit your will to that of a hypnotist, and his soothing voice, in the absence of all resistance, seems to fill your being.

Of course this is the last thing you would want or think of doing, but letting go in this way has a very surprising effect. Rather than be overwhelmed, you will find yourself calming right down. Depriving the emotion of resistance also deprives it of its power over you. Being you, vulnerable and weak, as in reality everyone is at some point, surrendering to this fact means you are no longer fear it, and fear is the fuel of all negative emotion.

Apply all disciplines I have described and you will completely banish doubt from your mind. Keep your attention firmly on your intention in every waking moment, seize the opportunities in every moment, even if they are not what you’d prefer, and when your awareness is raided by the “Monsters From The ID”, instead of fighting them, completely surrender to them, and they will evaporate like fading memories.

You have everything necessary within your life to succeed, and you always did. What’s been holding you back is simply erroneous ideas handed down to you by others that you have unwittingly taken on and believed. You can override this conditioning rapidly and easily if you have a single burning passion. Harness your attention to this passion, practice emotional intelligence to ride straight through your own mental/emotional obstacles and nothing and no one can stop you. Every time you encounter a disappointment, a rejection, a wrong turn, it only makes you stronger.

…So, are you going to continue letting your attention and emotions wander undisciplined through your mind, sowing doubt and sabotaging all your efforts, or are you going to start doing what you love and loving what you do? An obvious choice perhaps, but to truly change, that choice must be recognised and consciously made.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 7

For the sake of this example, you are stuck in morning rush hour traffic:

How do you feel about it? Angry and frustrated probably. You are going to be late and you’re aware of all the things that now won’t go smoothly. Your head is now full of a maelstrom of negative thought.

Can anyone here control the thoughts that pop into their heads? No you can’t. The standard response is a counter-thought (such as “no that is not helpful for me to feel that”) but this doesn’t work because your blood is already up!

You cannot argue with a thought that has a tidal wave of emotion powering it!
So don’t argue with the thought you’re going to be late. Agree with it! Yes I’m going to be late. I’ve every right to feel annoyed!
Now ask this question that works anywhere: What is this an opportunity for?

You now bring in to play a simple skill you’re already using every day, but you tend to keep reserved for tasks and lectures, it is your attention. Your attention is absolutely crucial to emotional intelligence. What has your attention has your emotions, your thoughts and your behaviour. Your attention is not just for tasks and lectures, it should be under your conscious direction every waking minute. If you don’t, it will go looking for trouble because that’s what it’s evolved to do – (that’s how you survived on the African Savannah!)

So here you are in your car. What is it an opportunity for?

In any situation, action, thought and emotion need to sing from the same songsheet. And the conductor of the choir is your attention. Your attention however needs a positive incentive – what’s the payoff of giving this my attention, because if there’s a payoff, your emotions will fall in line. This works for any task, no matter how dull.

You’re now practising the discipline of acceptance, the ability to maximise the opportunities in every single situation. It will give you an edge over Fred Bloggs, because Fred Bloggs is wasting his energy resenting what isn’t there. In any unfavourable environment, practise the discipline of acceptance.

So going back to our example of being gridlocked:
This is not great and I have the right to be annoyed about it!
So what is this an opportunity for? Meditation? Phoning a friend? Notation?
What’s the payoff? Can I suggest getting to work in a much healthier state?
Give this opportunity your full attention, be aware of the payoff in doing it, and thought, feelings and behaviour will be transformed into powerful allies.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 6

If you are wracked by doubt, by insecurity, by worry, it’s coming from the fact that stored away in your subconscious is a memory of bad experience that’s ringing a big bell that says I AM NOT COMFORTABLE! Now of course we all have to endure some discomfort, but there’s no escaping the fact that discomfort impairs judgement, and the greater the discomfort, the lower your judgement. Who in their right mind would make a major business decision when they are desperate for the toilet?

So, to summarise up to this point, the origin of all negative thinking is MONSTERS FROM THE ID, bad feelings that have come from bad experiences. If you want to banish the doubt, if you want to be rid of negative thinking, you must have some way of changing your feelings.

You need to learn emotional intelligence, because emotional intelligence reaches the parts positive thinking cannot reach. No matter how stirring the team talk, no matter how wise the words, no leader or coach will ever get the best out of his players if he does not understand their individual emotions and how to manage them.

Emotional Intelligence is the key to revolutionising your life and changing you from an aerial, simply being affected by others to a transmitter, who profoundly affects others.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, manage and control the
emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. So you see, once you have mastered this ability, not only will you change yourself, you will change others too. It is an extremely powerful skill once mastered.

I would really have liked to have learned this a lot earlier, because I would have coped a lot better, made better decisions and be a lot further on. But, at least I now get it. Most of the “aerials” out there never become “transmitters”, so I will count my blessings!

Now there are many different models and methods of emotional intelligence, but as a business person I suspect you don’t want to be bombarded with a load of conflicting psychological theory to choose from, so instead I would like to give you one that works, that’s easy to follow.

The first model I want to teach you is called acceptance, a technique for dealing with an unfavourable environment.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 5

So, what happens when what you’re experiencing feels uncomfortable? You feel distressed! You will feel sadness or anger or suffering. And the more uncomfortable you feel, the more distress you feel and if that distress gets strong enough it will override any other consideration.

There is another way you can get distressed, and that’s to have a source of comfort taken from you, and if that loss is big enough, the distress will again explode out of you. For example, most people agree that the most stressful thing that can happen to you, the greatest mental anguish of all is bereavement, the death of a loved one. Anyone who has been bereaved will tell you that they will be never be the person they were before being bereaved. Why is this important? Because it will affect your performance as a business person.

In your life, you will have several big experiences, and what makes them big is the degree of comfort or discomfort you experienced. A really crucial time is between 4 and 8 years old. In this period a phenomenon known as imprinting takes place. What you experienced then is having a direct impact on your business right now. A large part of your emotional responses to situations now was first moulded back then. You see, at that age, you have mastered language, so now you can give things labels like good and bad.

You have a bad experience at that age, and everything to do with that experience will be labelled bad. And similarly everything associated with really good experience will be labelled good. This is why ordinary objects and situations can evoke really powerful emotions, because you associate that situation or object with a traumatic or exciting event. And the bad news is that once that association has been imprinted, it is not easily shifted.

With experience comes ideas, mental maps of how things are in relation to each other, and ideas get built into beliefs, mental maps of how the universe behaves. All these beliefs are built into our concept of reality. So you may be able to see straight away that reality is not objective - we don’t all experience the same reality, we all experience an individual reality which even at best has only some things in common with others.

Now, if you’re a fairly observant person, you may also see that there’s a recipe for conflict brewing up here, because quite often there is a mismatch between how we’re told it is and what we personally have experienced, between what we’re told is important and what you think is important, between how we’re told it feels and how it feels to you, and that conflict is going to undermine your performance in a team.

If you are familiar with computers, you will know that a picture file is not just stored as a picture. It comes with tags. These tags can tell you the format of the picture, the size, the number of individual pixels, who created it, when they created it and so on. In the same way, every word you hear now, every experience you have now, is evoking some kind of feeling. Exactly what is being evoked depends not only on how something is communicated, but on your beliefs, which depend entirely on your ideas, which depend entirely on your unique individual experiences, so no wonder that people misunderstand each other so often.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


To get a grip on your emotions, you need to have a basic understanding of what’s going on in your head. You will probably know that your awareness lives in the brain, an extremely powerful organic computer. More powerful and with more memory than the most powerful computer today, and with more nerve cells than there are stars in the sky, it is a truly impressive organ.

This organ is operated by a highly sophisticated suite of software known as THE MIND. The mind is not a physical thing, it is patterns of energy like any software. This software operates a bit like an iceberg, with most of it under the waterline, unseen by the user.

Most of your mind is beyond your conscious awareness. Called the subsconscious, it is a massive database of stored memories and behaviour.
Like Microsoft Windows it comes with a default.
This default doesn’t do logic! Why not?

Your default mode is geared to survival on the African Savannah, where we Homo Sapiens evolved from the last nearly extinct remnant of our predecessor Homo Erectus. Grab it when you can, hoard what you can, and when times are good, breed like mad! That’s what helped you survive in the primal past.

Clearly, the default mode is just not applicable to modern civilisation! This means that your mind needs configuring.

Oddly, the ability to re-configure your mind has been around for millennia, but the trouble has been who’s been keeping the knowledge. Back in the African Savannah, the guy who dealt with wellbeing was the Shaman, who became the priest, the cleric, the llama and so on, and as religion and spirituality has become increasingly divided, and the knowledge fragmented, here in the West everyone eventually got a bit fed up with this, and wellbeing was taken up by the scientists, but they limited themselves to stuff they could measure, and you can’t really measure feelings and emotions.

Fortunately, we live in the information revolution, and all this disparate knowledge is now getting pooled online! Now you don’t have to sign up for a faith, change faith, or abandon your own faith to get the information, and you can utilise the wisdom of the ancients without compromising your own conscience.
What I’m teaching suits any spirituality or none.

Let us first get a basic understanding of our emotions. They are fundamental to who you are, even more fundamental than thinking. Feeling and emotion and desire were there in your life long before language. All emotions are hardwired to lead you to a fundamental desire, the desire of desires. There is a basic fundamental desire we all have - we had it at birth, we still have it and it will be there at death – it is to be comfortable. When I ask my hypnotherapy clients which feeling they want to feel above any other feeling, they invariably say PEACE, because when you’ve been troubled, that’s your idea of comfort.

Any pleasure or desire you can think of, the bottom line is COMFORT. We all want to be peaceful and comfortable. You want what you want because you think that when you’ve got it, you will experience comfort. Even adrenalin junkies! But there is a problem. Your primal instincts don’t want to wait to be comfortable, they want you to be comfortable NOW!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 3

Why are so many of us if not all of us experiencing our success being sabotaged from within? Clearly it’s something subconscious because I have absolutely no conscious desire to fail. I want to win, and I want to win BIG! I know exactly where I want to be and where I want to go. So why in certain situations have I screwed up for absolutely no logical reason?

What causes experienced penalty takers to miss penalties? It would be pretty handy to find out wouldn’t it? I would give us something of an edge. Well good news, I’m going to tell you. It’s not something I discovered personally, it’s been known and documented for thousands of years. It was never lost, it’s never been a secret, it’s never been suppressed or covered up, it’s just been plain ignored, possibly because you can’t measure it. That is one great oversight, one great flaw in Western business thinking and intellectual thinking in general – if we can’t measure it, it’s not important. This is plain wrong! Who makes a business successful? It’s people isn’t it? Can you measure human nature? Bizarrely, one man argued you can.

He was named Francis Galton and he invented PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING in the 19th Century. He was the first to propose that if we ask the right questions, do the right tests and measure the responses, we will know exactly how someone will perform. Unfortunately it’s not that simple! It’s also pretty rich coming from someone who had a nervous breakdown as a young man!

Yes you can get a general idea of someone’s aptitude and attitude, but if you think psychometric testing will tell you what someone will do when it comes down to it, you will soon find out that it’s not a very accurate science. As Gerald Ratner has taught us, great performers make gaffs! I’m sure Gerald would have passed every psychometric test going, but no one saw the business “clanger of clangers” coming did they? Least of all Mr. Ratner himself!

My other objection to the use of psychometric testing is that as well as being an unreliable measure, it is an unreliable snapshot of how that person was on that day. It takes no account whatsoever of someone’s potential. People change, they learn and grow, they are being constantly remoulded by their experience.
You are all not the person you were five years ago, and in five years the person you are now will be dead, there will be a new person with your memories but a different perspective.

So then, if you can’t measure it, what is this X-Factor, this hidden phenomenon that is sabotaging us from within, undermining, overriding and negating every positive thinking strategy you’ve heard of? It has several names. In Buddhism and Taoism, it is called the Mind Monkey. Psychologist Sigmund Freud called it the ID – it can also be thought of as the elephant in the room, the “bull in the china shop”, the ghost in the machine, the gremlin in your morale. It is negative emotion.
Negative emotion, (fear, hate and anger) is a very basic very primal force that drives us all and it can override our most sincere beliefs, our strictest taboos, and our firm intentions. Nothing within you can overcome the monsters from the ID, these beasts from the subconscious. In fact they thrive on resistance and suppression. The more you try and pack down your darkest emotions into some deep dungeon within your mind, the greater the pressure, and suppress them hard enough for long enough and one dark day you will find them explosively released all over your life.

The monsters from the ID do not do logic, explanation, argument or containment. The only weapon you have against your emotion is another emotion, and I will show you how to wield that weapon in in the next part.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 2

By the time I have concluded this essay, you will have stopped committing a crime against yourself that you didn’t even know you were committing – the crime of subconscious self-sabotage. It is a psychological phenomenon positively rampant in our culture today, and most obvious in England’s performance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where some very talented individuals simply did not translate their talent into success. If they undeniably had the talent, there can only be one reason they failed, and that was due to what was going on in their heads.

Clearly, there must be something more to this positive thinking lark than the standard stuff people are taught, and by the end of this essay, you will have that missing piece from the puzzle, the techniques that will blow away those mental barriers you didn’t know you had.

I’d like to begin with a common analogy used in business coaching circles, and it’s often used as a “closer”. I however am going to use it as an opener. It concerns a £20 note:
Would anyone like this nice new £20 note?
Would anyone like this scrunched up £20 note?
Would anyone like this £20 that I’ve trodden on?

The answer of course is YES to all three because no matter where it’s been it’s still worth £20. Similarly, no matter what has happened to you in your life, no matter how much failure, rejection and betrayal you have suffered, you are still of value, you still have worth, you can still make a difference.

That’s great, and you can accept that intellectually and logically. But there’s a flawed assumption in the fundamental idea of positive thinking, which I will come to shortly, but before I do, let’s look at the theory of positive thinking itself.

All positive thinking coaching boils down to one statement – I heard it first as a child and it’s annoyed the hell out of me ever since – think happy thoughts. If you think happy thoughts you will feel happy, behave happy and consequently your life will be happy. Fantastic, if it works. Of course, on many a coaching course, this simple message is delivered in a more sophisticated manner. You get told that there are many thoughts going on in your head at any one time. Some of these are positive and some of these are negative. You give your attention to the positive thoughts, focus on them and you will feel positive, you will behave positive and your whole life will become positive.

Of course positive thinking is not without some merit. Some people can follow these guiding principles and sure enough they improve. I have found myself that focusing on positive thoughts helped, and took me so far, but having developed to a certain point, I found I was hitting walls.

I found that certain people had the ability to push all my negative buttons and turn me into a rage monster or a gibbering tongue-tied failure despite all my training. I found that some contexts and situations I could not handle, again despite all my training, and I started to observe quite a few business gurus “lose it” as well. I observed sports stars that had top coaches who were nevertheless underperforming in certain situations. But the event that had the most profound effect on my thinking was Gerald Ratner and his famous “my products are crap” speech. How could such a successful talented businessman make such a crass mistake with all his knowledge?

Sunday, 31 October 2010


Banish the doubt that’s stopping you from succeeding!

· Are Negative Thoughts preventing you from achieving business success... and you’re not even aware of it?
· Here are practical and realistic ways to overcome negative thinking, doubts and worries that can prevent you from experiencing the business success you deserve.
· Liberate your thinking and achieve only success for your business!

I’d like to start by debunking two myths concerning life’s certainties. You may have heard that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. That’s a bit depressing isn’t it? No wonder people get a bit negative about life! I’m pleased to inform you that they are untrue. DEATH is not a certainty about life. Death is by definition not life, so it’s not a certainty about life itself, so it doesn’t count. TAXES are definitely not certain because it’s quite possible to avoid them if you were really that determined.

Life’s certainties are in fact:
Is there anybody here who doesn’t want to feel good?

Feeling good is actually also the meaning of life. It really is that simple. Who wants to spend a lifetime feeling bad? Who would want to go on living if there was no chance of feeling good? Life is not a puzzle to be solved, it’s not a test that you pass or fail, life is a song, life is a rollercoaster ride, it’s a cruise, and the point is not the end.

I have studied many great philosophers my friends, and it turns out that the one who really put his finger on the meaning of life was this man James Brown, who said I feel good. That’s it! An old sixties soul number had the truth all along.

If you want to know if your life is on track, ask yourself: Are you feeling good about where you’re going? Simple as that! Some people lose sight of this. They grab hold of fame, success, power or sensuality as if that’s the goal. No that’s not the goal, that’s the vehicle, and if the vehicle’s not getting you there, you need a new vehicle. If you’re really successful and pissed off, it’s because that sort of success is no longer doing it for you, so get on a different bus! I would like to suggest btw that feeling good usually involves making others feel good too, so you may want to take that into consideration.

So then, if you wish to banish self-doubt and negative thought from your life, you need to be doing things that promote feeling good in some way, because as we will discover, if you try and leave feelings and emotions out of your strategy for positive thinking, you will quite simply underperform.
If you want a top-notch business, you need to feel good and you have to make your employees and your customers all feel good too. So first job, play a little James Brown occasionally, just to remind yourself what the purpose of it all is, to FEEL GOOD! That’s why we all do what we do.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Part 1 The Curse of The Short-Sighted Balance Sheet
If you own any kind of machine, you know full well that it requires maintenance. Parts need replacing, the insides need clearing out, and everything needs to cool down. And this principle applies every bit as much to people as it does to machines. And yet people will run mind and body into the ground until it stops working. This is the Curse of The Short-Sighted Balance Sheet.

If I don't rest for one hour, I can achieve one hour's extra work people say. This disastrous false economy shows up only too well on the long balance sheet, as mind and body become increasingly inefficient, achieving less results become less flexible, less adaptable to change. In this first part I will discuss why this complete folly is so endemic in our culture and how long-term success depends on a "heads-up" not a "nose to the grindstone" attitude.

Few of us would disagree that you need to work hard if you want to get ahead, that’s certainly true, but there is some confusion over what hard work actually means. Some people take this concept of hard work and interpret it to mean perpetual work. Hard work is good for you and good for your business. Perpetual work is folly and a disaster for your business.

If you take an interest in formula one motor racing, you will know that in order to win the race, during the course of that race, you will need to make a pit-stop, which serves two purposes, to get refuelled and your tyres changed. In fact, in any long term endeavour, time out is essential for victory.

And yet, while people can see the need to service their cars and their machines, the need to maintain themselves properly is nothing like as well recognized, except in the area of sport and particularly football. No football manager who wants to be in a job next month (because that’s about as long as is tolerated without a result) runs his players into the ground. If a match is not particularly important, the really important players are not used.

My friends, there is absolutely no difference between how a football team and your team should be run. If it happens to be your business, who is the star player in your team? It is you! There cannot be a result without you. When you’re exhausted, so is your business.

And the reason you need to take care of your wellbeing is the same reason a manager takes care of his players, because if you don’t, you won’t win! You see, out there are people called competitors, and it is in their business interest to see you working at less than your best, because if they are, they’re the ones who’ll win your customers and steal your market from under you.

The folly of our time in business is that you beat the opposition by working harder, and it’s untrue. When you and your competitors are both working hard, the deciding factor is not who’s working hardest but who’s working smartest. The winner of the marathon is not the strongest, not even the fastest, it is the smartest, the one who paces himself better than anyone else, so when you’re neck and neck with 500 metres to go, you’re the one who’s got an extra sprint left in you.

My fellow business people, looking after yourself is your key to victory, your key to a result, to the success that you so much want to achieve. Success in business is about the survival of the fittest, and that doesn’t just mean your procedures, your plant, your business plan or your leadership skills.

It means you as an individual, for a business is only as good as the people in that business, and the most skilled talented people around are useless if they’re not running at peak performance. My friends, a new era is dawning in business, and like any new era it has been brought about by necessity and crisis, as across the world the folly of decades of irresponsible lending and borrowing come home to roost.

But I for one refuse to take part in a recession! I will not be cutting back, scaling down or giving up. I will be investing, and I have been and will be continuing to invest particularly in my own wellbeing. My business happens to be bringing balance and wholeness to the minds of others, and I can only do that by keeping my own mind in tip-top match-fit readiness.

My every thought, every feeling, every emotion is managed, controlled, developed, worked on, every mistake learned from, every obstacle treated positively, I have studied and go on studying the wisdom of the ancients and the wisdom of modern thought to keep my mind at the absolute peak of efficiency. And I’m not doing this to become Superman, or a holy man or as a fun hobby, I’m doing it to be successful in my business.

In this new enlightened era of business there is going to be a different emphasis. Business is becoming increasingly less business to customer and becoming increasingly more about person to person. The faceless corporation has had its day. This new dawning has come with the information revolution. Thanks to the information revolution, data, information and the channels of communication and mass market are no longer in the hands of the biggest and richest.

Now, sat at my keyboard, I can find out anything about anything, and I can buy and sell to and from whoever also has a keyboard, so who am I going to choose? It will be people I have got to know and trust. And I am not likely to buy from the stressed, the worn out, the cynical the tired, the fed-up and the too busy to talk to me.

Now more than ever, and increasingly so in the future, you will need to be positive, healthy, calm, balanced and friendly. You will not be able to hide behind a desk and the company any more, so you had better be fit and well in mind and body, because it is to the healthy, not the obsessive and the manic to whom the future of business belongs.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the wind of change blowing? The prize of survival does not go to the biggest and best, ask anyone who used to work for Lehman Brothers. It goes to those best able to adapt to changing environments.

Wellbeing is no longer an optional extra. It is becoming a key essential component of business success, and if you are a business owner you have a stark choice to make. You can convince yourself it doesn’t matter and ignore it, or you can get on the bus and take advantage of the opportunities out there to get yourself and your team at the peak of condition.

A team that is sound in mind and body and morale that is sky high will always and every time stuff the pants of a competitor where everyone’s worn out, stressed, depressed, overworked and ill. And from now on, as the individual becomes increasingly important, so wellbeing will also become more important.

But be aware also that like any other aspect of your business, it must be done right. Bringing in the masseuse every Friday might be very nice, but will not necessarily make an effective wellbeing policy. The policy must be targeted, assessed, measured for effectiveness, tweaked and fine-tuned.

The policy must address the need, not just nod in the direction of wellbeing. It must be actively sold to the team and its need recognized. Bring in practitioners who not only do therapy but truly inspire, who can make real and measurable differences to performance, who raise morale when people know they are coming.

But above all else don’t pretend it’s an issue that will go away if you ignore it. Not only will you see happier and healthier people take all your business from you, you may find yourself another victim of the litigation culture, ex-employees suing you for constructive dismissal, or your competitors head-hunting your key players because they offer a comprehensive wellbeing package.

The rise of a wellbeing orientated business-culture is not a drag to be resented, it is a win-win situation for everyone. For those of us in the wellbeing industry, our time has come. We’re no longer a fringe market for hippies and tree-huggers, we are now being drawn into the very heart of the corporate environment as our product becomes increasingly valued.

For business and even Western Culture in general, the tide is at last turning from the work all hours culture, because we’re all getting a bit fed up with living in a society where there’s so much anger and stress. Mental illness and stress-related industry is costing us all an absolute fortune in lost man-hours, labour-turnover and that’s even before we talk about the burden on the NHS. The time has come to start doing it differently, and a bit later I would like discuss some of the personal benefits of wellbeing, but for now, thanks for reading.

Part 2 Moving and Meditation
A wise man once said that all man’s problems stem from the fact that he cannot sit quietly in a room on his own for half an hour.

We live in a culture that has by and large lost the ability to truly relax. What we have instead is what has been falsely labelled recreation. What it actually is in the main is distraction. When people finish work, they often reach for a drink or turn on the telly. Neither of these activities actually do anything to restore balance to mind and body.

When you come in from a busy day, your bloodstream awash with stress hormones, your mind with a hundred different problems, what you actually need is to restore chemical balance is to something that’s going to release different chemicals in your blood that aren’t going to harm you. This is why recreational pharmaceuticals like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates and many others fall down. However entertaining they might be, they don’t restore balance to the body, in fact they upset the balance even more. They temporarily make you feel better at the price of making ill even faster!

The irony is that within your own mind and body lies the ability to make you feel how you want to feel at zero financial cost and actually make you feel better in the process! And the techniques to evoke them are very simple and have been known for thousands of years.
All these techniques can be summarised into two things, movement and meditation. One of the easiest ways to discharge all that stress hormone is simply to get yourself moving in some way. Owning a dog is absolutely excellent for stress. With a dog, you get movement and meditation in one package, because when you’re out in the fresh air, taking in a bit of nature, your mind naturally becomes calm. So if you own a dog, you’re already halfway there.

Going for a walk, preferably every day and preferably round a park is another excellent stress reducer, so invest in a Gore-Tex anorak and a jumper for winter and you’ll feel better for it. There are in fact many different excellent therapeutic ways to get yourself physically moving.

And the other thing you need to learn is how to make both mind and body still, the practise commonly known as meditation. There are two common sources of resistance to this practice. The first is the widely held and false belief that if you’re not doing something or having something done to you, you are wasting your time.

Resting is not doing nothing! This is completely untrue! While you are resting, and proper resting means learning how to become utterly still, your mind and body are actually a hive of activity - a wondrous regeneration worthy of Doctor Who takes place! Your body is being repaired and refitted in a way that I will go into shortly.

The second source of resistance is that meditation smacks of religion, hippies and mumbo-jumbo. This is because originally it was. If you wanted to learn how to still the mind you used to have to sign up with some sort of spiritual religious person, and he would teach you how to become physically and mentally still.

Of course you also had to then sign up for his religion as well, or at least do all the rituals, which was fine if that was your religion of choice, not so great if your beliefs were elsewhere.
But these days my friends we live in the information revolution, where all human knowledge and experience can be Googled, and so you don’t have to sign up with anybody to learn the ancient techniques of mind-calming and stillness, and in fact you can use them to strengthen your own beliefs or none, there are plenty of atheist meditators out there as well as the spiritual and religious ones.

Meditation in itself is purely a technique that calms mind and body and restores balance. What meditation does is to set off a whole body system known as the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest, digest and repair mechanism. It has five principal benefits:

1. Boosts immune, digestive and reproductive systems.
2. Boosts cell regeneration and prolongs life
3. Promotes clear thinking.
4. Strengthens concentration
5. Sleep better

Our ancient ancestors, who originated in West Africa, did not need to meditate because they didn’t spend all day worrying about orders, customers, bills clients and tax returns. They were surrounded by nature and it was the most natural thing in the world between hunts to calm yourself in front of the campfire. But unless your going to give everything up to live in a tribe on the African Savannah, you are going to have to artificially induce that naturally calm state.

You know, your body is incredibly patient with you. It has been designed by the mechanism of evolution to be resilient and adaptable, to cope with and adapt to every kind of environment the planet has to offer, but it cannot sustain imbalance indefinitely.

How ironic that we here in the northern hemisphere lead a lifestyle most in the third world can barely dream of, where we have eradicated diseases so prevalent in the third world like leprosy, malaria, measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis, only to make ourselves ill in all kinds of new ways because we aren’t looking after ourselves, and the time has come to get real.

However much we can control nature and shape our environments, we are products OF nature, and if we want harmony in our minds, our bodies, our relationships, our businesses, our family our country and between nations, we need to get back into harmony WITH nature, because nature is more powerful than us, and if we push nature too far as we have been doing, both to our own bodies and the planet, nature on which we all depend will stop looking after us.
If we want to be successful in business, in our relationships, and in life, we need to come to terms with the fact that we’re not islands. Our wellbeing has a direct effect on everyone else. Particularly, if you’re the boss, you set the tone for the whole place. If you are grumpy and stressed, the whole working atmosphere will be grumpy and stressed. If there is disharmony within you, your home and business will be disharmonious.

On the other hand, a team leader at peace within, is going to inspire confidence, and with confidence comes loyalty and commitment, and that means results, success, and the things you want for your life.

The science fiction writer Aldous Huxley once wisely commented Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. One of my personal heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. commented that we live in a world of guided missiles and misguided people.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are not here very long. We are only the most transient of visitors to a world that was here long before us and will be here long after we’ve gone. Let us make the very best of our day in the sun. Let’s take pleasure in the creation of our businesses, the generation and distribution of wealth and make the very best of all we have and all we’re capable of doing.

In order to that we need to be in harmony with the nature from which we arose, are still intrinsically linked to and ultimately dependent on. Look after yourself, and life will look after you.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, 25 June 2010


I would like to answer some important life questions. Firstly, why does losing and rejection feel so bad, and how do you carry on after the hundredth rejection? Is there such a thing as a rejection too far and why should we try for the 101st time? By the time I have finished, you will hopefully have a better understanding of yourself, the world you live in and the strength to carry on.

Firstly, what is it about rejection and losing that makes it feel so bad? The short answer is evolution! You have been programmed by evolution to hate rejection and to avoid losing at all costs. Unfortunately this instinct is in modern civilisation completely redundant, useless and distinctly unhelpful. If you do not learn to understand it and override it, it will completely ruin your life, as does to many on a regular basis. The good news is that it can relatively easily be overridden and even reversed! You can actually use rejection to strengthen you!

Let’s begin by understanding why this hatred of rejection evolved. It’s Cameroon 170,000 years ago, or in evolutionary terms about five minutes ago. You are the last of as low as possibly 100 breeding pairs left alive of the genus homo, the apes who walk on two legs. All your relatives except homo neanderthalis up in the frozen north have been wiped out by famine. You live in one of a few scattered tribes eking a living on the African Savannah. You stand on the very brink of extinction.

But it’s no coincidence that you are one of those last few hundred survivors. You have survived through a combination of extreme intelligence and handy instincts. You’re a greedy beggar, you’re bone idle and you’re very fond of bonking. This means you are determined to get as much of the finer things in life for as little effort as possible and whenever you’re in a good mood, and the environment is favourable, you’ll be doing the wild thing. This means that in bad times they’ll be enough people smart enough left to survive, and in good times the population will rapidly recover because when you’re in a good mood, you can’t resist a bonk. Besides, the X-Factor hasn’t been invented yet!.

But there’s another instinct equally important – the tribal instinct. You have the urge to clump together in distinct groups, because it is only as a team that you will be able to hunt and gather enough food protect the children and get suitable shelter. The environment is too harsh to enable you to survive alone. It is absolutely essential that you belong to a tribe, that is the bare minimum survival requirement.

But you don’t just want to be in the tribe, you want to get as high up in the hierarchy of the tribe as you can, ideally to become the alpha male and the alpha female, because they will get the pick of the food and the shelter, so in the hard times, the higher up the pecking order you are, the less expendable you are. But you have to be careful, because if you’re too ruthless, the tribe will throw you out, because then you’re a threat to everyone else, and if you get thrown out, you die! You can’t survive alone! But if you’re too soft, if you let everyone walk over you, you will be at the bottom of the pecking order, so when food’s short, who misses out first. Yep, you’re a gonner in this instance as well!

So how as a man do you rise through the ranks? You prove your worth! You kill the most antelope, you build the best house, you make your rivals look bad, you run the fastest. And so on. If you’re a female, you can’t compete with all this, because you’re evolved to have the babies, so you need a different body to a man, so the only way you can get to be alpha female is to get the alpha male’s attention, but you have also to be crafty. If you’re ruthless, all the other females will cast you out, so you have to be attractive without being slutty, bitchy but subtly bitchy, and you’ve got to at least look fertile.

Now most of the time, you’re too busy to think about all this, because you’re permanently knackered, so instinct does it all automatically for you. All this means that only the best of the best have survived. And so this goes on for quite a while. Roll the clock forward to 14,000 years ago. The last ice age ends. The climate dramatically improves, there’s much more water, which means more food and much more room.

This means much more bonking time, and many more survivors, and so the population explodes! Now we get migration and civilisation and the rest is quite literally history. So now we don’t have to worry about food, at least here in the West, or worry about belonging to the tribe, or rising through the ranks. But guess what? Your genes and evolution doesn’t know that! Your instincts don’t do logic, they’re evolved to override logic, so if you submit to the default programming, you are going to be an unhappy and unsuccessful and maladjusted individual.

The reason rejection feels so bad is because it is tapping into that primordial fear instinct. That fear factor which kept our ancestors alive is now making us unnecessarily unhappy and miserable. You can see it especially in young children. Say no to a two year old, take something off them, and they’ll act like their world’s come to an end! This is because their primordial instincts are telling them it is!

What’s worse is that generally on the African Savannah you only get rejected a few times in your life, then you will either die, or be accepted elsewhere. But in modern life you can be rejected over and over and over again, and we are not evolved to cope with that sort of prolonged anguish. Your instinct to belong is now clashing with your instinct to avoid pain. For this reason, life can seem like a choice between the agony of loneliness and unworthiness and the agony of continual competition and rejection.

But fortunately, you are not doomed! You can use another evolved mechanism to override your instincts, and it is the ability to focus. Your body does not react to what’s there, it reacts to what has your attention! If what’s in front of you is stimulating or threatening, yes you’ll react to it, but most of the time it’s neither, so you will react to what you are thinking. Your body does not take it’s cue from your environment, it takes its cue from your mind.

You’re on your own in the library, reading one Catherine Cookson’s bodice rippers. There’s nothing in front of you but printed symbols on a piece of paper, but when you read the bit where the local squire, dashing, fit and handsome, stares powerfully into the heroine’s wild eyes, and gently runs a finger across her heaving bosom, some of you may find your body responding in a manner highly inappropriate for being in the library.

Your body and your behaviour does not respond to the environment, it responds to what’s in your head. That is very handy indeed if you want to stop letting your mind run wild in stone age default mode and start practising the ancient discipline of mindfulness, the practice of deliberately focusing your attention on something, rather than letting it wander wherever it likes, which is usually back to the Stone Age.

In business and in the pursuit of success generally, rejection is a fact of life. Rejection no longer means death, but if the rejection has your attention, it will feel like death, because that is how you are genetically wired to respond to rejection. The difference between successful people and the unsuccessful is not how often they were rejected but what they were focused on. Whatever has your attention has your life. Whatever you are focused on grows in strength and power.

You have been rejected – give it your attention, focus fully on the fact that you were rejected, and what will grow? Fear, anger and despair, and the longer you focus on it, the stronger and the stronger fear anger and despair get, and keep going long enough and that’s all you will be. And all through life you will come across such people, broken, bitter and twisted.

But the successful are not focused on the rejection. Their mind goes straight for the lesson! “hmm, I didn’t get it, what do I still need”? For them, it’s a clue in a hunt! Every rejection is another piece of the jigsaw. In fact so is every hurt of every kind. They are tapping in to a different instinct equally as powerful as fear – the hunting instinct. Successful people will often tell you, it’s not the kill, it’s the thrill of the chase. There is no thrill in a conquered fortress, a solved puzzle or a completed creation. The point of the journey is not the destination, it’s the road! When life runs out of destinations, it runs out of meaning!

My friends, the only thing that gives life flavour is the ability to create something. It is not what we create so much as the sheer joy of the act of creation itself. The secret of success and happiness is not submission to a discipline, so much as devotion to a cause. The majority of people out there do not grasp this great truth. Their minds are stuck in Stone Age default mode, valuing their self-worth by comparing themselves to others, and simply reacting to their circumstances, rather than proactively changing them. It is the latter who take rejection the most badly. It is the visionaries who are the most rejection resistant.

Those who have been worn down by continual rejection are focused on their self-worth, their perceived value to the tribe. The visionaries are not giving the rejection their attention. For them it’s a hunt. Imagine having a dream where you faced ten thousand doors. Behind 9,999 of them is rubbish, but behind one is wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Can I suggest that in that scenario you would keep opening the doors, because you knew that sooner or later, the door with the wealth behind it would be in front of you. In the same way, real life visionaries persist because they know that one door just one door has behind it the big break, and that’s the only one they need. They know that all they have to do is keep banging on doors and one will open. My friends, that golden door is there.

This is a quote from someone who depends on cold-calling to make a living; If you're in cold calling, you need to focus on "Door 101." What is "Door 101?" Well, it's the 101st. door you knock on --- the 101st. phone call you make --- the 101st. presentation you make. The fact is "most" people will say NO to a cold call. But if you keep knocking, calling, presenting, even after 100 people tell you NO --- just keep going ---- If you can't handle NO, you're in the wrong business. Personally, I have fun with it. I record my cold calls to come back later and listen to what I could have done different and to use for training with my people. So you see, visionaries are not focused on the rejection at all their attention is on the 101st door and the lessons in the “no’s”

Now there are a few people who for whatever reason, this all comes naturally. There are many who will choose to be unworthy, who will point to all the evidence they claim proves that they are doomed. They will not let anyone be so rude as to suggest otherwise. And there are some brave souls who start out as victims, both genuine and imagined, who one day get so sick of being victims that they decide that they are tired of all this doom, and they want to learn to think a different way. It is my destiny and an immense honour and privilege that some of these souls end up at my door, and I provide those people with the keys to the power that lies right inside them.

If you are one of those who have been worn down by rejection but don’t want it to break you, hopefully by what you have heard so far, you now have some understanding of how you got to this point, and I would like to help you to begin the process of changing your mindset.

What makes us happy or sad, ill or poorly is not what’s out there, because what’s out there is in fact everything. Every feeling or experience you can think of is already out there, everything from the heights of joy and ecstacy to the depths of the most unspeakable evil. Look hard enough and you can find either and everything inbetween. What determines how we are feeling is what has our attention.

Now your attention is exactly like breathing. You can just let your attention wander about of its own accord, or you can consciously control it. The difference is that whilst your breathing is quite good and finding the ideal level by itself, your attention is not. Most people’s attention defaults to the negative. We’re like a radio that comes with presets, and most of us are preset to radio doom. Why, because in the African Savannah where you evolved that kept you alive. It stopped you being eaten and bitten, but in modern civilisation this is a distinctly unhelpful default, because there’s doom on tap 24/7.

But the visionary has re-tuned his attention manually. The visionary is locked on like a ballistic missile to the target, not doom, not all the things that might go wrong, not the obstacles and certainly not all the rejection other than the lesson. The rejection and the failures and the mistakes become fuel for the missile, making it tougher, smarter, wiser. It is not aptitude that determines altitude, it’s attitude. It’s the way you react to your circumstances, and the way you react is determined by your attention, and who determines where you attention is? You do!

If you have been battered by life, if you have been worn down by failure after failure and one rejection to many, the first thing that must change is not method but where your attention is, and at first this is hard work. You see the dial on your tuner can be on doom for so long, it’s a bit resistant when you try to turn it, or some people are a bit clueless at first how to re-tune away from the doom and failure and rejection onto the target, the lessons and the 101st door.

To re-tune your attention, there are certain exercises and disciplines that you must perform, which means a change in what you are doing. Of course this puts a lot of people off straight away. They want to be different without doing anything different. But this is how it is: If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got! So you must choose. Are you sick enough of feeling awful that you are ready to change?

To begin this process of change, you will need to invest in a nice new quality notebook, no ASDA smart price cheapo rubbish, a posh quality notebook, and on page one of your new super posh quality notebook, you will write very neatly in very large letters: MY POSITIVE THINKING BOOK. On page two you will write ten things you experience regularly that are nice, and if any of these things are somewhat embarrassing, that’s O.K. because only you will ever read this book! Write them down anyway!

Having written down your ten things, I want you to think about them. In fact why not think about them right now, as if they were happening right now. Visualise them right now in vivid detail, and as you are doing that, right at this moment, your brain is responding like they’re happening right here right now. You see your mind does not respond to what’s there, it responds to your attention. If right now you are focused on something nice, and you feel gratitude for those things, your brain is flooding with dopamine and serotonin, and your body with endorphins, and the electrical signals in your nervous system are changing pathways, which changes your behaviour, and that affects everyone else around you as well!

Now every day, your notebook should be your constant companion, and every time something good happens, you see something nice you feel something nice, experience anything nice, you will write that down, and give it your full attention! And as you persist, you are in every sense changing.

But that is only task one!

Task two. Every time you are waiting for something, in a queue, in a traffic jam, outside the bathroom, I want you to imagine a thousand doors, and behind one of those doors is wealth beyond your wildest dreams. You don’t know which one it is, but it is definitely one of ‘em! You open the first door, and behind it is a pile of horse manure, but it occurs to you that you are one door nearer, and you start frantically opening doors like there’s no tomorrow, and each one has got the same unpleasant pile, and you start to wonder if there’s a system that might speed things up, and you think there might, but whether you get one or not will not change the inevitable fact that eventually short time or long, you will find the door with the wonga behind it. Feel the excitement the anticipation of finding that one door, the only one that matters.

Task three is for those who find it hard to focus their attention because negative things are screaming at them really loudly! Go learn how to relax! Learn meditation, learn T’ai Chi, go Boxercise, whatever, but go do it because the only way to stop the negatives screaming is to learn how to calm the mind. Give me a call, I’ll soon chill you out!

It is only with a calm mind that you can then really take full control of your attention and focus it where you want it to be, so that it is no longer defaulting to the misery of the hundredth rejection but is rather focused on the ladder of success on which this latest rejection is simply another lesson making you even wiser and stronger and another rung on the ladder to where you want to be.

Monday, 10 May 2010

30 Second meditation for stress

Stress/Anxiety is one of the main reasons my clients come to see me. Obviously if you have a deep-rooted problem there is no substitute for seeing a proper therapist like me, but for "everyday" stress, here is a technique that calms you instantly:

1. Sit down in a chair hands on lap, palms up

2. In each hand touch your thumb tip with your middle finger-tip.

3. Stare down at the two "O" shapes you have made and focus on the feeling of thumbs and fingers touching. You will find that your mind goes blank.

4. Take a deep breathe in and think "breathing in, I cool my body". Hold your breath for 1 second.

5. When you breathe out, think "Breathing out, I smile"

6. Smile!

7. Repeat 5 times

..Let me know how you got on!

To give feedback, and/or to ask about a low cost guided meditation or hypnosis session on CD, drop me an e-mail to

Find all my other stuff in these places:

Facebook: Gary David Blonder
Twitter Gary_Blonder

btw I'm the ONLY hypnotherapist member of Bradford Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Perfect 30 Second Pitch


If networking is an important part of your marketing strategy, you will be used to the concept of the pitch, also known as the “elevator speech”. You are given anything between two minutes and thirty seconds to make a speech about your business. It’s not difficult to know a good one from a bad one, but somewhat harder to put your finger on what it is about a pitch that makes it good, bad or mediocre. Some people are clearly naturals at it and some are hopeless! The good news is that just because you’re not a natural doesn’t mean you are doomed to being hopeless. With study and practice, even the worst of us can make a decent pitch. There’s a simple set of do’s and don’t’s, and when you have understood them, the rest is simply a case of rehearsing enough to perfect it.

The most fundamental mistake you can make is to fail to understand the purpose of the pitch. It is NOT to close a sale! No one in their right mind, even if they’re in the market for your product, is going to buy from a stranger on the strength of what they said in 30 seconds. The purpose of the pitch is to be remembered for the right reasons. If what you said was memorable, you will linger in the mind of your audience. That’s what you want! When they think of a particular product, you want them to associate that product with you. When people who think of hypnotherapy, if they’ve met me, believe me, they’ll think of me! Even better, when they think of a good motivational speaker, they will also think of me, because they experience that first-hand for the duration of my pitch.

You don’t want to be bland, and so not be remembered at all, and you don’t want to be remembered for being rude, hopeless, weird, stupid, outrageous or funny, unless your product is comedy related, because then you will be linked to those qualities instead of your product. All you want is that when your product comes to people’s minds, so do you! When you fancy a burger, what company springs to mind? What about hot chicken, or a Pizza?

Spend the first second on a greeting! This has a very important psychological impact – it tells your audience that this is meant for them. It will take their attention from wherever it is to your voice. It must be said in a confident happy tone. “Hello” delivered positively is fine, but if you are particularly confident, experiment with other greetings like “good morning” or if particularly brave, “blessings upon you”! You are sending the message that your pitch will be different and interesting.

The first thing you want people to remember is your name. This is no easy feat. Whist some people are excellent at remembering names, the majority of us mere mortals are singularly useless. I am particularly bad – I suddenly find that the names of people I’ve known for years suddenly vanish from my recall just when I meet them again! Whilst this is a handicap, it’s also a useful tool. I give pitches in such a way that even I would remember the name of someone who did it the same way. If I can remember your name after one meeting, you’ve done very well indeed!

There are three very simple techniques to help lodge your name in the subconscious of other’s minds. Firstly, pause very slightly before giving your name. My name is…Gary Blonder! This pause is very subtle, only about one second. It causes people to pay attention. However double it to two seconds or longer then you generate the wrong impression. You start to generate embarrassment and irritation, so don’t overdo it!
Second, raise the pitch of your voice as you say your name, so it ends on a higher note. This subsconsciously raises the expectation of your audience. Thirdly, get your name into the pitch three times, in the beginning, the middle and the end. Remember this little proverb – THIRD TIME REMEMBERED!

A common and fundamental mistake is to state your profession and/or what you supply. This is to totally misunderstand the mindset of any potential referrer or buyer. Let us take the simple example of an accountant. Nobody WANTS an accountant! No one sits at home dreaming of the next time an accountant will drop by. If you therefore announce that you are an accountant, at that moment you’ve already failed. In every mind in the room, you have triggered the boredom switch. Everything you say from this point is worthless!

Your audience is interested in one thing alone. How are you going to make my life better? The fact that you are an accountant holds no promise of making my life better. However, I have better things to do with my life than sit in front of a desk with columns of figures. This is not what I’m in business for! Wouldn’t it be great if someone came along and did it all for me? Then I would be FREE! Is there such a person out there?

Understanding this simple psychology is crucial to your success. Don’t tell me what you do, tell me what I’ve got when you’ve gone. After I’ve gone, you’ll be free from that issue that’s been holding you back and making your life a misery for so long. When I’ve finished with your team, they’ll be fired up, feeling good and have a higher opinion of the one who brought me in. Sounds good, eh?

It’s a fundamental mistake to assume that your audience will figure all this out themselves just by your telling them what you do. They won’t! I could spend a fascinating half hour discussing why the brain doesn’t work like that, but bottom line is, it doesn’t! Accept it, and stop telling people what you do. Tell them what they’ll have when you’ve gone!

THE USP (Unique Selling Point)
Having made the point that you are the answer to a problem, or the fulfilment of a desire, take a few seconds to explain why only YOU can be trusted to make it happen. To do this, you need to throw in something about you that is advantageous, rare, and if possible unique. I for example am the only hypnotherapist in Bradford Chamber of Commerce.

Spend a few seconds inviting contact. This has an important psychological impact. It implies that failure to do so will involve missing out. Point out in this invitation that to contact you is free and noncommittal – they’d therefore be foolish not to!

A strapline is a single short phrase that should be the last thing you say. It can be thought of as a memory link between you and your product. For companies with big advertising budgets, the strapline is simple and often bland, but through continued repetition gets lodged in the mind. Examples include “I’m lovin’ it”, “Just do it” “loves the jobs you hate” and “Put a tiger in your tank”.

The average trader however, in the context of the pitch, does not have the luxury of such continued exposure, so needs to also make it witty. Mine for example is Liberating you…from you! My friend John Steel, a photographer, has the strapline I shoot your family…so you don’t have to!

You can see in both these examples that the strapline comprises of two phrases: the first is an interesting way of saying how you will be helped, and the second is the punchline. The first phrase stands alone as a sentence, and the second is added as a surprise, making you see the first differently. Choosing a good first phrase is easy, but the punchline is much harder to think of. Some people are highly talented in this field and can come up with a matching punchline in moments. Some have to mull over it for a day or two, then in a flash of inspiration, it will occur to them. Some are just clueless! If you are in the third category, don’t despair, because you almost certainly know someone who does. If you belong to a business or social network, simply “feed” your chosen first phrase and ask them to come up with a punchline. Those who are good at wordplay will not be able to resist the challenge!

Every pitch should have name, what I’ll get when you’ve done and a strapline at the. Between these elements, there are a variety of optional extras that are good to include if you have enough time. Which you decide to include depends on both time available and the specific markets you are interested in at that moment. Here is a selection of the best ones you may like to include:
There’s a well-known business proverb that if you ask for anybody, you’ll get nobody! If however your contacts know you are after a specific person, category or company, it focuses their minds. Most people want to help others if they can, but we need it framed for us (e.g. “give two pounds a month”). Add your specific request just before the strapline, adding “thank you for your help!”
If you have been in business for a while you will have at least one! For the purpose of the pitch, simply state the predicament your client was in before you came along and what they were like when you had finished.

Any offer targeted at your audience that gives them a privileged discount is always welcome.
Tell your audience how to get a free sample, preferably there and then, or otherwise within easy access.


Greetings! [confident, slightly quirky attention-grabbing intro]

My name is Gary Blonder! [rising pitch]

Wouldn’t it be great to be free from fear, anxiety and all your secret personal issues? I do this for people on a regular basis! I liberate people to be the person they want to be!
[I have focused people’s attention on their own desire and linked the solution to myself. For longer pitches, I would make this section twice as long, adding more problems that I’m the solution to. Note that I haven’t yet said what my profession is, as it is in itself irrelevant to the audience]

I am Gary Blonder, a motivational speaker and the only hypnotherapist member of Bradford Chamber [having pointed out I’m a possible solution, I now deliver my USP – the reason why I’m the best choice. There are other things I could have added, but these are unnecessary – one single good USP makes the optimum impact. Note the second mention of my name, strategically placed in the middle of the pitch.]

It costs nothing to talk to me, and it could be a fresh start for you, your team, or someone you know [The invitation. Notice the absence of a direct command, simply the implication that there is an offer foolish to resist on the table]

[For the 30-second pitch, time is nearly up, so it’s straight on to the strapline. For longer pitches, I can throw in my extras at this point]

I’m Gary Blonder, liberating you – from you!
[Strapline and third mention of my name. I have now achieved my objective – to be remembered as Gary Blonder the hypnotherapist who is also a damn good speaker. When my audience next encounter a need for my product, they will think of me!]

With your pitch constructed, don’t forget to keep it updated! Tweak the words periodically to keep pace with the changing circumstances, and also to stop it feeling “stale”.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Embracing the Uncertainty of Business


I am in business for two very simple reasons; I’d rather spend my life doing something I love doing than doing something I hate doing, and I’d rather be the victim of my own decisions rather than someone else’s. In making that choice however, I am choosing to embrace a much greater degree of uncertainty. There is a much higher risk of being financially ruined in business, and if that happens, it doesn’t just affect me but my nearest and dearest also.

Most people find uncertainty rather stressful. However much they love their business, however much you believe in what you’re doing, the uncertainty of it all can get to you. It can drive you to working 24/7, to neglecting other important areas of your life, and ultimately make you ill and unable to be successful anyway. If you could be a little less anxious about it all, you wouldn’t feel compelled to overwork and make yourself ill. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be as nonchalant as Sir Francis Drake, who according to legend was cool enough to finish his game of bowls before taking on the Spanish Armada?

There’s a skill in embracing the uncertainty of business, taking that uncertainty in your stride so that you will work to your optimum and not make yourself ill or neglect other important areas of your life.

Let us begin by looking at what makes business so scary. It is probably to do with how even most business people look at it, which is a very black and white idea. For most people, it’s about triumph or disaster!

You will either succeed and everything will be brilliant and you’ll live happy ever after, or its destitution. You’re going to be Bill Gates or Big Issue. The trouble is, even after a successful year, you’ve still got the same choice facing you! You’re only ever as good as your last deal, so that threat of destitution never goes away. Just ask any former member of Lehman Brothers!

Now if that’s your mindset, you’re in for a highly stressful life, and however much you love your business, illness or death is going to take it from you prematurely. It’s not the work that will kill you, because in most cases we love our work, I would happily do it every waking minute if I could. It’s not the work, it’s the worry, that nagging voice at the back of your mind that you’re doing it wrong, you’ve made a bad decision, you’re not working hard enough, you’re not working smart enough, you’re not diversifying enough, you’re too diverse, you can’t trust your business partner, you’re going to be let down, I’ve gone a week with no new clients, nag nag nag. Aaaaarrrgghh!

One thing is certain, that there is no certainty, and however hard you push you will never ever eliminate it, so let’s not waste a lot of time and energy trying to make our businesses invincible, because it is 100% impossible. No business, from the empire of Microsoft to tuppenny ha’penny bloke like me is immune from the shifting sands of time and circumstance.

Today I offer you an alternative model to this mindset of triumph or disaster, and it’s this: GAIN – GAIN. Here’s the good news – just by getting out of bed in the morning, just by doing something, just by making decisions, just by being focused on a target you are going to gain. Whether or not you hit your business target, whether or not you achieve the outcome you started out hoping for, you are going to gain.

It’s already happening every single day in the office. You are gaining either money or assets or experience. Now the experience is every bit as important as the assets and money. I hold that as self-evident. Just think about everything you have ever learned to do. In everything you have learned, what did you make a lot of? MISTAKES?

What does a toddler do when he’s learning to walk – fall down! A lot! And sometimes they hurt, and sometimes they cry, but they persist. And provided nothing’s physically wrong, they will walk.

In business, there are two things that you have to face head on that the rest of the population avoids at any cost, the qualities they had as young children but has been squeezed out of them by life, and they are fear and mistakes. So then, this is rule number one

SAY YES TO FEAR OR MISTAKES because if you do you will only regret that you did years from now. You will be afraid and you will make mistakes. Accept it, say yes. Walk through the fire, take the leap in the dark, throw your dice, because the worst that will happen is you will be stronger. This leads me to fact number one

IF IT DOESN’T KILL YOU IT MAKES YOU STRONGER – it’s one of those statements that you hear a lot and can sound a little bit glib, but it is a profound fundamental truth of life. The whole of life on Earth and the principle of evolution rests on this principle. Now let me draw a distinction here, I’m not saying that you will definitely get you want you want, but you will as a person find fulfilment and satisfaction in your life.

Last year I treated a client who was in every sense wiped out by the recession. She had a successful business in property, but then came the property crash and she financially completely ruined, bankrupted, and she was a single mum as well. She came to me with her confidence in herself destroyed. I treated her for free because firstly because she couldn’t afford me, but secondly because I saw her as a sound investment. I believed that it was only a matter of getting her to believe in herself and time that would put her right back to where she was. She didn’t see that. For her, life was over, she was only living for her daughter. She was working as a care assistant for old folk in Bingley and living in a little pokey rented flat.

I pointed out to her that the was not dead. In fact she had now gained a wealth of new knowledge and appreciation, and that she was going to come back stronger smarter better. After five sessions with me, this is what she said:

Gary Blonder came recommended to me by a former client of his. I was somewhat sceptical at first about hypnotherapy, but upon meeting Gary for the first time he put me at ease and made me feel very comfortable. I explained my problems to him and he put it down to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My symptoms included loss of confidence and motivation, uncontrollable tears, and basically feeling very anxious. Gary recommended 5 sessions, he was very confident and assured me he could help me. After the first session I noticed a big difference, I was a lot more relaxed, now I have completed the sessions and been given a CD to which I listen to every other day. I can now look forward to the future. Gary has helped me gain control of my life again, and taught me to look forward not backward. I know my direction in life again now. I certainly would not hesitate in recommending him.

But this just about me blowing my own trumpet. I gave this woman back her belief, but all I was doing was enabling her to look inward and see what was already here within herself, that she had everything necessary within herself to start again. She had the knowledge, the talent, the capability and in greater amounts than ever before, all she needed was to see beyond what had happened, see beyond the fear and get right back on the horse. She learned that IF IT DOESN’T KILL YOU IT MAKES YOU STRONGER and to SAY YES TO FEAR OR MISTAKES

So the next time you start to get worried, the next time the phone doesn’t ring, a client or customer cancels, the next time you wonder where the next order is coming from, feel the fear and do it anyway. Say so what and just respond. Say this to your worry. WHATEVER HAPPENS I CAN HANDLE IT!!

Here is a fascinating fact: take any fear you have and it will boil down to this. I can’t handle it. No matter what it is, from spiders to failure, it all boils down to this fear, and the reality is you CAN handle it every time so long as you don’t die. That’s the only prerequisite – there is nothing that can happen to you that you cannot deal with, because you always have and always will.

HOWEVER, there is a caveat, a necessary requirement in order to be able to handle anything: it’s an old Buddhist maxim: BE ATTACHED TO NO SPECIFIC OUTCOME.

As business people, we usually have a specific outcome, a target that we are aiming for. There is nothing wrong with that, it gives a specific direction, it helps us focus. However, not only does the outcome often turn out to be not what we planned, we do not need that specific outcome in order to find happiness, success and fulfilment. It was right to have that objective, because in going for it we find fulfilment and success.


So far then, I have provided you with mental tools for letting go of the future whilst still maintaining a direction. The good thing about letting go of the future, embracing uncertainty and living in the present is that all your ability talents and energy becomes focused on the one point you have full control over, which is right now.

The trouble is you can take in everything I’ve taught you and still find your thought slipping its lead and wandering off into worry about the future and brooding over the past. Keeping your mind on task is the discipline of MINDFULNESS, a gentle awareness of the present moment.

Here is Gary’s easy to follow guide for keeping mindful, in charge of your thoughts rather than letting them pull you off the job.
1. The affirmation of correction:
2. Use your intuition. Intuition is that part of you you’d call a hunch. You cannot embrace the uncertainty of business without it! It often flies in the face of logic and it’s always right. The human intuition is an anomaly in human understanding. It exists but no one knows what it is or why it works. It is the dark matter of neuroscience. Opinions vary from a function of the right side of the brain, to tapping into the collective unconscious to the voice of God. Fortunately, you don’t have to know what it is, only that it exists and can be used for guidance. There are ground rules for using it.
Rule 1 you must have a calm mind. If you’re not calm, your intuition can’t be heard, it will be drowned out by fear and the left side of your mind desperately scrabbling for an answer. Think about where you were and what you were doing when you get your best ideas. [Archimedes]
Rule 2 It only tells you what to do right now. Your intuition is not quite the same as an idea, although they both originate from a calm mind. An idea can be a plan. Your intuition never gives you a plan, never tells you how it is or what’s going on, and most annoyingly never tells you WHY. It just says DO THIS. You have to trust it. How do you activate it? Just be calm and still and listen!
Rule 3 It’s soft gentle and never critical.
So be mindful, be intuitive, thirdly Be permanently grateful, be a gratitude spotter. Evoke gratitude.
4. Be an opportunity spotter!

And so to summarise, to embrace the uncertainty of business, remember these important principles:
1. A choice is never between success and disaster, it’s between one type of gain and another.
5. Practise the discipline of MINDFULNESS, the discipline of being present-focused, by listening to your intuition, and being eager spotters of gratitude and opportunity.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Positive Thinking In Plain English For Beginners

We've all heard about positive thinking and being positive, but I wonder how many people have absolutely no idea what this means or how to put it into practice. In plain English and just a few simple paragraphs, here's enough to get you started!

For everyone, be they rich folk or poor, there is a clear gap between how we want things to be and how they are. However, in the midst of "how it is" are things that are good. To take the most extreme example I can think of, Victor Frankl, a renowned psychologist, spent several years in Nazi concentration camps, but throughout that horrific experience was able to find things of joy, beauty and amusement.

To focus your attention on the "gap", i.e. the difference between how you want it and how it is, this is called "Negative Thinking". Focus on things that are good within your actual situation is called "Positive Thinking". Both these types of thought focus on truth. It is true that to be held in a concentration camp is horrific. It is equally true that in daily camp life it was possible to see beauty in nature and the countryside beyond the camp, and acts of heroism, humour, and kindness within the camp.

Negative Thinking usually comes "easier". Most people will by default gravitate their focus on the "gap". However, mental focus is like breathing - it will do it's "own thing" without any effort, but can be completely controlled consciously. But why should you and why does it matter?

Whether your circumstances are horrific or actually not that bad, the type of thinking you're doing has profound consequences for your health, happiness, success and survival. This is due to the way that the brain and its' software the mind are "wired".

When you think negatively, you are focused on something that is bad and beyond your control. Your mind is built to help you survive and get out of situations or improve them. Focused on the bad, your mind goes into THREAT mode. It causes the release of "fight or flight" hormones into the blood. This diverts the body's resources into the muscles, heart and senses. It does this at the expense of digestion, the immune system, the reproductive system, the bodily regeneration system and logical thinking, none of which you need when facing an immediate threat.

However, you are focused on a gap, something that ISN'T THERE, that you can't change, and to which there is no solution. All this energy in the muscles and senses is completely useless. It was evolved for encountering natural threats on the African Savanna, not for losing your job or meeting business targets. With none of your resultant actions solving the problem, you stay permanently in THREAT mode. This means that you become very unhappy and very ill very soon, as the body, thrown permanently out of balance, cannot maintain itself properly.

When you think positively, you are focused on good things you can appreciate. The brain thus goes into OPPORTUNITY mode, and a much more balanced mix of hormones is released to exploit the opportunity. Focused on opportunity, you are happy, calmer, think clearer and rest easier, allowing repair, regeneration and robust defence against germs. Furthermore you can DO something with your opportunity, keeping you absorbed and positive, able to solve problems and cope in adversity.

So you can see that whatever the circumstance is, your personal success and happiness and survival depends on which aspect of it you are focused on!

If up to now you have been a negative thinker by default, do not despair! To think positive is only a question of training. Begin by keeping a "Good Things Journal" - every day before bedtime write down 1-10 things that were nice that you either observed or happened to you. Feel thanks and gratitude for these things. Now you are a Good Things Hunter! In time, as you see the benefits of doing this, grow in confidence and become increasingly encouraged, you will become a newly converted Positive Thinker.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Who You're Not! The Ego Explained in Plain English

There are many different interpretations of the word "ego". The word was coined by Sigmund Freud who saw it as a kind of mediator between your desires and your personal morals. In common language, it means the arrogant part of you that thinks you are in some way superior. Neither of these definitions really get to grips with what the ego actually is, so here is a simple yet full explanation:

The ego is basically the mind's "autopilot", the things you do and think by default. The ego is not "you"! It is in fact a reflex response just like blinking, but very highly sophisticated, with a whole range of diferent responses that are triggered by different environments. Unlike blinking, which is genetically hardwired from birth, the ego is flexible and can both gain and lose responses. The ego is a set of learned reflexes. This gives human beings and other animals with similar mechanisms an immense advantage - it means we can adapt and learn new behaviours for new environments, enabling us to survive and thrive almost anywhere on the planet.

Unfortunately, amazing and useful though it is, it is not infallible. Because of evolutionary forces, it is biased toward childhood experience, particularly in the age range 4-10, as in this period language is used to label and associate experiences with responses and other experiences. A traumatic or antisocial experience in this period can leave a person's responses permanently warped and unadapted for adult life. Most problems I encounter as a therapist boil down to this mechanism.

The ego is so fully integrated into your mind that the majority of people understandably assume that their egos are what they are - they say things like "I" get angry when I see... No you don't! You experience the feeling of anger triggered by a certain situation, but it isn't intrinsic to who you are - you have acquired that response due to a prior experience, and theoretically at least you can also unacquire it.

The only part of you that is truly "you" is the part that actually experiences, ie your awareness, and your true intention. Your awareness never truly sleeps - even when you are deeply asleep you have awareness, although it is all inward. Only a general anaesthetic can properly turn it off.

Up to this point, you may have considered your thoughts were "you", but they're not - they're simply your ego in action - it is responding to data that is either fresh from the senses or equally as often from memory. You are aware of this because your own thoughts can upset you, are not what you want to think, are nonsense or completely contradict each other. They are not your intention, which is to do with self-worth, safety and creation.

Most people will spend their entire lives on autopilot, not being truly themselves but being controlled by their ego. This is fine if your default attitude is bright and sunny - why wake up from a good dream? Unfortunately most egos are not! They are fearful, sad, lonely or bitter, and for many life is spent trapped in a dream of disappointment, which by their behaviour they inflict on the next generation.

There are a few people who are so sick of being sick of it that they become determined to find a way out of their own negative thought, and it is these people who discover ways to override their egos and discover true happiness - not from the world around them but from within themselves. Such a discovery is called many names, such as awakening, enlightenment, epiphany or self-realisation.

It is beyond the scope of this introductory article to point you fully in the direction of being liberated from your ego and learning to control it rather than vice versa. However, most sources agree that the first step to liberation is learning to calm the mind. A calm mind turns off the ego and you can begin to see things clearer.

A final point - your ego is not your enemy. It is there for a good reason - to help you survive, and enable you to multitask. It is a wonderful servant, but not often a good master. Learn to tame it, and your life will be powerful indeed.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

New blog!

I want to focus this blog on personal mental issues, that apply to all, and do not necessarily require a spiritual dimension, so from this point, spiritual issues will be dealt with in a separate blog,

Sunday, 28 February 2010


The root of all unhappiness is simple – it’s fear. We are so familiar with fear, it is such an intrinsic part of people’s lives that few ever give it much thought, it’s just there, manifesting as every form of dread, worry and concern. You may have heard it said that the only thing to fear is fear itself, but have you ever stopped to think about it? Did you think it applied just to certain things at certain times, or did you just reject the idea out of hand as obviously untrue?

Just for a moment, consider what your life would be like without fear, worry, anxiety, hate or terror. It would be bliss wouldn’t it? Heaven on Earth! All these sufferings are actually one thing, fear manifesting in various forms. When people speak of fear, they usually equate it with terror, a moment of particularly strong imminent peril. In fact fear is much more far-reaching than terror, but it boils down to one thing – sadness, and because we feel sadness, we experience suffering.

Fear is, logically speaking, actually completely unnecessary and a waste of energy, because fear is the grieving for something you’re not losing right now. It is the anticipation of being hurt by pain, or more often by loss. It causes people to behave in all kinds of unpleasant ways. If subconsciously you believe that you can take out the threat, you experience hate, anger and aggression. If you can’t fight it but believe you can escape it, you feel fear, worry, anxiety and terror. If you believe that there is no way to escape an impending doom, you experience bitterness, depression and cynicism. You will probably be able to relate to all these behaviours.

In almost all cases, the fear is misplaced and the resultant behaviour it produces is inappropriate. It is bad for you as an individual and everyone around you in just about every way, physiologically, mentally and materially. That being the case, why are so many people doing it? The answer is simply a case of civilisation racing ahead of evolution. Our fear instinct is there for a good reason: to protect us in a hostile environment, and to maintain the highest possible ranking in the tribe.

These were quite handy instincts on the African Savanna where we originated, but in modern civilisation fear can seriously get in the way, because our desire for convenience order and progress has now come into conflict with primordial urges that are no respecter of change. While the development of technology and civilisation is accelerating, evolution has been left standing.

There are many who think that it is possible for some people to become free of fear by amassing wealth, possessions, power and success, or distract themselves with all kinds of sensual pleasure, but look closer at people who have achieved all this and you find them no less fearful or less unhappy, in fact they’re often more fearful and more unhappy fighting an endless battle to keep what they have. Those who are both affluent and happy would have been happy anyway, because they are the lucky few for whom happiness and a positive outlook comes naturally to them.

I’m not arguing for a moment that poverty doesn’t matter or there’s no point striving for success, because clearly it’s better, but that’s not the same thing as happiness. You are better off richer than poorer, but it is equally true to say that you are better off happier than richer. Dig down to the roots of unhappiness and you’ll find fear.

To eliminate fear from your life, or at least stop it spoiling your life and the lives of others nearby by your behaviour born of fear, you have to know where fear is coming from, and it isn’t the world out there. It is in fact your mind. Remember, fear is about things not happening right now. If bad things are not happening now, it must be your mind that is deciding to be upset by the world, not the world actually doing anything. If you can change the way your mind deals with the information it’s getting, you can stop being afraid, stop feeling bad, stop behaving badly and start making a real positive difference to the world around you.

If you want your mind to change the way your mind reacts, you are going to need to completely overhaul your concept of reality. Most people have the notion that reality is a fixed objective thing – the way that it is that is obvious to us all. But as a matter of fact, when you actually examine what people perceive as reality, it turns out that your “reality” is unique to you. It is subjective, not objective. There are things that a lot of us view similarly, there are others that are our unique view. Your view of reality is the result of a complex cocktail of genetics, experience, environment and upbringing. It is not a fixed thing at all, it is a pliable flexible thing that is constantly evolving as we gain more and new experience.

So then, the first requirement in eliminating fear from your life is not eliminating things in your environment, but accepting that your view of reality needs to change. Of course some would argue they’d be a lot less fearful if they had lots of money and lived in a nice place, but what actually happens to people who do make big gains is that their new-found happiness does not last. Their new environment starts to become normal and they return to the same level of happiness they were in the first place. You only have to pick up any celebrity gossip magazine to see that this is true.

Only if you are prepared to accept that reality may be different from how you’ve been seeing it can you truly eliminate fear from your life. It is beyond the scope of this talk to cover the true nature of reality, but what you can be sure of to begin with is that it’s nothing like how you’re experiencing it. For a start, it’s nothing like how it looks and feels. If you just went by your five senses, it would be obvious that the Earth was flat and that the sun rose in the east, travels across the sky and sets in the west. Only through the development of technology has it become obvious that how it looks is nothing like how it is, and that we are in fact on a sphere that is orbiting a star.

In just the same way, it seems obvious that the world is an interplay between matter, or stuff, and energy like light, heat and sound. In fact there is no stuff at all. It turns out that stuff is just dense fields of energy.

In true reality there is quite literally nothing there, just energy and consciousness that enables you to experience it. It is your mind that is constructing the three-D surround-sound experience that you call life and reality, and if you want it to, you can completely change your experience just by changing the way your mind thinks.

It turns out that the remedy for fear is faith. Since the only true certainty is consciousness, everything else has to be an assumption. It is what you believe that shapes your reality. If you believe that life is awful, that is what you will experience. If you believe life is an exciting joyride, then that’s what you’ll experience. So then, to change your experience, you must be prepared to accept that your perception of reality is flawed. It doesn’t work in the way you think it does. Whatever your experience has been so far, it is only one experience in an infinity of experiences, and you must accept that you don’t have all the information.

The way to change belief is to tackle it one aspect at a time, making a new assumption and testing it. To begin eliminating fear from your life, start with this new assumption: what goes around comes around. For a trial period of 30 days, every day, aim to do at least one good thing for somebody and not expect anything back. Buy a new notebook and every day write down in the notebook the something you did and also one thing you were grateful for that happened on that day. When the 30 days are up, you will have the proof that by thinking and acting positive that you can change your world.

You will now be well on the way to eliminating fear from your life by seeing that you are not a victim at all but the creator of your own destiny. Once you have had this experience, you will be ready to move on and discover that the reality is that you cannot lose and so there is nothing to fear, because what you’ve been calling life is much bigger and better than you ever realised.

In my experience, a lot of people are happy to stay in their comfort zone and tolerate the fear and consequent unhappiness they live with. Only those who are absolutely sick of suffering and unhappiness and their own behaviour spoiling everything are ready to grasp the prize on offer – a life completely free of fear, where at every moment they experience the most profound sense of peace of mind and underlying happiness. Why not make a move today? You have nothing to lose but fear and unhappiness!