Do you believe in time travel?
Not in a ‘Back to the Future’ sense of the word (although wouldn’t that be cool), but I do believe in our ability to go back into our minds and memories and relive experiences from the past.
Some of you will know that, when I’m not running this website and promoting my book, I work as a hypnotherapist. One of the techniques I trained in is called Time Line Therapy.
This technique, created by NLP Master Trainer Tad James, asks the client to go back through their memories to a significant emotional event connected with the problem state they are experiencing in the present. For example, a person terrified of public speaking might go back to a humiliating childhood memory, of being laughed at, while trying to speak in front of a class at school.
They are then asked, ‘What’s the one learning that the you now, would tell the you back then, that were they to live it, would completely free them from this feeling of X (whatever the problem state might be)?’ If the client successfully embraces this learning, their subconscious is then updated and they are freed from an emotion that has been holding them back for years.
This is a simplified explanation of Time Line Therapy (and if you want a more detailed idea of how it works then watch this video of Tad James in action) but the point is that, through our minds, time travel is possible.
If you can get into a relaxed enough state, and focus clearly on a powerful memory from the past, after a while, you will be drawn deeply into that memory so that it begins to feel real.
You then have two options. You can just enjoy, or experience (if it’s a bad one), the memory. Or, you can use the Time Line Therapy question above and try to work out what you needed in order to successfully progress through what you were experiencing.
I’ve been using this hack a lot lately with some amazing results. I wander back in my mind to some key moments in my development, centered around the time when I first started getting intuitions about what I felt was my life’s purpose, and then ask this question, ‘What would I have done back then if I’d had the knowledge that I now possess?’
You see, back then, I wasn’t the person that I am now. Although I had this embryonic dream of writing a best-selling personal development book, it was also one of the darkest times in my life (I was 22 at the time and had just finished University).
I was lost and full of self-doubt. On top of that, I had these doubts echoed to me on a daily basis by careers advisers, parents and an environment of lack (lack of supportive friends, lack of my own money, lack of any contacts or ideas on how to break into the personal development industry).
As a result, my progress was incredibly slow. It was a case of one step forward, nine tenths of a step back. I doubted every decision (or proposed decision) I made and had to test the water with everything I did (rather than diving straight in, learning from my mistakes, and making progress).
With this approach, it’s hardly a surprise that the meteoric rise to the top I frequently imagined, never occurred.
But it could have done! And this is the point.
If only I’d known back then, what I know now, my progress would have been so much quicker. If I’d approached my dream with the energy that I now possess, I could have halved the time which I took to achieve it.
I don’t want you to fall into the same trap as you advance in the quest to live your dreams.
My problem was self-doubt but there could be any one (or more) of an array of problem states that currently block or slow your path. How can you tackle them?
As crazy as it sounds, by using the technique above!
Right now, I want you to recall a pivotal time in your life, when you had the opportunity to make significant progress or alter the course of your life in a positive way, yet you didn’t take full advantage of it.
Drift back into the memory. Focus on where you were and what you could see. Remember the possibilities and excitement of the time. Try and recall what you were doing. You’re looking for a specific memory. The more you focus on it, the more real it will feel. Close your eyes if it helps (it probably will!).
Now ask yourself this question, ‘What would I have done back then if I had the knowledge that I now possess?’
Now see yourself doing it. Rewrite your own history and feel the excitement of putting that knowledge into action.
Then, once you’ve immersed yourself in the experience, write down your answer.
For help doing this, read the following example. It’s taken from my ‘success diary’, that I’ve been keeping since September 2002, and is an account of me going through the process outlined above.
The entry for the 1st May 2016 reads as follows:
The event I was thinking about last night was from May 2002. A month away from finishing at Manchester University, I was in the Library on the first or second floor, staring out of the window pondering my future. I was starting to feel alive again after having spent the last 3 years in another time and place. The power of my dream was calling me and I could feel the excitement of its possibilities. However, I didn’t throw myself into it wholeheartedly. There was too much doubt, delay and confusion in my mind.
If only, if only I could go back there now. I would attack my dreams full tilt. I’d have knuckled down and written my book [referring to what was to become Escape The System] in 6 months. It wouldn’t have been perfect but at least I’d have had something. I’d then have started promoting myself by starting up groups and perhaps gained a life coaching qualification. Then, as my skills developed, and my writing became more refined, I’d have got a publishing deal by 2006.
I’ve got to stop there because it’s pointless saying what I would have done. I can’t go back. All I’ve got is now. And as of today, I must approach my dream full tilt. Risk everything and don’t hold back. I can’t do anything about 2002, but, sure as hell, I can do something about today. Throw yourself into it. If these 14 years have taught me one thing, it’s that I never fail by taking risks to advance my dream. I fail when I delay and opportunities (and life) pass me by.
I highlighted my key learning (and answer to the question posed above) in bold. I’ve then taken that knowledge and lived it every day since the 1st May this year.
As a result, my motivation has increased immensely and I no longer fear cutting back on higher paying tennis coaching and hypnotherapy clients to make time to work on my greater, but less well paid (at the moment), dream of becoming a best-selling author. Experience has taught me that taking risks works and that removes any reservations I have about what I stand to lose. Therefore, my mind is clear and I’m free to act, certain in the knowledge that my actions will bring success.
My learning demanded that I take greater risks and attack my dream with unrestrained energy.
What did yours teach you?
In whatever way you can, I urge you to apply that knowledge.
The increased motivation it provides is immense. How could it not be? Here you are, in exactly the same position as you were in the memory I asked you to recall (i.e. with an amazing opportunity to advance your life) but now you have the chance to benefit from your increased wisdom.
What could be more motivating or exciting?
You see, in some way, we do have the opportunity to go back and correct our mistakes from the past. We do it by taking on board the lessons they’ve taught us and then acting on them NOW.
(Image taken from Ape Lad photostream on flickr.com)
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