Do you live from your Outside – In or when you actually become quiet and still to consider this can you see it might be more like living from your Inside – Out.
Are you somebody who considers that what you think and believe about yourself comes from what has happened to you in your past or do you feel a significant amount of what’s happened to you has actually been as a result of your thinking and beliefs.
This is often described in psychological terms as having either an internal or external locus of control and which we operate from can have a significant impact in wide ranging aspects of our lives.
Richard Wiseman, a Professor of Psychology at The University of Hertfordshire has done a fascinating ten year long study into luck and whether this stems from outside or inside of ourselves. He came to talk at the National Council of Hypnotherapy’s Annual Conference a couple of years ago and outlined a really interesting psychological study he undertook which clearly demonstrates the difference in behaviour and experience resulting from the beliefs we hold about ourselves.
He placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact his department and over the years has included over 400 people from the age of 18 – 84 in various studies including this newspaper study he told us about.
“ We gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and report how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.
We also placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.
Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. In one experiment, people were asked to watch a moving dot in the centre of a computer screen. Without warning, large dots would occasionally be flashed at the edges of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed these large dots.
The experiment was then repeated with a second group of people, who were offered a large financial reward for accurately watching the centre dot, creating more anxiety. They became focused on the centre dot and more than a third of them missed the large dots when they appeared on the screen. The harder they looked, the less they saw.
And so it is with luck – unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for ”
So Richard Wiseman’s research seems to confirm that it is self belief that you are lucky that results in certain patterns of behaviour and positive results in your life and not the other way round.
Can you recognise a similar pattern arising from a unsupportive belief playing out in your life ?
It might not necessarily be around luck, for example it could be about how loveable you believe yourself to be. As a hypnotherapist I find that the belief of not being good enough or not being loveable lurks in the recesses of so many people’s minds and then plays out in unhelpful ways in their everyday lives.
As you reflect on this yourself, a completely different life shaping belief might become apparent to you. Hypnotherapy can also bring these type of beliefs to the surface and once uncovered we can work together to question the validity of a particular belief and after inquiry replace it with one that is truer and more supportive to you. Then be interested to see how the ramifications of this new held belief play out in various positive ways in your everyday life.
Imagine the positive ripples that could come from tossing that pebble into your pond !