Can you remember the last time your boss screamed at you in front of everyone and it took you an entire week to shake off the embarrassment? Do you have a sibling you see at a family reunion that always ends in a huge fight, splitting the family apart for another six months? Have you ever bolted off stage in the middle of your presentation because you lost your nerve (guilty!)? Maybe you can’t seem to muster the ‘energy’ to finally go for that run you have been putting off since you made your New Year’s Resolution list?
Well, these precious moments that determine the course of all our lives come to one thing. State. In this article, I am going to share with you same take homes for a truly life changing event.
What is state?
State is the ability to be resourceful in any given situation. Much of our life’s decisions are dictated by the will of others, emotions that we cannot control and the environment that surrounds us.
What if you could access an altered state of consciousness that gave you the superpower to call on the exact resources you needed to make the best decision at any given moment. What would that world look like to you? Try to imagine how that would feel. Those resources could be a world free of procrastination, broken relationships and missed opportunities instead a life full of great decisions and world class performance.
These states are often called ‘peak states’, ‘states of high performance’ or ‘flow state’. I feel this use of language can be limiting as it presupposes it relates only to that in a sporting, or a typically adrenaline inducing, situation. Peak performance extends to all areas of our lives such as the decisions you are making from the comfort of your sofa at home.
How To Access Resourceful States: The Life Event
Thanks to three extremely talented and engaging speakers, we now have the tools to access these states: Darryl Scott (NLP developer), Leon Taylor (Olympic Medallist) and Mike Weeks (change agent ‘provocateur’). Each one of them had truly remarkable journeys of their own that they openly share with the participants in order to invite the mind to attach the practical elements of the day to some very vivid stories.
The Life Event is exactly that, practical. So many times I have attended seminars, courses or workshops and they have you sitting there for hours nodding like zombies. I’m sure you can remember from your school days the strategy of sitting in a room while someone dictates facts right are you is not the most conducive for learnings – and these guys recognize that limitation and do everything they can to avoid the pitfall. They even had Jamie G Ward up and dancing.
They teach about the power physiology has on our state, completely poo-pooing Descartes notion of ‘the mind-body split’. To emphasize this point right now, I invite you the reader (who may be scrolling down to see if we are near the end yet) to sit bolt upright, shoulders proudly back and your arms up above your head in a ‘Y’ shape, whilst flickering your fingers. Now begin to take some deep breaths, through your nose, that reach right down to your body. Have your head looking up and begin to feel that breath reaching every cell, even the one in your little toe, to feel this shift in energy. Sounds pretty simple right? It is. So, what’s the reason we do not use our body to our advantage when we need to invoke a change in state?
Here is a great TED talk by Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are that talks on this exact topic. The Event goes into many great little ‘hacks’ on ways to harness your body to serve that of the mind.
This is arguably the most powerful resource I have ever come across. I utilised this tool before The Life Event as I had studied under Daryl’s, Mike’s and Leon’s mentor some time ago.
What is disassociation? Disassociating in a given context is being able to remove oneself from that of your own perspective (i.e. how you are now, looking out at the world through your own eyes) and shifting to a point in the room that allows you to look back at yourself from the third person.
This gives you the ability to move away from the feelings associated with being IN the situation, to being able to give yourself feedback from a position of objectivity (i.e. you are looking at the facts of the context rather than being sucked into the emotional baggage of that situation).
I use this for procrastination a lot. One time, I was in my hotel room and I sat down to my laptop to type up notes to a book I had read (I am a keen reviewer of notes). As I sat down, I did the typical thing and opened up every social media website I have plugged into. The thought of writing up notes was so boring that I even logged into LinkedIn to see what my bank manager was up to. As I caught myself, I physically stood up and took three paces back and look back to where I was sat. I then began to review the situation from a disassociated perspective. I then sat back down and looked up to where I was just stood, listening to the feedback my alter ego was delving out. I then smashed out the book notes.
The Live Event does this a better service than I have just written. The event also shows how you can do this without having to physically move, which may be more relevant when you begin to see yourself losing a negotiation in a board room, or you begin to feel angry whilst driving.
No-nothing state games
A huge theme of the two days, are games that allow us to slip into a different realm, something you will hear me refer to as a ‘no-nothing state’. If you drive you can probably think of a time you reached your destination and wondered how you had just arrived without any recall and safely. This was you entering a ‘no-nothing state’ that removes all conscious awareness, handing the steering wheel over to your more sophisticated unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is far more powerful than our conscious mind, so any opportunity to hand the realms over to it the better.
The event presented many of these games, which I will leave you to explore by going to see for yourself, rather than attempting to write up descriptions. Mike Week’s also has a book, ‘Un-Train Your Brain’ that explores these games along with a free accompanying app.
Whilst learning the games is useful and fun, they are irrelevant without the framework. Have you ever meditated, or gone for a relaxing walk along the beach, leaving you floating along like a zen master? To then only to go lose your marbles when you read a text/email? Well, that’s because you haven’t been shown techniques of how to anchor the state you achieved in meditation to the real world. Essentially, you had just escaped reality for several minutes.
Leon, Darryl, and Mike show you how to apply these ‘games’ to contexts where you want more or higher quality choices. If you are struggling with a situation at work, with a spouse or even in your own head, the structure they provide gives you a way to call in a more resourceful state. By taking a proactive approach, applying a little bit of work before the context rears its head again.
Above all else, the event is great fun, an experience I got to share with like minded people (to any of them reading it was a pleasure meeting you and please stay in touch). If you attend events like these, please do take the time to engage with others as you’ll be left making some beautiful connections, like I have this time (I spoke about this in my review of the biohacker summit I hosted).
As many of you know, I try to put as much back into the mind as possible by reading, engaging with experts and attending courses such as The Life Event. When I read about the growth mindset, realising learning and growing don’t stop when you leave school, my life turned upside down for the better. This is why I was delighted when Darryl Scott closed the event by saying:
We’re not done yet, we’re still a work in progress
I took a lot away from this event, which came with impeccable timing. The day before I had had my most difficult client to date and I feel I did not serve her to the best of my capability. Going over some of the techniques I had learnt before presented a solution right before me.
If you’d like to find out more about their future events then please head over to their website.