Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mastery of any skill. PartIII: A Feeling of Hesitation

This is the final part in our exploration of ways for you to overcome the last of the three obstacles to mastery of any skill…

- over-reliance on focal vision

- internal dialogue

- a feeling of hesitation

Last time, we looked at ways to quiet the chattering monkey. Today you have the opportunity to say a fond farewell & wave goodbye to feelings of hesitation, but before you do…

He who hesitates…waits

As Richard Bandler, (bona-fide genius & co-developer of NLP) says "He who hesitates…waits…and...waits…and...waits…" Almost everyone has situations where you would like to do something, but find yourself hesitating. I’ve heard Bandler describe hesitation as one of the main barriers to learning, he focuses a great deal of time & energy on helping people to overcome it.

Would you like fries with that?

While I was on a plane on the way to train some real estate sales people, helping them to overcome ‘sales call reluctance’ (ie. not wanting to pick up the phone, or knock on a door.) I was reading the book Change by Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch and I came across a story describing how Watzlawick helped a student who had been unable to complete his thesis due to anxiety. He told the student "Go into three shops over the next week and make an absurd request." The student did so, reported a shift in attitude, and finished their thesis shortly thereafter.

I loved the idea, and thought it might be useful with the reluctant sales team, but I knew that I couldn’t ask them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself. I said to myself "You have to do this now", as soon as I got off the plane, I went into a well-known fast-food hamburger place inside the airport. I steped into line, looking around at the other customers. My heart was pounding like a drum. Even though I knew rationally that I was in no danger, my neurology was responding as though I were about to stick up a bank.

When I got to the counter, I looked at the person behind it and, with a straight face, asked for a sausage and peperoni pizza. She looked confused and said "What?" I repeated my request. She said "We don’t sell those." "This is a chinese restaurant isn’t it?" I replied. She said no, I said thanks anyway and left. I felt like I had just knocked out Mike Tyson – I felt invincible!

Now, before you send me loads of email saying how childish this is, how it isn’t really about referrals- I know. But the result was amazing. In the days following, I did several similar acts. Each time, my physical response was diminished, but in other areas of my life, the opposite happened. I started to exhibit less hesitation and more wanton ‘go for it’ than ever before!

Thrilled with my success, I invited the real estate salespeople to do similar absurd acts, and they reported similar liberating results. I knew I was onto something.


A few years ago, I became interested in Tony Robbins and went to one of his weekends, eagerly anticipating the fire-walking, which I had heard so much about. I was really looking forward to it, and Robbins did a great job of building up the anticipation, but when the time came, I found it impossible to actually believe that walking on the hot coals was in any way dangerous. As a result, walking across them didn’t have much impact on me as a metaphor for overcoming fears in other areas of my life (though I know it really works for some people.)

By comparison, THE PIZZA-WALK EXPERIENCE costs nothing, can be done virtually anywhere, and is incredibly powerful. So…

1) Identify a few of the areas in your life where you hesitate and would like to just go for it.

2) Choose a commercial premises (shop, restaurant, gas station) and make an absurd request (ask for something they definitely don’t sell) while keeping a straight face. Be polite, safe and non-threatening.

3) Repeat twice more in the course of a week.

4) Look forward to the situations where in the past you would have hesitated, and enjoy your new responses.

One of my real estate broker clients used to have difficulties asking women out on dates. I sent him out to a burger joint to get some Italian food. Within the week he had a date. This stuff works!

For those of you who are worried about the person behind the counter, in all the times I’ve done this, their response has been anywhere from bemused to very amused, but never frightened. The key is for you to be non-threatening and polite (ideally coming across as a bit confused.) For those of you who are thinking this is pointless, foolish or humiliating – you probably need this more than most.

Why does this work?

Our central nervous system is set up to protect us from dangerous situations. Many of us have been heavily conditioned against making mistakes (by teachers, parents, peers etc.) and code mistakes as dangerous. Yet making mistakes is an incredibly important part of learning, growing and exploring. A willingness to make mistakes is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to become skilled at anything (with me, I used to be almost phobic of making mistakes, but no more.) The Pizza-walk Experience seems to help you eliminate this unhelpful response. There are lots of other techniques which can reduce hesitation & increase ‘go for it’, but this one’s the easiest & quickest to communicate in writing. By the way, obviously there are times when it’s useful to hesitate (eg. when about to step into a busy street.) Keep those.

More advanced

This is also great for playing with beliefs around money. I was in Mexico a couple of years back, and found that you are expected to haggle over the prices of items in shops – it’s a cultural norm. When I returned home, I went into a large DIY shop, picked up $300 worth of expensive equipment and offered them $40 for it. Once again, my neurology responded as though I was in a dangerous situation, even though I was perfectly safe. By doing this, though, I was able to start changing my beliefs around money (Stuart Wilde’s book The Trick to Money is Having Some is where I got this idea.)


Re-wire unhelpful hesitation responses in minutes with today’s tip…

1) Identify a few of the areas in your life where you hesitate and would like to just go for it.

2) Choose a commercial premises (eg. shop, restaurant, petrol station) and make an absurd request (ie. ask for something they definitely don’t sell) while keeping a straight face. Be polite, safe and non-threatening.

3) Repeat twice more in the course of a week.

4) Look forward to the situations where in the past you would have hesitated, and enjoy your new responses.

Please…send this tip on to as many people as possible. People in our society are way too afraid of looking silly, and they deserve to be liberated from this terrible affliction. This will help them to have more of what they want in their lives.

The key with this is to DO IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The results of this will amaze you, and the sooner you start, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits. Remember, reading about it just isn’t the same as when you do it.

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me...
The best is yet to be!

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

PS. One of the fastest ways to build a successful referral based business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

You read Jeffrey's Journal every week because you, like me want the best for yourself. And you like me, want to build a strong referral based business.

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