Last updated: 20 February 2015
What’s the last thing you do before you leave the house to go on holiday?
You go through your list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything essential:
Gadgets and chargers?
And so on. Likewise, when you do your weekly food shop, you probably make a list. Then, before you take your items to the checkout, you scan down the list to make sure you remembered everything you meant to get.
It’s not rocket science, but it helps to simplify things. You might be able to recall a time when you went shopping for groceries but forgot your list. Normally you’re about two-thirds of the way home before it suddenly hits you:
Oops! I forgot to get toilet paper!
Yep, lists are pretty darn useful. But there’s something even more amazing about them.
Take groceries, for example. If you’re like most people, you probably do your weekly or monthly shop at a favorite store. You go there regularly, so you know where everything is. If pressed you could probably sketch out a rough map of the place.
When you make your list, you don’t need to go into detail. You know the toothpaste and deodorant are at the back of the middle aisle. You know that if you go in the main entrance the first thing you’ll come to is the display of fruit and vegetables. You know the milk, butter and cheese are in the chilled cabinets in the back right-hand corner, next to the deli counter.
That’s where they always are.
Then there are the products themselves. You probably buy a specific brand of coffee in a certain-sized container. Potatoes by the bagful. Enough meat to last a month. Keeping an eye out for bargains and special offers, just in case.
On your list, however, you simply write “potatoes” or “coffee.” You don’t specify the brand name, the weight of the package, or where to find them. You don’t need to, because you always buy the same stuff which is always in the same part of the store.
Just a word is enough to ensure you get all the supplies you need to keep you going for the foreseeable future.
That’s the power of checklists. That’s why airlines use them, and that’s why they’ve proven so useful in operating theaters. If it’s on the checklist, you ain’t gonna forget about it.
You can take the idea of checklists even further, of course. One way to do that is to create an acronym. Pilots use the acronym IMSAFE (I’m safe) to ensure they’re fit for duty. It stands for:
- I – Illness
- M – Medication
- S – Stress
- A – Alcohol/drugs
- F – Fatigue
- E – Emotion
You wouldn’t want a stressed-out pilot on painkillers who hasn’t slept in two weeks behind the controls, would you? Or one with a serious hangover?
This checklist is important to guarantee the safety of the passengers and crew. And being in the form of an acronym, it’s easy to remember.
The Meaning Of LIFE
LIFE is another acronym. It’s a shortcut to a checklist designed specifically for conversational hypnosis. Here’s what the letters stand for:
- L – Language
- I – Induction
- F – Frames
- E – Emotion
The LIFE checklist is a great way to make sure you’re maximizing your communication. Putting it into an acronym like this makes it easier to remember, providing you know what each of the letters represents. In case you don’t, here’s a quick recap.
This is the language of hypnosis. Creating a smooth flow of ideas. Getting verbal agreement from your subject. Using patterns of plausibility, repetition, and words of power. Providing suggestions. Changing your tonality.
Perhaps cloaking the whole thing in a story or an anecdote sparkling with metaphor.
Where hypnosis is concerned, language is the most valuable tool in the box as long as it’s used with H+. Words can help us relax, get motivated, get excited, compare things, remember things, imagine things. They make it possible to communicate, to make a point, to create a pattern in the mind.
They can conjure up worlds that don’t exist and help us picture possibilities. The right word in the right place at the right time can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. Now that’s real power, isn’t it?
Language provides signposts that can lead another person in any direction. What you say counts, but so does the way you say it. And that leads directly on to the next step…
There are truckloads of inductions you can use. Choose the ones that suit you and that you’re comfortable with. The only really important thing is to make sure your induction does its job.
An induction should be able to:
- Absorb the subject’s attention so they’re hooked from the start. You want them to be engaged and engrossed right from the get go.
- Bypass the critical factor so they can relax and enjoy it. Distract them, confuse them, use metaphors or double negatives. Make it impossible for them to analyze what you’re saying.
- Activate an unconscious response, such as an emotion. Make them yearn for whatever it is they need in their lives. Make them imagine how they’ll feel when they accomplish x, y, or z.
- Lead the unconscious mind to the desired outcome, which might be anything from motivation to self-control to stress relief.
Conversational inductions make a lot of sense. After all, language is your stock in trade. That’s why it might be easier to move directly into an induction from everyday conversation. Perhaps by telling a story, using words of power, and lots of repetition.
Nothing you say or do exists in a vacuum. It’s always in context with whatever’s happening around you.
For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, you might feel frustrated. If while you’re waiting there an ambulance suddenly makes its way through, you’ll feel better. At least there’s a reason for being held up. But if a guy in a flash car takes advantage of the ambulance’s wake to sneak through, you’ll feel cheated.
Then you find out the driver of the car is rushing his wife to hospital. She’s pregnant and having complications, so time is of the essence. Suddenly, you feel completely different about it.
Why? Because the context has changed. The meaning has altered. You can’t stick the fancy car driver in the “selfish man” frame because now you know he’s anything but selfish.
That’s the power of frames. They put things into context.
Whatever is going on in your subject’s life, there’s a frame in action. Control the frames and you control the interaction.
Frames are important because they help you focus. They help you achieve the desired outcome. When you know what you need to do, it’s easy to create a frame that will help you realize your specific goal.
Emotion has been described as the fuel that drives human behavior. But what fuels emotion?
It’s our interaction with others. The people we meet, work with, spend time with on a daily basis. The situations that arise when we experience the ups and downs of living.
Fear. Anger. Kindness. Pity. Jealousy. Love. Joy. Excitement.
In the song “Ain’t it shocking what love can do,” Whitney Houston sings:
“I get so emotional baby, every time I think of you.”
Yes, just thinking about another person can make you emotional. Just thinking about having two weeks off from work can make you emotional. Just thinking about how your partner will react when they open that surprise birthday gift can make you emotional.
Without emotions, life would be pretty dull. We wouldn’t laugh. We wouldn’t cry. We wouldn’t feel a lump in the throat when the National Anthem plays. Or feel pride when we achieve something significant.
Imagine getting up every morning, going to work, having lunch, working some more, coming back home. Imagine doing all of that without smiling. Without laughing. Without feeling good, or bad, or indifferent.
No excitement. No anticipation. No hope or sense of suspense.
Emotions add the spice to what might otherwise be a pretty monotonous existence. That’s why everything you say and do in your interactions should have emotional content.
Make ’em laugh, feel good about themselves or feel empowered. As long as there’s a positive emotional connection, you’re onto a winner.
LIFE Makes Communication Easy
For hypnosis purposes, communication is the key. If you find it hard remembering all the steps you’re supposed to work through, just remember the acronym LIFE. Ask yourself:
- Am I making good use of Language?
- Am I working through an Induction?
- Am I setting the right Frames that will lead to the desired outcome?
- Am I using Emotion to connect and interact with the other person?
It’s the easy way to make sure there aren’t any gaps in the process. It’ll also guarantee you stay on track until the point when the whole thing becomes natural and automatic. Once that happens, your “life” will get a whole lot easier.