As many of you know, Igor Ledochowski is the co-founder of the Hypnosis Training Academy.
Igor is also a master hypnotist, NLP master practitioner, as well as a success life coach. Plus, he’s the sole creator of our 100+ hypnosis training programs (you can access some of them here), leads the Hypnosis Diploma School and is also a former lawyer, having worked for one of the world’s top law firms.
Given Igor’s extensive and varied career, we sat down with him to interview him about his inspiring journey.
In this candid interview, Igor shares the experiences, people and life lessons that have shaped his path, catapulted his growth and transformed his and career.
From Lawyer To Revered Hypnotist: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Igor Ledochowski
HTA: To begin with, Igor, where did you grow up?
Igor Ledochowski: I grew up in Madrid and in London. So, I was born in Spain, in Madrid. Then when I was 7 years old, we moved to Richmond in London until I was 18. And then I went off to university, and after university came back again.
Then I worked in a law firm in London, with a year abroad in Frankfurt, and then back to London again. So I was basically there all the way until I was, oh gosh, sometime in my 30s, when we started the business that later became the HTA.
At that point I basically left Europe just to see, travel the world and so on, and then I haven’t really been back since.
HTA: Did you have any kind of hardships growing up that helped you become who you are today?
Igor Ledochowski: Indirectly I guess, yes, in the sense that I had a number of personal issues I needed to overcome, and that definitely pushed me into the direction of hypnosis.
My parents divorced when I was 7. So before that they fought a lot, and of course that had an impact. Then when they divorced, I went to London with my father. So all of us went with him as my mother went off to learn pantomime. That was quite a hard time, getting over that.
So that was not easy. There were a number of things like that, and of course that affected me in school. Turning up in school with, first of all, an already fragile mindset, invites people to the whole bullying thing.
Then the other hard part was going to the English school for the first time, when I was 11. There was the language barrier on top of that. My English was okay, because it was TV English, and actually going to an English school, there are so many nuances I missed. It’s unreal. That first year was not an easy year.
Yeah, so school was not the easiest. But I guess that helped in one sense, that I did throw myself into the one thing I was good at, was academics. So I threw myself at that instead, and that definitely was a good foundation for the future.
After school I went to Exeter University to study European law, which is basically a valid English law degree, with European law electives, German law electives in particular. They had a German stream and a French stream, and I wanted to do something with my languages, so I chose the German stream, and that meant I went abroad for a year and I studied in, where was it, in Zweibrucken in Germany at the European institute.
I studied German law for a year, and European law, and then I came back to England again and finished off my English law studies there.
HTA: What attracted you to law?
Igor Ledochowski: I was looking at 3 options when going to University. One was psychology, because I was very interested in it. Mostly because I was trying to unwind all of my wound up emotions.
Number two was philosophy, I had a burning interest in philosophy, ever since I was young. I really enjoyed the whole word banter … Well I saw it as word banter, but I think it’s become something much bigger now.
And finally law, because again, it had to do with words, it had to do with analysis or understanding a situation, and so on.
So I wanted to do one of those 3 subjects, and I wanted something to do with my languages. The reason I didn’t choose philosophy was twofold. One, I really couldn’t see a career path out of it, although actually of the 3 choices, I think now philosophy would probably be the best choice of them all if you pick your school wisely.
HTA: What inspired you to make the huge leap and transition from law into hypnosis?
Igor Ledochowski: There’s a whole bunch of things that happened. First of all, throughout my teenage years, I loved the self-help shelf of the bookshelf. So pretty much every other weekend, I would be in a big UK bookshop chain called Waterstones.
Actually the two sections I would be constantly at would be either the sci-fi fantasy section, and the other one would be the self-help section. So I was fascinated. Of course this was the 80s, so there wasn’t really much good stuff out there.
And as far as hypnosis goes, almost nothing. If you found the odd hypnosis book, it was something from the 1920s, and it was with the astrology books. That was already something that I was fascinated by way back when.
Then in terms of switching, there was one big moment, I think. Without this, I may never have become a hypnotist. That was, I had a cousin from the US who is a great guy, I admired him so much.
When I was like 14 he came to stay, he was in his 20s, and when we were, I think, 18, just before we went to university, we had a big family reunion for one of my great uncles, his 75th birthday. Family from all around the world came together, it was a wonderful weekend in Austria. Family I’d never known I had, including him.
The reason he was important is because everybody admired him, but then during his family reunion, he and his mother and some of his siblings talked about this thing called the Silva Method, that had helped him immensely.
The Silva Method is like a self-hypnosis method, with some spiritual elements and some healing elements thrown in and so on, and they raved about this. I thought, “This is amazing. This sounds like an American thing, and I don’t think I could get that here in little old England.”
But then right after that family meeting I thought, I’ll go to the library and see if I can find something. And sure enough, there was a book on the Silva Method in the library. I thought this is fantastic. Read it, loved it. It’s basically a self-hypnosis visualization-style program.
And then, because remember, this is all before the internet was a thing, stamped in the back of the book was the address for a company up in the north, I think it was in Scotland, could’ve been Edinburgh or something like that, but actually was the Silva representative in the UK. I thought, “Oh my God, I have something here.”
So I then took this weekend course, not a big course, but to me, it was a huge thing because as a student, paying 300 pounds for a course seems extraordinarily expensive. So I took that, and then this was it, this was the turning point for me.
They did basically a progressive relaxation induction, which is one of their standard trance inductions, and I felt like I melted through that chair.
Some of the parts of that program worked for me, some did not, so then I decided I wanted to look at the technology behind it, which I knew was hypnosis, even though they said it’s not hypnosis, it’s hypnosis.
So that’s what got me started with hypnosis. I did self hypnosis for a while after I graduated, because I thought I was to become a lawyer. But then eventually I came back to it, and I haven’t really looked back since.
Interviewer: Before we move onto hypnosis, tell us a little about your law career.
Igor Ledochowski: What happened was this. I was at the law firm. First-year was a very exciting year, it’s your golden handshake, you have partners throwing their credit card behind the bar, you’re earning decent money for the first time, I had my own apartment, though I couldn’t quite afford it. Anyway, I’m starting life, I’m getting excited, I’m thinking I’m going to be living the LA Law lifestyle, which was of course was very appealing back then.
But some time in my second year, massive fatigue started settling in, and I was trying to motivate myself each Monday morning, saying something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, you just need to get through the next 5 days.”
And one more thing came up which was really pivotal for me, and that was, I was in capital markets, so doing IPOs, initial public offerings, euro notes, bonds, that sort of stuff.
And I remember, one of the partners, who was doing work with the corporations to help them go public. And he’s a great guy, really nice, down to earth, smart as hell, hard worker.
But then got himself involved in a big office scandal, he ended up having an affair with one of the girls from HR. His marriage destroyed, big gossip in the office, and so on.
That shook me up a bit, and I thought, “What is this?” The reason it shook me up is because I started looking around and asking myself, I’ve been working hard to try and make partner.
Even though I started still very young, wet behind the ears, my mission was to become a partner as quickly as possible, and I looked around for role models to see what does that career plan looks like.
I didn’t know, because they didn’t really tell you. So I started looking around at all the partners and asked myself, “Do I want your life in 20 years when I’m a partner? The answer shocked me, the answer was, “No!”
There were very few partners, a couple of partners at Linklaters especially one corporate partner who was fantastic, but aside from a handful of partners, the answer was really, I don’t want any of their lives. I don’t like their lifestyle, I don’t like … It just doesn’t speak to me.
I liked law, but I didn’t love law. And for a place like Linklaters, you’ve got to love law. Because it consumes you. You’re hanging out with lawyers. You don’t have time to go out with your normal friends because you’re working. You’re working every other weekend.
So more and more, as time goes by you’re being channeled down to just a handful of lawyers that you’re going to hang out with. Unless of course you jump ship and go to a bank. They did that sometimes. But even so, you’re very much locked into a very small bubble of awareness. And ultimately I just couldn’t see myself being very satisfied with that. I could’ve done it.
That weekend I started searching around in the newspapers and came across an ad for a hypnotherapy school, and I renewed my interest. I enrolled in a year long program, like one weekend a month, for a year, and that’s what started me going.
As I was doing that program I then decided, you know what, I prefer this infinitely over doing law. So I started tracking out my career plan. I actually spent two years using my salary and my holidays to fund all these projects, hypnosis, NLP, and so on, and once I had enough experience, and I’m like, I think I can maybe give this a go.
I handed my resignation letter in, which is one of the hardest things I’ve done, I think, but I’m very happy I did so. And that was it. Six months later I was out on my own, a struggling hypnotherapist.
HTA: Everyone is always curious about the next question: how and when was HTA born?
Igor Ledochowski: Informally, the business that became the Hypnosis Training Academy started in December 2004 when I first pitched the idea to Cliff who would go on to become my business partner. At the time it was called Street Hypnosis. Actually, I bought the website in 2000, when I was really heavy into hypnosis, after having seen, actually having watched, Darren Brown’s special. His first special was on New Year’s Eve 2000, so the millennium. I had just come home from a New Year’s Eve party, his special was on, so I watched it.
And for me the reason was this. For me it encapsulated the spirit of what I wanted to do, which is, take hypnosis out of the therapy room and into everyday life. To me that was what street hypnosis, the title, encapsulated, was the idea of taking it to the streets.
Later, it became basically Stage Hypnosis done on the street. But that wasn’t my original idea for it. My original idea was just, it’s something you do on a bus, on a plane, on a train, anywhere where there’s people. You can enhance your quality of life, your performance, et cetera, with hypnosis.
So that was the beginning of it. Then of course I tried to build a brand of my own, but I didn’t do very well with it, because I lacked all the marketing skills that would enable me to share my hypnosis vision.
During 2005 and 2006 Cliff ran some tests and built a customer list with some of my early products because he saw value in my mission – to use hypnosis to be a force for good in the world. But it wasn’t until January 2007 that things turned around and the Hypnosis Training Academy began to really take shape.
HTA: What’s been your most profound hypnotic experience to date?
Igor Ledochowski: I’d probably say it was that very first time having a progressive relaxation in the Silva method. And the reason for it is, I had never … I was like 18, maybe 19 at the time, had an experience like that before.
I’d have to give that the number one spot, because it was really the first time I’d ever had an experience like that.
And I’m very grateful for that, because some hypnotists don’t have such experiences so early on. That said, I don’t want to kid you, I did have some problems in a sense.
One of the techniques they teach is called glove anesthesia, and an arm levitation is part of that, and I couldn’t get the arm levitation or the anesthesia, so I didn’t get the phenomena. It took me years to get the phenomena. But for someone who was trapped inside their head to suddenly have this glorious feeling of wellbeing in your body was just, at the time absolutely fantastic.
Then this also goes to show, a lot of hypnotists, there’s a bit of a fashion nowadays to look down on the progressive relaxation as slow and cumbersome and all the rest of it, but it’s a beautiful induction. For someone who’s never experienced it before, it is a phenomenal induction.
HTA: What is your hope for hypnosis going forward, in terms of the industry?
Igor Ledochowski: I think my hope is that … A couple of things. One is that it creates more … And I think this is happening now. It develops a more mainstream acceptability, so that it becomes like acupuncture, or Chiropractic or has entered the mainstream consciousness. It’s no longer really a fringe thing.
This is the case, for example, in Israel. In Israel, only a licensed psychologist is allowed to do hypnotherapy. In fact you’re not even allowed to do guided imagery unless you’re a psychologist.
I think that’s a huge mistake, and a number of reasons for it. Number one, psychology is such a huge field, they already have a ton of fascinating things to learn, and the chances that someone will specialize in hypnosis. There’s some insanely smart doctors, but there’s only one Milton Erickson. Why? There’s more than enough talent in the hypnosis field. But there’s just so many different areas of interest that very very few medical doctors choose to specialize in hypnosis.
Erickson was just a fluke of his own personal history. So if you over-regulate, if you … I have no problems with hypnotherapy associations arising, but if you make one dominant, and it sets the standard for everyone else, and tells everyone else what they must be, this rigid prescriptive model, then I think you will stifle the field.
There’s been, especially in the last … Since I got into this, in this century, from the beginning of this century, has been an explosion of creativity in the hypnosis space. Absolute explosion, it’s been wonderful to see. And the creativity is because of all the people that have come into it. And they’ve been unstifled, unhindered, by having to live up to some pseudo-standard that somebody who’s themselves a little bit dead from the neck down decided to impose on the field.
For example, when I wrote the first book, the Deep Trance Training Manual, one of the reviewers, actually one of my lecturers in the first hypnotherapy school I went to, he refused to review it. And his reasoning for it was to say, he loved the book, but at the end of it I put a little bit in about street hypnosis, about saying basically, “Go out there and just hypnotize people and have fun with these inductions, and just do it.”
He didn’t like that. He likened this to a doctor handing out medical prescriptions, giving people drugs, at a dinner party. And I think he’s dead wrong. That is a poor analogy. Absolutely poor analogy. Because you’re now robbing people of the opportunity to experience hypnosis for themselves.
There were some elements of his criticism that are worthwhile. I’ve made the mistake, I’ve sat at someone’s birthday party for two hours helping someone through some issue or other, and missed the whole party. So that was not the smartest thing for me to do, right. Because I was helping someone. But this is also where we give up the idea of hypnotic gifts, which can be given in five minutes. Just a little taste, the way it opens up people’s mind is unreal.
This is the thing. Hypnotic gifts, for me, is a thing I’ve been chasing for 20 years, since I saw Darren Brown do his show. Because he was basically giving people pseudo-hypnotic gifts. In other words, hypnotic experiences.
They weren’t really gifts, in the sense that people didn’t know what to take home and do with it, but they were amazing experiences that opened their mind, and the wonder, and the delight, and the sense of possibility went into people’s minds. I’ve never forgotten that. To limit that to a therapeutic office when you have a problem, shame. Absolute shame.
That’s the kind of thing that happens, that’s institutionalized thinking. We must preserve the honor of the institution. And I think that’s dead wrong. You must encourage people to experiment, within a bound of ethics, of course.
In other words, you don’t want to harm people. But aside from harming people, and outside of harming people, you should have relative carte blanche, as long as you’re honest with your volunteers in what you’re doing, to experiment and try new things out. That’s how the field evolves.
That’s a danger that I think hypnosis will face in the next, I don’t know, 50 years or so. As it gets more popular, there will be a desire, a drive, to institutionalize it. Either to put it under the thumb of something like the APA, the American Psychological Association, in the US, and of course equivalent in other countries.
Or, for a unitary body to emerge in a country that is the only institution allowed to grant hypnotic lessons to anoint the hypnotist, so to speak. And that, I think, would be a terrible, terrible, mistake. You would, in an instant, kill the creativity that we’ve seen exploding over the last 20 years.
HTA: You briefly mentioned ethics, can you explain why using hypnosis as a “force for good” has been paramount to your work and what you teach?
Igor Ledochowski: It goes back to the original concept, street hypnosis. Take hypnosis out into the world. And what do you take to the world? What are you going to do? You can show off, right. That’s what a street magician does, is to show off.
You’re left with an interesting experience, but it’s nothing that … What can you take back with you from that? You can be an evil hypnotist. For example, L. Ron Hubbard was a terrible person, but he was a good hypnotist. He was the founder of Scientology, was a great hypnotist, skill-wise, but a terrible human being, and one of the things he liked doing … Like for example he had one hypnotic subject that he met by some, I don’t know, building site or something. He locked his hand hypnotically to an iron fence, and told him the fence was glowing red hot, and then left him there.
That is messed up beyond belief. So that’s the dark side of hypnosis. And every discipline has a dark side.
So what’s the opposite of that? It’s be a force for good. That’s why I left the law firm. I left law because I just felt like I was shoving money from one account to another. I was a glorified accountant. When you take a euro note that raises a billion euros, whoopty-doo, you just had one bank pay another bank a million euros, and then they’ll pay them back again in 6 months time. It wasn’t very satisfying. I didn’t sense that I was making a difference. That’s the point, making a difference.
So I became a coach and hypnotherapist so I could actually see that I’d made a difference in someone’s life. That to me was motivating, was interesting, was exciting.
That, I think, was the heart of what hypnotherapy, hypnosis, has to offer. Making a difference in people’s lives. And “force for good” is basically saying the same thing in a different way. It’s saying, how do you make a difference in someone’s life, without necessarily presuming that you have to do therapy?
HTA: Do you have a morning routine, and what is it?
Igor Ledochowski: I don’t do coffee. It depends on what phase I’m in. I tend to go through phases, where I either work kind of manically, so I can get up at five in the morning and I’m still working, my eyes are burning, late in the night, and at other times I’ll just have a few weeks where I’m drifting and doing nothing in particular. So my routines … Also, when I travel a lot, my routines fall apart. So I don’t really have a set routine per se, just because I haven’t really been fixed in a place in over 10 years. And hopefully they’ll change that soon. So the answer right now is no, and that’s mostly because travel screws up all your routines.
But what I’ve been experimenting with right now is doing hypnosis, self-hypnosis, in my sleep. That’s really interesting. It’s also more efficient.
It’s a lot like lucid dreaming. There’s two components to it. Lucid dreaming is one of them. So when you actually can get lucid, you can do basically anything that hypnotherapy allows you to do, with instant success. Because you can hallucinate anything, you can feel anything, you can make anything happen. So if you can hit lucid dreaming, you are in the ultimate hypnotic space.
So anything you would normally want to do in hypnosis, or self-hypnosis, in a lucid dream, is 100 if not 1,000x more real, potent, et cetera. But that’s not the only place, because again, it takes some effort to get into lucid dreams, especially when you have a hectic or special life. Lucid dreams tend to get blocked by stress.
The other place, which is the more reliable, is hypnagogia and hypnopompia. Hypnagogia is the state you shift through as you fall asleep, and hypnopompia is a state you shift through as you wake up in the morning.
So ever since I did the Silva method, because they recommended doing self-hypnosis in the mornings, when you still have that hypnopompic aftershock, and that was the genius piece of advice from the Silva guys. Absolutely genius. So I tend to use those periods. I guard them jealousy.
For example, when I do seminars, I will typically fall asleep going through what happened on that day of seminar, and thinking ahead, in the morning, I typically rewrite the entire seminar and plan for that day, based on the experiences I had the day before.
It’s not so much a conscious thing, I just, around somewhere between 3:00 and 5:00 AM, I’m semi-lucid in the sense that I’m getting close enough to the dream state, and close enough to normal waking state, that ideas start flowing in.
And I’ll typically just get up, write them down quickly, go back to sleep, write some more, go back to sleep, write some more, until I’ve basically redesigned the whole thing.
The other part of it is, again, trusting my unconscious, self-hypnosis. It is the most creative place, bar-none.
HTA: So who have been your greatest role models, and why?
Igor Ledochowski: For hypnosis, hands down, it’s Milton Erickson, no question. He was a phenomenal man.
To me, hypnosis is always the mother discipline. And very early on, that year of hypnotherapy training introduced me to Milton Erickson. As soon as I came across Milton Erickson, that was it. I loved his whole trickster personality, the way he made miracles happen, the way he could, in a single conversation, totally shift the course of someone’s life. He was elegant, he was eloquent, he was powerful, he was a miracle worker, I was blown away by him. I think he was a great remodel. So once I saw him, once I found him, that was it. My course was set.
There’s other people, like John Overdurf. Even though he never formally mentored me, I just went to his seminars, and I took some coaching with him, I definitely had him as a remodel, and I view him as a personal mentor.
The reason I say that is because…
The reason I say that is because you see a lot of hypnotists either very full of their ego, or they don’t really live up to their own principles as much. And I’ve worked with a lot of hypnotists, and some great ones, but John Overdurf really lives and breathes his principles. I can’t say that of many people in this field. He’s a huge influence because of that reason.
HTA: What’s the best piece of life or business advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
Igor Ledochowski: Oh man… How do you separate them? Because I have a treasure trove of little moments that are really important.
So in my hypnotherapy practice, a man called Elliott Wald, a great guy. He started a chain of stop smoking clinics in the UK, very very successful man, self-made man, self-made millionaire in fact.
I did a deal with him where I would teach his hypnotists hypnosis, so they could do their things better, and he would mentor me a little bit, or take me under his wing, for business things.
The biggest thing that he said, that really just blew me away, was,
“You’ve got to spend as much time working on your business as you spend working in your business.”
Because up until that point I spent every waking hour I had trying to perfect my hypnosis, thinking that that would make me successful, and here’s the answer: it doesn’t.
It helps, absolutely, being great at hypnosis helps. It does not make you successful on its own. You also have to work on the business scales: marketing, sales. Self-organization. Huge, right.
Strategy, huge, right. So that was a huge lesson that came very, very timely, because I was really struggling at the time. Financially speaking. So that was one thing.
Another thing was from Overdurf, when it came to presenting. There’s two things there. One is, he really encouraged me to let my personality out on stage, as opposed to trying to create a personality for the stage. That sense of genuineness.
His insight was really like, “You don’t have to be your worst self on the stage. It’s okay if you be your best self, as long as it’s yourself.”
That really got me. That was like, wow, he’s got it. That put me on a long path of gradually trying to be a little bit more vulnerable on the stage, rather than trying to pretend that I’ve got it all covered.
He’s the first, in fact the only, person who ever pointed the power of vulnerability out to me. In a industry full of egos, and there’s a lot of egos in this industry, that was a really, really, really valuable lesson to get.
The third one also came form Overdurf, and that was, people come to your seminars for the conscious mind reasons, the certificate, the techniques, the stuff they can check off their checklist. But people come back to train with you for the unconscious reasons.
The transformation they receive. And that really stuck with me. Again, since then, I’ve always striven to have my seminars make big promises that we deliver on, so the conscious mind can go “Yep, I’ve got all these things I thought it’d get.” But then, make those the mask, the excuse, to basically do personal transformation. So people leave my seminars having had this amazing experience.
I’m trying to give people a semblance of what I had when I had my first progressive relaxation, where they leave feeling like, “There’s something to me I didn’t know I had. I just amazed myself.” I want people to leave feeling like that.
I don’t always get it of course.
The bigger the audience, the harder it is to get everyone to have a moment like that. But if they can even witness other people having it, that alone can give them enough inspiration to keep going, and eventually get their own big breakthrough like that too.
So those are really helpful lessons, in terms of being successful, on both the ethical side, the success side, the pitfalls that you can fall into as a hypnotist, especially as a presenter.
We are in the so-called guru industry, and there’s a lot of pitfalls that come with that, and I’ve seen people being bitten by it. I’ve come close myself. I’ve made a number of mistakes that, luckily, I think I’ve just pulled myself back from the brink of.
But having some of these ideas as guidelines really helped me when I got a bit too arrogant onstage. Then I’d think, “What happened? What is that?” Really thinking it through, suddenly realizing, “I know where I’m going with this.” That’s really helped me keep much more of a level head about what’s going on.
There’s another piece that a friend of mine gave me. He wore a T-shirt once that, the font said, “Follow those who seek enlightenment.” And on the back it said, “Beware those who claim to have found it.” And again, I think that is very much how I try to model myself.
HTA: Which books or films have influenced you the most?
Igor Ledochowski: I loved the original Star Wars trilogy, the originals. And here’s the weird part, I don’t even remember seeing them. I’ve always loved them, but I don’t actually remember how I’ve seen them. I didn’t find this out until a few years ago. My uncle told me, my favorite uncle. He actually took me to the original Star Wars in, what was it, 1977, so I would’ve been 3, 4 years old, something like that, and I have zero recollection of the movie. All I know is, again, from this story, is that I was so excited by the movie. I missed half of it because he had to keep walking me out to go to the toilet. Because I was so excited. I think that it has had a huge, humongous impact on me.
It’s trying even against impossible odds. I mean think about it, here’s this little kid from nowhere, and he’s trying to rescue his dad, who’s basically the biggest evil in the universe. Not just the world, the entire universe. And he does it. It’s a tremendous story of hope. It’s a tremendous story of, actually, love. I think there’s a lot of strong Christian principles embedded within that. So I think it’s a phenomenal story.
Far from perfect, but the underlying mythology it created is incredibly powerful. And it still resonates with me today, more than the actual movies. Sadly, the Disney era versions of them have lost the myth. They’re just movies. They’re all right, well some of them. But they never plumbed the mythological depth. As a result of which, they’re just a space movie. Which is okay. Whereas the originals, they are stuff of legends, of real myth, and that has had, I think, a lifelong impact on me, no question.
And the other one was The Hobbit, Tolkien. Because that started me in the whole fantasy genre. I would’ve been, gosh, 12 years old, something like that maybe, 13 maybe. So perfect age to read The Hobbit. That got me hooked. From that point, my love of fantasy novels grew, and extrapolated from that is sci-fi novels as well. I particularly liked that genre, or pretty much any other genre, because both are about the imagination. Different ways of using the imagination.
Both get you to conceptualize a whole different way of being in life. And I suspect that’s partly one of the reasons why we create as many programs, because I’m constantly thinking, what else can we do with this? I think that’s a very sci-fi mindset, if that makes sense.
HTA: If you could embed a message into the unconscious mind of every aspiring hypnotist, what would it be?
Igor Ledochowski: It’ll never come on its own. Just start doing it. Just start doing it for fun. The simplest thing, learn hypnotic gifts, and give them to all your friends, your family, the people you meet. And somewhere on the lines you’ll find what your calling is.
Do you want to be a coach, do you want to be a hypnotherapist, do you want to be an entertainer?
Do you want to be something completely different, do you want to be a salesperson, that is now using hypnotic principles to be better at that? It doesn’t matter. You only learn by doing something. You cannot learn an abstraction. If you learn an abstraction, you’ll have to relearn everything you think you knew when you actually apply it practically in the field. I’m not saying that abstract learning isn’t valuable. It is, but nothing beats doing it.
There’s an old German saying which translates as, “Trying is more powerful than studying.” Doing is more powerful than studying. That would be able to say to people, you can read all the books you want, you can watch all the tapes you want, but until you sit someone down and actually do it, you’re not a hypnotist. You’re a hypnotist the day you sit someone in a chair and say, “Close your eyes and go into a trance.”
That has made you a hypnotist. No matter how crappy the induction is, no matter how bad the response is, you are now a hypnotist. You are now in our ranks. And you’re not that, even if you spend 10 years studying everything, and you know it all intellectually. The first time you sit someone down in that chair, that’s when you’re born as a hypnotist.
HTA: What traits or habits or behaviors did you have to give up in order to become who you are today?
Igor Ledochowski: Mindsets, I think. The way I think about things and people. One, I’m not as dogmatic about people as I used to be. I don’t need to know exactly what’s going on. Principles like the NLP presuppositions, I love them. When I saw them, it was like meeting an old friend again, and I suddenly realized, “Oh yes.”
Then being able to apply that as genuinely a way of seeing people has been phenomenal. And the temptation to gossip and think ill of someone, or think of someone … I still have it. Every now and again someone does something dumb, and I just want to get angry at them or whatever. I’m still a human being. Again, no saint here. But then I can think my way out of it and go “Okay, how did they get to that point?”
HTA: And lastly, where do you think you’d be today if you hadn’t found hypnosis?
Igor Ledochowski: Quite honestly, without a doubt, if I hadn’t have found hypnosis, my life would have been messed up. If I didn’t have something to steer me in a healthier direction, I would have been a mass of complexes. I would’ve been a workaholic, because that’s the only thing I could’ve done right. Burnouts, probably drugs and alcohol to compensate. No doubt a couple of failed marriages. And self-loathing, just laid on thick. That would probably be me.
And I sometimes frighten myself by contemplating how my life would’ve been, had I stayed a lawyer. And it really is terrifying to me.