Flow and Incremental Success with Hypnosis

Note : This article originally appeared in the 5-PATH ® IAHP Journal Winter 2016 Edition 

Flow and Incremental Success with Hypnosis

There’s a state of being we can get to where everything just seems to flow so easily. You’ve likely been in this state before. It feels comfortable, and while there you may not even realize it. Some people call it flow, or the zone, and I believe we can purposefully help ourselves, and our clients reach this state with regular practice and a few key insights from recent scientific discoveries.

Flow is Optimal at a 4% Ratio of [Difficulty/Ability]

There are a lot of books written on the topic of flow, but a particular book caught my attention because it identifies a specific formula for reaching this optimal state.

In Steven Kolter’s book, The Rise of Superman, we reach the state of flow when: “there’s a very specific relationship between the difficulty of a task and our ability to perform that task. If the challenge is too great, fear swamps the system. If the challenge is too easy, we stop paying attention. Flow appears near the emotional midpoint between boredom and anxiety, in what scientists call the flow channel—the spot where the task is hard enough to make us stretch but not hard enough to make us snap.”

What is the ratio between the difficulty of the task and our ability to perform it? You guessed it, it’s 4% according to Kolter and his research. The task must be 4% more difficult than our ability to perform it.

Here’s a few ways we can help our clients achieve this 4% in the Hypnosis office.

Age Regression, then Focus to Reduce Feelings of Being Overwhelmed

If your client feels overwhelmed, it’s because their perceived challenge greatly outweighs their perceived ability to complete it. One of the best ways to help clients that feel overwhelmed is to first help remove fear and erroneous beliefs with powerful Age Regression then proceed to Age Progression and help clients discover their 4% - what they can do.

Here’s a simplified example: A client feels overwhelmed with too many responsibilities - home, work, and their 5-year old having problems at school. They turn to food for comfort (through distraction) and are coming to you to lose weight and reduce stress.

In Age Regression, your client realizes that they’re worried about their 5-year old based on their own challenging experience at that age. Using Informed Child Technique, you are able to eliminate that fear which brings your client much needed peace and feelings of confidence.

Now that your client is feeling more at peace and confident, you take them to the future using Age Progression, and have them experience an upcoming challenge in their life. This is where you help them find their 4%. Here’s how - during the Age Progression session, instead of your client feeling overwhelmed, they will feel empowered. At that precise moment where in the past your client would have felt overwhelmed, ask them “What’s the next smallest thing you can do?”

The smallest thing IS the 4% for your client. They may realize they’re already doing everything they can, and eating healthy, losing weight, and sleeping better IS the best thing for them. Or they may realize there actually is something else they can and should be doing, but up to that point, had been paralyzed with fear.

Either way, you’ve just empowered your client with their 4%.

Now reinforce it with Incremental Success, which is basically a continual 4% and how I present the idea of flow to clients.

Empowered with Incremental Success

I think of Incremental Success as the ability to continually reach for the next 4%. For ourselves and our clients it means the ability to get a little bit better every single day. I usually will NOT tell clients about Flow or 4% because it’s often too far out of their comfort zone. Instead, introducing the idea with the term Incremental Success seems to be more palatable for clients.

Here are a few ways to incorporate it into your sessions:

  • Introduce Incremental Success with clients on the first session. Suggest in the pre-hypnosis interview that you’re not looking for 100% success, rather continual improvement day after day. But you know your clients best! Do it in whatever way you think will work for them. For some, they will appreciate the science behind the 4%.
  • Reinforce with Hypnotic Suggestions, for example: “You begin to notice things getting a little better each and every day. You feel more confident and hopeful, and this Incremental Success empowers you and quickly becomes a foundation for lasting success for the rest of your life.”
  • Reinforce by focusing on what’s working: For subsequent hypnosis sessions, I always begin with the following question: “What worked for you this week?” Doing so helps clients begin to focus on everything that is changing and going well.

Hypnotic insight techniques  like Age Regression and Forgiveness work provides huge transformational shifts for our clients - helping them achieve much more than 4%. It brings a much-needed catalyst to our clients own empowerment. Add to that the daily, ongoing change - the continual 4% of Incremental Success. It can provide a foundation for continual improvement that helps empower our clients not just while they’re in our hypnosis office but for the rest of their lives.

When we help our clients to adopt the idea of Incremental Success, they will be able to meet every challenge in their lives with hope and confidence instead of fear, feelings of being overwhelmed, or out of control.

Finding Your Own 4%

Incremental Success isn’t just for our clients, we can adopt this mindset as well. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to start every morning with the following question “Where’s my 4% today?”, and when faced with an obstacle or challenge to look for the 4%, something you can actually achieve - just outside your comfort zone but not too far to feel overwhelmed.