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About the Author
Michael Neill

Michael Neill

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Michael Neill is an internationally renowned success coach and the best-selling author of The Inside Out Revolution, You Can Have What You Want, Feel Happy Now!, the Effortless Success audio program and Supercoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life. He has spent the past 22 years as a coach, adviser, friend, mentor and creative spark plug to celebrities, CEOs, royalty, and people who want to get more out of their lives. His books have been translated into 13 languages, and his public talks and seminars have been well received at the United Nations and around the world.

Over twenty four years ago, I articulated a simple three-part “mission statement” for what I wanted to do with my life:

  • To uncover the secrets of happiness, success, and well-being
  • To live the secrets in my own life
  • To share the best of what I learn with others

I’ve stayed pretty true to that mission ever since that time, but there have been a few moments along the way that have changed the course of its unfolding in dramatic fashion. The first was back in 1998, and I’ll share that story in a moment; the second was in 2007, and while I share that story in depth in The Inside-Out Revolution, I’m also hoping to share another version of it with you in a fun and different way. The third seems to be happening in real-time right now.

In 1998, I was teaching NLP in the UK and coaching clients from all over the world. By the end of the year, I was ready for a break so I booked myself onto a five-day retreat in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. While I was there, I had an experience that changed my life. I dropped into a deeper place inside myself that I had forgotten existed – a place of unconditional happiness and well-being that was my home as a young child but had long been buried underneath a mountain of depression, or as I would have called it then, “responsible grown-up thinking”.

To my surprise, the feeling stayed with me after I flew back to the UK, and for a period of around six weeks I was a different person. I made decisions easily, without having to think about them, including the decision to move to America; I got incredibly present with my wife and two young children; I spoke my mind without fear; I created and filled a training from scratch and without effort.

I had finally achieved part one of my mission, and my articulation of the “secret formula” I had uncovered was simply this:

Be happy and follow your wanting

Because happiness was a given over that six-week period and what I wanted was obvious to me in the clarity of mind I was experiencing, I looked forward to a lifetime of ease and well-being and looked back on what my colleagues and I had been teaching and wondered what all the fuss was about.

Unfortunately, I then fell back into my old thinking so comprehensively that I didn’t even notice I’d lost touch with that deeper part of myself until I woke up to it again almost 18 months later. Once again, it became obvious to me how simple life was and how straightforward it was to live happily in the world. Until the next time I “fell asleep”, this time for a little over a year.

The next seven years or so of my life were spent between sleep and wakefulness, trying to figure out what the heck was going on in my own psyche and how to live in the deeper feeling that clearly to me underpinned everything right and good in the world. My first book, You Can Have What You Want , was an attempt to share the secret formula and in particular how to recognize and follow your wanting; Feel Happy Now! was the best of what I’d learned about how to manage the “be happy”part of the formula.

In 2007, I stumbled across the principles behind the inside-out understanding, and while my formulation of “the secret” didn’t change, my understanding of what happiness was and where it came from shifted radically. I realized that people were born happy, and that well-being and wisdom are as innately a part of my being as having a nose is a part of my face.

I continued to live between sleep and wakefulness, but I would seemingly stay awake for longer and on the whole, my dreams when I fell back to sleep were nowhere near as scary. I’ve written about the inside-out understanding extensively since that time, and now I’m hoping to share with you a fun new articulation of what I’ve seen that’s proven so incredibly helpful not only to me but to the tens of thousands of people who’ve bought the book and listen to the radio show each week.

If our feelings are the barometer of our thoughts, what are the deeper feelings of happiness, peace, and well-being indicators of in our thinking?

Here are some excerpts from the transcript of how I talked about it in my recent TEDx talk, “Why Aren’t We Awesomer?”:


 

“Some of you have seen this image before:

Wife mother


I want you to raise your right hand if you can see the young woman in the picture, and your left hand if you can see the old woman. Raise both hands if you can only see one of them. And look around – that’s a large part of the room.

Now is this really a picture of an old woman or a young woman?

Well both – or neither. But in fact that’s how we think the mind works. We think the mind is a camera, and it’s recording what’s really going on out there, but depending on how we use it we have a different experience.

So if I photograph her from this angle she’s really young, but if I photograph her from that angle she’s really old. If I look at life this way it’s a wonderful experience, but if I look at it that way it’s very depressing.

And that’s the idea behind positive thinking. If we change our attitude – if we change the angle from which we hold the camera – we get a different experience of life.

But here’s the thing: this is not a picture of an old woman, and it is not a picture of a young woman. It is a series of lines on a piece of paper. We’re the ones creating both the old woman and the young woman.

Let’s take another one:

Kanizsa-Triangle

This is an illusion called the Kanizsa triangle. How many of you can see the white triangle bold in the middle? Fantastic – you’re all making it up – there is no white triangle! It’s an illusion created by the mind to make sense of the negative space. It’s not brighter or duller than anything else. Now isn’t that interesting. We make up something, we can all see it, and it’s not there. I wonder if that might have implications for how we live our lives? [laughter]

Let’s take another one – this is called “the silhouette illusion”, or “the spinning woman”.

Spinning_Dancer

I want you to raise your right hand if you can see her spinning clockwise, and I want you to raise your left hand if you can see her spinning counterclockwise… look around [surprised laughter] And just for fun, see if you can get her to change directions. [audience gasps]

Now which way is she actually spinning? Neither – she doesn’t exist. And this is why the physicist David Bohm said “Thought creates our world, and then says ‘I didn’t do it’.”

We live in a world of thought, but we think we live in a world of external experience. The mind does not work like a camera – the mind works like a projector…

It’s like in a movie. The projector of mind takes the film of thought and projects it onto the screen of consciousness. And it really looks like it’s happening out there and we experience it in here and it’s scary or it’s exciting or it’s awesome or it’s terrible – but none of it is actually happening outside of our own minds…

And when you start to see that the mind slows down. And when the mind slows down, something else comes through.”


That something else is the deeper human potential – the source of forgiveness, resilience, and creative genius.

Here’s the final piece of the puzzle – the Rosetta stone which unlocks our deeper potential and allows us to live more in the light of our creative genius. I’m going to share this “key” in two simple words of potentially life-changing advice, then I’m going to talk about why they matter so much and how to make use of them in your own life.

Ready?

Settle down

Now in case you’re not hearing trumpets and choirs of angels singing in the background, let’s talk about it…

1. People do really well when they’re settled down

Great athletes and performers in every arena of life talk about “flow states” – periods of time where everything seems to come together and they are able to operate at the peak of their powers with little or no extraneous thought. Yet the same thing is true for all of us. When our thinking minds are at rest, the deeper mind comes through, and we effortlessly make largely unconscious “no-brainer” decisions to navigate whatever arena we find ourselves in.

We seem to intuitively know that we’ll do our best by approaching important situations with a clear head, which is why we know to take ourselves for a walk around the block, a quiet cup of coffee, or even an extended bathroom break before having a significant conversation or making a big decision.

Which begins to answer the question everyone asks when they start to see the importance of settling down – how do I do it?

2. Settling down is the most natural thing in the world

Ever see a young child having a tantrum? They can be contorting like an insane orangutan, screaming things normally reserved for the scripts of horror movies, and then minutes later, they’re as good as new, happily toddling along to take part in their next adventure.

So why is this the key to pretty much everything?

3. A settled down mind is the gateway for both creative insight and leaps in consciousness

I was talking to an executive last week about a huge breakthrough at his company. His top engineers had spotted a design flaw in the company’s most important product line which was going to take a minimum of one year to correct, as the only plausible fix involved retooling the factories involved in its manufacture. After racking their brains for weeks to find an alternative, they finally admitted defeat late one night and the executive prepared to make a formal announcement the next morning about changes that would cost the company tens of millions of dollars and probably lose them their most important customer.

To his surprise, when he came back into the office at 6am, the team of engineers were already there, hard at work. When he asked them what was going on, it turned out that having given up on solving the problem, their minds settled down. Independent of one another, each of them had had a creative insight into solving the problem and made their way back into work in the middle of the night, only to find their colleagues already there working. The problem was solved, and over time this “back burner” approach to creativity became standard operating procedure within the company.

But it’s not just creative insights that come through a settled down mind – it’s also the kind of leaps in consciousness that change our experience of life across the board.

Here’s how I explained it to a client recently:

Imagine yourself inside the glass elevator of consciousness. You know that it’s designed to go up, but for the life of you you can’t find the controls anywhere. There’s a button marked “meditation” which works sometimes but not others; so does the one marked “prayer”, and the ones labelled “walks in nature”, “deeper understanding”, and “hang out in a peaceful feeling”.

The more you walk around trying to find buttons to make the elevator rise, the more it bounces up and down, occasionally taking you higher but just as often dropping you down into lower levels of consciousness and muddle.

I did a poetry course at university many years ago, and got into several arguments with my professor that no matter how convinced I was that Suzanne Vega was the only person in the world who really understood me, song lyrics did not qualify as poetry. Be that as it may, I’m going to conclude this trilogy of tips with a song lyric from a fairly recent hit called “Home”, written by Greg Holden and Drew Pearson and performed by Phillip Phillips:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave (wave) is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
You get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

If you’d like to learn more, I’d encourage you to do the following:

1. Watch “Why Aren’t We Awesomer?” all the way through. What do you notice for yourself? What else might be possible if you knew the mind was a projector, not a camera?

2. Read my book The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever
from cover to cover. If you’re not saying “Holy fu$#ing mother of god!” by the end of it, go back and read it again.

3. Sign up for our free weekly tips and explore the resources at www.supercoach.com and www.insideoutrevolution.com. Sometimes you just need to see things from a few dozen different angles before it becomes obvious what it is that you’re really looking at.

Have fun, learn heaps, and remember – you were born happy!

With all my love,
Michael

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Written by | Michael Neill

Michael Neill is an internationally renowned success coach and the best-selling author of The Inside Out Revolution, You Can Have What You Want, Feel Happy Now!, the Effortless Success audio program and Supercoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life. He has spent the past 22 years as a coach, adviser, friend, mentor and creative spark plug to celebrities, CEOs, royalty, and people who want to get more out of their lives. His books have been translated into 13 languages, and his public talks and seminars have been well received at the United Nations and around the world.