‘Mind Control’ Versus ‘Steering the Flow’

Control. So often, when people think about hypnosis they think about ‘control’, and specifically, ‘mind control’. Now there are some teachers of hypnosis out there who will tell you that that is exactly what hypnosis is, but in doing so, they are perpetuating a misunderstanding that sadly robs them and others of the opportunity to reach their full potential (both as hypnotists and human beings). I recently received a question via the HWT blog asking…

“How do we do self-hypnosis? Do we just control our beliefs and imaginations by ourselves? Are we just using our own imagination to control our life loops? And btw, You have helped me out a lot with hypnosis things. 🙂 “

My reply ran as follows…

“There is a lot to say about self-hypnosis… but one thing I’ll say in response to your questions is that we never control anything… we only influence. People, minds, life etc. are dynamic ‘unfolding’ chaos systems, patterns emerge from the flow (including our ‘selves’ and our ‘consciousness’) and when we are smart we get to participate in that unfolding in useful ways. We get to influence the course of the unfolding somewhat… but we never get to control it.

Control is an illusion, and if you fall for it, it is also a trap that will rob you of your true power to influence.

So, in the case of self hypnosis, what we are looking to is self influence. Influencing the dynamic cascade of events that constitutes our ongoing being.”

So I’m talking about self-hypnosis there, but it is bigger than that – life flows, people flow, minds flow and that flow is powerful. When we try to control that flow it will win (this is why simplistic hypnotic changework often has only a short duration of efficacy). We may sometimes be able to overide and control aspects of the flow for a short time, but it is never really sustainable or ever truly effective. The path to increasing ones own ‘power’ as a hypnotist is to respect the flow…

…let go of trying to control it and look to where you can influence it instead.

Now, influence is imperfect (it always is, even when it looks like it’s not), but when it is done artfully and it achieves it’s desired effect, it can look like control… but be clear – it never is. Just tipping the odds. Just nudging the system, just rolling with the variables, just gently steering the cascade. So if you want to be a great ‘hypnotist’ – AND if you want to become optimally influential in your own life – learn about the flow. Learn about how people flow and you can learn to more effectively and influentially participate in the unfolding of life. You want to make cool things happen? Learn to steer the flow!


P.S. If you want to learn more about ‘connecting with the flow’, there is a video right here talking about flow as a state of mind – Mindflow… Live!

P.P.S. And please ‘LIKE’ ↓↓↓↓↓ this and share it if you have any FB friends who would benefit from this information!

About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Cezar

    August 30, 2013

    The metaphor I have in mind is the one of a boat floating on a large river. You cannot control the exact trajectory of the boat, but you can nudge it, here and there, gently and repeatedly, so it will go towards the desired destination.

  • Jacqueline

    September 1, 2013

    Anyone who is wanting to take charge of their life and create the life they truly want should watch this. Brilliant thanks James

  • Chins

    September 2, 2013

    James, sometimes when I ask questions or say things about issues which I am passionate about, for example if I am angry about something and need to bring it up at work or at home, I find it very difficult to know how much ‘anger’ I am allowed to let show. I mean, I can’t rage at people, but at the same time, if I am softly softly 24/7 I am not going to get anywhere, am I?

    It comes from a frame I have in my mind, which is that requesting things to change or telling somebody how I think things should be done is somehow unreasonable, spiteful or annoying. I especially feel that it must be irritating for somebody to tell you that they want things done Y when you want X, so I try to either keep my mouth shut or watch what I say.

    But it means I have to control my face to not look too angry, and it all becomes very uncomfortable and I’d just love to say what I REALLY think without seeming ‘bothered’.

    I just want to know this – any advice? Any tips? This isn’t a big issue so no way will I ever seek personal help for it, I’m just asking IN GENERAL about when people have blocks like this, how can they be overcome, and do you have any perspectives you could share on such issues?

    Cheers James – you da best,

    • admin

      September 11, 2013

      Hi Chins.

      You have more choices than anger vs. softly softly. How is it that you are stopping yourself from simply being clear, centred and forthright in your communication?

      It might be useful to recognise here that anger and passion are not the same – anger is driven by fear and passion by authentic desire. Grow in true passion and power and you will transcend anger.

      Get clear about what you want and get busy creating it. Connect with purpose that transcends what others might think. Connect with your power and become a leader is our own life.

      Reject reacting to other people’s reactions (real or imagined). Move from reactive to creative.

      Forget about how you are coming across and focus on what you want to create.

      Become free from the judgements of others – know that whatever they think of you doesn’t make the slightest difference to who you are and who you are choosing to become. Detach your sense of self from other people’s reactions to you.

      Take charge of deciding the values you are going to live your life by. Get clear about what is important to you in terms of how you are going to live your life.

      Realise you can re-invent yourself every day… Becoming more clear in who you are and how you are through creative iteration.

      Become more powerful in how you show up in the world and walk through life. Grow in strength and clarity.

      Choose now to reinvent yourself and transform your way of being in the world so as you can truly transcend these issues you mention.

      When you know your own standards, values, boundaries etc. and you are centred in them and recognise that you have every entitlement to them and to act from them, there is no need for anger. You can state what you want as your simple immutable truth.

      Just a few thought!



  • Chins

    September 20, 2013

    Hi James. Can’t tell you how helpful that reply is or how helpful it has been…especially in the last few days. Thank you very much James. Great advice…great philosophy…great frame.


  • kevyale

    October 23, 2013

    I suspect Branson has thousands of ideas floated by him on any given day. He’s got an uncanny ability to weed through them mentally and cherry pick what’s likely to succeed. Half his genius is his ability to weigh the risks versus rewards before committing. But when he goes, he goes 100% pedal to the metal, in an autotelic blur. The ability to switch his perspective and step into the right personality to get each part done is what his empire’s built on.

    I’m sure when you write your blogs you have days where you can crank out lots of content and other days where you’re more suited to edit and get the admin done. At least, you were probably like that once. We all run through these natural cycles. If you’re “working for da man” you spend a lot of time working inefficiently because the business’ tasks aren’t always aligned with your current cycles. If you’re lucky enough to work for yourself then maybe you can pick the tasks to suit the mood. But if you’re a natural like Branson, or have learnt to influence your current perspective and attitude, then you can step into the person you need to be right now and get on with it, regardless of the task. The best of both worlds.

    I love the idea of being able to do this. Something comes up – some big deadline or a meeting that suddenly drags you away – and you step into a phone box, have a serious word with yourself, and come out ready to tackle it and on top of your game. You may not be able to influence what’s coming down the pipe but you can influence your attitude toward it and take control in another way. That’s got to be a win : win.

    It’s not about diving into building things immediately – maybe that’s where the child’s play analogy breaks down – it’s about fully embracing the present and adapting yourself to deal with what’s needed now, whatever that is, and keeping the child’s enthusiasm throughout. I hadn’t really thought about this in much depth until I came across this video, now you’ve really helped me see something that I think will be immensely useful. Thanks.

    All that said: You’d have to question the wisdom of someone’s get-up-and-go attitude who flies round the world in a balloon when he owns a friggin’ airline ;o)

    Another great lesson in an insightful, concise video. I’ve tried quite a few and yours are masterful. Great job sir.


Leave A Response