The Miranda Hart Strategy: Any Good?
As I write this blog it looks as though lockdown restrictions are starting to ‘ease up a touch’ and people are beginning to look forward to coming out of ‘lockdown hibernation’. However, a few days ago I was scrolling through my social media landscape and suddenly came across the marvellous and talented, comedian, actor and writer, Miranda Hart who posted on twitter…
It’s not just me that’s preparing for and accepting the second wave is it? I of course hope my sense of it’s inevitably is wrong. But I find it easier to imagine it’s going to happen and be pleasantly surprised than the other way around.
— Miranda Hart (@mermhart) May 15, 2020
Now this really isn’t a blog about my take on pandemic statistics and whether or not I believe there will (or won’t be) a ‘second wave’. Instead it’s more an exploration of whether that idea of preparing for the worst and being pleasantly surprised is a good strategy or not.
Ultimately people tend to have 2 opposite views about this idea…
1) I always expect the worst to avoid being disappointed
2) I hope for the best, thinking that will attract good things into my life
But are either of these correct? Or useful? Is there a middle ground? Or are there some useful distinctions to make?
Perhaps none of this is quite as clear as it first appears.
What does it mean to EXPECT the worst? “Expecting” the worst implies that you have really bought into the story that something bad is going to happen. This can end up leading you to hold far more stress, tension and anxiety in the body that is quite simply not needed.
But hold on…
Doesn’t anxiety help you? Keep you safe? No! (This is simply not true and you can read my thoughts on this in more detail here: Corona Virus: Is Anxiety Helpful?)
Bottom line is that if you are REALLY ‘expecting’ the worst then you are likely living with increased stress and anxiety in the body… that’s the downside.
So am I saying that those who are part of the “expect the best to attract positive things into your life” brigade, have somehow got it right?
No… not at all and in many ways this may just be a more dangerous mindset.
In my experience those who seem to abide by the “only focus on the positive stuff” are sometimes more troubled and anxious than those with the opposite view.
Consider a metaphor I have often used before.
If my 6 year old son walked into my bedroom and said, “Daddy, Daddy, there’s a monster under my bed!” How reassuring would it be if I replied to him. “No George, there is no monster but whatever you do DON’T look at it”?
Let’s be honest here, that really wouldn’t work at all because the act of telling him NOT to look at it would give credibility to the monster being a real thing.
Often people who ONLY allow themselves to think positively are doing so because they believe that ‘negative’ thinking is somehow dangerous or bad for you.
Essentially they are demanding that NO negative things MUST ever happen or MUST ever cross their minds. (Good luck with that!).
This almost obsessive resistance to getting rid of negative thoughts and ONLY having positive ones can often lead to excess anxiety and psychological suffering.
Why both views are flawed…
Whether people are ‘expecting the best’ or ‘expecting the worse’ to change how they feel they are still falling for the idea that “if you think it then you have to feel it.”
But this is NOT true.
I have worked with lots fearful flyers who sometimes say, “I just want to be like all the people who aren’t afraid of flying who NEVER have a negative thought about it”.
Well whenever I ask people who fly without anxiety, “have you ever had a negative thought about flying? (e.g. What if there was turbulence? What if we crashed? What would happen if the engine failed? etc) they almost always reply “YES, of course”.
But if I ask them “What technique do you use so you don’t freak out about flying when these “negative” thoughts pop up?” They simply look at me with a blank expression and shrug (by the way this is the universal symbol for “dunno”).
The reality is it never even occurred to them they had to do anything with these thoughts. They don’t have to get rid of them, dwell on them or feel them in any way, because deep down they know that they are JUST thoughts. And negative thoughts don’t affect the ‘outside’ world.
Try this experiment for yourself:
Imagine winning the lottery. Go on let yourself! Really imagine vividly being there at home watching the lottery unfold whilst clutching your ticket.
See the numbers you chose and watch with increasing excitement as each number gets called out one by one.
See what it would be like as you realised you have each of those numbers and you have just won the mega-jackpot.
Millions are now yours and you’ll likely never have to worry about money again.
Great! Well done! Thanks for doing that.
Now be honest. Given that you just vividly imagined winning the lottery, are you now actually more likely to win it?
The answer… No!
Has anything in the “outside” world actually changed or been influenced in anyway?
Well what if you did this lottery visualisation 10-15 times a day? Then would you statistically be more likely to win the lottery?
Still no… right?
Ok fine, but what if you did multiple visualisations of this 30 times a day for 30 years? Surely that would make a difference?
See where this is going?
There are people who have been imagining winning the lottery for years and have even got so absorbed into that imagined story of “I’ve won the lottery” they even tell people with absolute belief and certainty, “I know I will win the lottery one day”.
But guess what?
That feeling of certainty DOESN’T tell them anything about their statistical odds of winning the lottery at all. It simply tells them how absorbed into their thinking they got. And as you know your thoughts of ‘winning the lottery’ are not the same as actually winning it. (If you want proof go check your bank account now you’ve done that visualisation.)
So what has this got to with ‘expecting the best’ or ‘preparing for the worst’.
What if instead of ‘expecting’ the worst, you could just picture possible scenarios that might be useful to prep for whilst keeping in mind they were just thoughts and that thinking this way doesn’t actually affect what will happen.
Then perhaps you could take some practical steps to prepare for scenarios WITHOUT the anxiety that accompanies thinking it’s dead cert.
Perhaps KNOWING they are just thoughts can also allow the “over-positives” to imagine possible scenarios so that they can take precautions without fearing negative thoughts.
So Miranda Hart, you may be close to a golden truth, because you didn’t say to ‘expect’ the worst, you suggested ‘imagining’ the worst. And providing you know it’s just a thought you can of course prepare for something from a place of calmness and clarity.
#hypnosis #hypnotherapy #rapidchangeworks #coronavirus #coronaanxiety
Would you like to explore how rapid changework or hypnotherapy could help you gain greater clarity or calm during this period of uncertainty? If so, then schedule your FREE 15-min initial chat where we can explore what approach might be the best fit for you to achieve your goals?
About Howard Cooper
Howard Cooper is one of Britain’s leading ‘Rapid Change’ consultants and Hypnotherapists. Known for helping people to create RAPID shifts in their thinking, Howard rejects the notion that deep and lasting change needs to take a long time.
Drawing on a variety of psychological tools, Howard has supported more than 2,500 individuals over the past 15 years on an international level, regularly bringing about transformational changes to their lives.
His practical, dynamic and innovative approach has helped people from all walks of life and ages overcome intrusive personal phobias, anxieties and issues that they have often suffered from for years, offering his clients a new lease of life.
In addition to his personal therapy work, Howard is a very popular and entertaining presenter on a range of topics relevant to society today and has a huge following amongst his peers through his podcast.
He spent almost two years as the lead psychological presenter on Virgin Atlantic’s critically acclaimed ‘Flying Without Fear’ course, and also appeared as the expert on fear of flying on Channel 4’s documentary ‘Fear of Flying: Caught on Camera’.
He has also contributed to other media appearing on the BBC, in The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Sun, CEO Magazine, just some of the media who have documented his successful ability to help people change quickly.