Today I went with some new friends and jumped off a cliff.
Cliff jumping is dangerous! I recommend you do not do it. Stick to swimming instead.
With that in mind, if you’d asked me this morning if I would jump eight feet into cold water, I would have said no, no way. But when you show up to find a group of your friends jumping off a cliff, it’s suddenly easier to convince yourself to do it. But I still had some hesitation.
We are all familiar with the sensation of unexpected cold water. I thought it was going to be warm. Nope.
I looked at the depth of the river. It was safe. But I still hesitated when I felt the cold water on my feet. I started losing sensation immediately. So in my head, plunging my entire body in meant daggers.
Last year, I would not have been able to convince myself to jump. I would have sat on the shore line and claimed I didn’t want to get my clothes wet (that excuse is BS). But because I recently studied NLP, I was able to change my mind about it.
When you make a decision and act on it, your subconscious has to be on board with the idea. Otherwise it will hold you back. You will fumble the ball before an incoming tackle, stammer while giving a speech, hide from discomfort on dry land. But your conscious mind can direct your subconscious if you learn how.
While my friends and I were working up courage to jump into the water, someone said they didn’t want to get their shirt wet. I thought about it as an opportunity to practice persuasion. I considered asking, “Won’t it dry later?” before realizing that question was completely inert. Their real concern was probably the same as mine. So I changed things around in my head.
Instead, I imagined, “Yeah, but won’t you feel like a hero for jumping in on the walk back?”
You can imagine walking with your friends through a forest trail, feeling good about overcoming a fear. You can feel good because you looked good in front of them, or because you did something for you. Whatever works best.
My body immediately shifted when I imagined that. I took my shoes off. But I wasn’t quite there yet. I saw myself jumping off the cliff into the water again. I still wanted to move away. So I changed things around a bit: What if I tried it from a first person perspective? What if I took a first person perspective from the jump, with a feeling of courage? What if I only imagined swimming in the water, and a good feeling to go with it?
There it is. The last one got me. In the midst of my friends, I threw my shirt off. Everyone saw. I had committed myself. No turning back.
The interesting thing is that when I hit the water, it didn’t even seem cold. I wonder if the sensation was overwritten by my expectation.