One night, in the middle of the night, I was woken up by a crashing sound in the kitchen.
I was a newlywed, only a few months into my new adventure in the game of life and eager to protect my new wifey, so I got out of bed and snuck down the corridor to the kitchen door.
I peered into the darkness.
I stayed perfectly still and listened for footsteps.
It was pitch black. Deathly quiet.
After a minute I concluded that whoever had been in the house must have broken something and then run off, so I turned on the light.
When I looked around I noticed a china bowl was smashed on the floor.
(It had been on top of the fridge with fresh garlic in it before it had fallen)
But how had it fallen?
Had someone just been in the house?
Maybe the house was haunted?
I took a couple of steps into the room, bent down to pick up the bowl and the garlic then I stood up.
I was in front of the fridge…
I looked up at the spot where the bowl had been a few minutes ago…
I was curious…
I wanted to know how it had fallen off and smashed, seemingly on its own.
That’s when I saw a 6 foot snake curled up on top of the fridge with its head and neck extended out into space.
Its beady eyes were literally 3 inches in front of my face, floating in the air.
I could see its forked tongue.
I saw its fangs!
The next thing I remember I was standing in the kitchen doorway again. I don’t even remember turning around and going there. I was just there.
(I hate snakes. Something about them just freaks me right out.)
When I recovered my composure I looked the snake over a bit more (from a safe distance) and realized this one was a harmless garden variety. Still, I didn’t have the faintest idea how to get it out of my house.
I also didn’t know who to call at 3am.
My wifey refused to go back to bed (or let me go back to bed) until she knew it was gone and eventually I found a number for a reptile rescue company and someone came out to get it.
By the time the ranger came the snake had slithered down behind the back of the fridge, but this guy didn’t care. He just stuck his hand in the gap between the fridge and the wall and felt around until he found it. Then he grabbed it, wrapped it around his arm and showed it to me before he put it into a bag.
(This is just a random picture, but it’s about what I was dealing with!)
Fear of snakes was the key to one of the biggest breakthroughs in psychological history – a breakthrough that could free you from the hold your fears have over you.
Many people live with a paralyzing fear of snakes.
I’m not talking about normal fear. I’m talking fear that goes beyond anxiety. It’s called ophidiophobia.
People with a phobia of snakes have nightmares, get cold sweats and sometimes can’t leave their house. The mere mention of snakes drives them into a desperate frenzy of fear (if you suffered from ophidiophobia you wouldn’t be able to read the rest of this email – you’d be freaking out right about now because of the picture I posted above).
Dr Albert Bandura, considered to be one of the most influential psychologists ever, developed a way to cure phobias called ‘guided mastery’.
He discovered this method after placing an ad in the Palo Alto News asking for people with a debilitating fear of snakes who wanted to be cured.
Hundreds of people responded.
When they arrived at the basement in the psychology department at Stanford University they were greeted with a smile and casually invited to make their way into the next room to pick up a six foot boa constrictor resting in a terrarium.
Unsurprisingly, no one would go into the room and quite a few freaked right out!
So Bandura calmed them down and set them up on the other side of a window looking in. Then a professional snake handler walked in the room, lifted the snake out of the terrarium and sat with it on his lap while they watched.
Nothing scary happened. The snake sat there quietly, just chilling out with the handler.
Once the participants had a few minutes to watch the handler with the snake Bandura invited them to accompany him into the room and copy what the handler had just done, starting with just stepping into and out of the room.
Most were hesitant, but a few were actually willing to give it a try.
Soon, with a little more confidence, a few agreed to touch the snake wearing hockey gloves and pads. After that, some of them would touch it without the gloves. Some even lifted it up quickly.
Eventually, many people who had lived for years as desperate ophidiophobics walked into the room, took the snake out of the terrarium and sat with it on their laps.
The amazing thing is the whole process took only 3 hours!
180 minutes from desperate phobic, to cure.
Talk about a breakthrough!
After a little more experimentation and after following up on the people who had been cured of their fear, Dr Bandura discovered something else even more extraordinary – something that changed the whole practice of psychology in the 1980’s!
The process of ‘guided mastery’ showed that simply by watching somebody do something they couldn’t, then copying what that person had done, people with a hard-core fear were able to overcome it.
(During his interviews with the people who participated in the snake experiment, one participant told Bandura how she had a pleasant dream in which a friendly boa constrictor helped her wash the dishes and another participant had started wearing a necklace for the first time in her life.)
As miraculous and remarkable as this was, it was only the beginning!
After Bandura discovered he could cure people of their phobias through ‘guided mastery’ and while he was keeping in touch with the people he’d cured, he discovered something even more impressive…
Something that has changed modern psychology (and me) forever.
Dr Bandura reported that after being cured of their snake phobia some participants had became confident at public speaking, or started becoming more bold in their professional work. One participant had taken up horseback riding even though he’d hardly been able to go outdoors before.
There were lots more examples, but the thrust of the discovery was that across the board, the people who had participated in the experiment and overcome their fear of snakes had become more uninhibited by fear in other aspects of their lives.
They put more effort into things they did.
They had more resilience.
They were willing to persevere.
They were more passionate about life.
Dr Bandura called this phenomenon ‘self-efficacy’.
The bottom line – after overcoming a significant fear or challenge in your life, ‘self-efficacy’ kicks in and you become more and more competent in all kinds of other things.
(It’s just cause and effect)
I’ve experienced that.
After struggling for years with internet marketing failure I became anxious about ever ‘making it’.
Thankfully, and with the help of an amazing mentor, I was able to overcome the fear and started getting past my roadblocks, one at a time.
Each time I moved on I would get more excited, more enthusiastic and more confident about facing the next challenge.
And when I got my first really successful marketing campaign up and running…
I was just so…
I don’t even know the right word.
Then that ecstasy overflowed into other challenges I was struggling with and they became easier to overcome too.
I want you to know what that feels like!
I want you to use guided mastery and self-efficacy to succeed in your online business.
There’s no doubt about it – if someone can simply show you how to do something and give you the opportunity to copy what they’ve done…
You can master it!
Then you’ll become competent at doing that one thing AND you’ll become more competent at everything else in your life.
This is a scientifically proven fact.
If you want to test this out you’ll need a trainer who can SHOW you exactly how it’s done and HELP YOU copy their strategy, step-by-step.
Not just in theory.
But in practice.