Habits & Health episode 68 with Luke Chao, who uses hypnosis to help change the way people think to help tackle procrastination and bad habits.
- What is hypnotism?
- How can you help someone with how to think and/or what to think?
- How to get clients to think like someone who does not have the issue they have
- Stoicism and Buddhism
Luke Chao – 68
[00:00:00] Tony Winyard: Habits and health episode 68. Welcome to another edition of habits and health. My guest today is Luke Chao, who founded the Morpheus clinic for hypnosis in 2006. And has been practicing hypnotherapy ever since then under the philosophy of we make hypnosis make sense. We talk about how hypnosis can improve a person’s habits and quality of life.
And about attitudes, and we touch upon philosophy and some other areas. That’s this week’s episode. with Luke Chao if you enjoy this episode please do share it with someone who would get some real value from it
Habits and health, my guest today, Luke Chao. How are you Luke?
[00:00:43] Luke Chao: Good. Good. How are you?
[00:00:45] Tony Winyard: I’m pretty good. So we find you in Canada
[00:00:49] Luke Chao: Correct in Toronto.
[00:00:51] Tony Winyard: You’ve been living there a long time?
[00:00:54] Luke Chao: Yeah, I moved here for university. I went to U of T for English literature And I decided to stay because I figured that, at least in the English speaking world, I could either move to New York or London as a step up. But other than one of those two places, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
[00:01:12] Tony Winyard: We’re now into, spring, summer is approaching. I imagine the weather is a little bit better in Toronto now.
[00:01:19] Luke Chao: The spring was teased for a few days, just last weekend. And now.
it’s gloomy again, and it was raining yesterday, but I am quite confident that with June approaching, spring is just around the corner. If not summer.
[00:01:35] Tony Winyard: It’s funny in England, we complain about the weather, but the weather seems to me to be far worse in Toronto than it is in London.
[00:01:41] Luke Chao: It’s it’s up and down, but a lot of Canadians do fly south to Florida for the winter. So I can’t blame them for that.
[00:01:49] Tony Winyard: What is it that you do Luke?
[00:01:51] Luke Chao: Yeah. So shortly after graduating, in 2006, I decided out of all things to start a practice in hypnotherapy. So after my English lit degree, I got a certification in hypnotism. Didn’t really know what else. Too with my degree and decided that I’m going to be a professional communicator and a professional thinker of some kind.
So I, I was interested in hypnotism since I was a teenager. And, and I knew people were. A livelihood doing this. So I thought, okay, I’ll get trained. I’ll open a practice. I’ll do it like everyone else. I didn’t know. At the time that at almost the age of 40, I would still be doing it, but that’s where I am.
So it’s the morphous clinic for hypnosis in Toronto. During the pandemic, we’ve been doing more outreach to the rest of the world and, things like being a podcast guest, starting a TikTok channel, posting more free content on YouTube. And I’m finding that the messages I deliver one on one to my paying clients really resonate with most of the audience who listens elsewhere. And I figured that, since I have a fairly well established practice here, I might as well just share really cool thoughts and good ideas that I’ve come to realize over the past 15 plus years.
[00:03:13] Tony Winyard: What do you think it was that attracted you to hypnotism in the first place?
[00:03:19] Luke Chao: So before I was an English student, as an adolescent, I wouldn’t say I was really a happy kid. I was quite bookish, and I spent a lot of time in the public library. Just pulling books off the shelves and reading them. And, among all the books I read, some of the ones that resonated with me the most had to do with how one might use one’s mind to improve one’s lot in life.
So books about meditation and Buddhism and Zen and. Along with those books about hypnotism, books, about self development or personal development really resonate with me. And then my degree is in English lit. So I studied how the masters of the language used the language in ways that still resonate with us like 400 years later.
I would say that it’s not just that I chose hypnotism as a professional. It’s also that it seems like each of the clients who comes in generally likes what I do, and then they come back or their friends come in and it’s not just the I’ve decided to start this career. It’s also that my clients are choosing me.
[00:04:32] Tony Winyard: Are there many different types of hypnotism?
[00:04:36] Luke Chao: There definitely are. So hypnotism in most jurisdictions is not a regulated practice. So if you see a dentist, you know they’re going to do a root canal in a specific way. There are best practices backed by lots of research and published studies, and a good scientific foundation.
Hypnotism is more like yoga instruction or fitness training in that, because it’s not one of those government regulated professions with four-year colleges, the training is hit and miss. There are excellent hypnotists out there and there are also people who’ve taken a short course. And, who haven’t really thought through what they’re saying to the clients that they have in somewhat of a vulnerable, or at least open-minded state.
I would say there are as many different schools of thought as there are instructors. And partly because of the province that I practice in. I practice in a style that is clearly not psychotherapy. So it is possible to practice hypnotism in a style where you’re taking people back to their past healing, their inner child, and doing work that kind of looks like psychotherapy.
The work I do is, the more traditional style of hypnotism where I’m using verbal suggestion or in other words, My spoken words to affect the client in very specific ways. The interesting thing is that once you practice like this for any number of years, you start to get good at it. And those who never practice or develop skill, in using verbal suggestion in this way, they often downplay it. But I think hypnotists really we can be first rate hypnotists, but we’ll never be first rate psychotherapists .
[00:06:31] Tony Winyard: Are there any typical sort of conditions that you’re helping people with? What are the main uses for what you do?
[00:06:40] Luke Chao: Yeah. I would categorize all of the cases I see as situations the client has found themselves in. where a change in mindset or a change in attitude or perspective will help tremendously or even alleviate the problem all together. And that means I’m not really doing the kind of work that looks at someone’s past.
I’m not really doing exploratory work. I am leaving that to the licensed psychotherapists in some jurisdictions, the psychotherapy is still unregulated. So there is no such thing as a licensed, but in Ontario there is. But then I’m doing what the psychotherapists tend not to do, which is to provide very clear directive, strong guidance as to what to think.
Cause that’s the profession that’s hypnotism using our words to provide very clear, strong, direct guidance for what to think. So of course, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out What’s the best way to think to live a high quality of life.
[00:07:46] Tony Winyard: What to think! That’s a very interesting statement. So how do you mean, can you elaborate when you say what to think?
[00:07:51] Luke Chao: Yeah. Obviously, anyone who’s educated to a certain degree takes pride in knowing how to think and not just being told what to think. And also if you become a client of a psychotherapist, they’ll also say the teacher, how to think or how to solve your own problems. They want you to tell you what to think, but that leaves a really big gap in the available services for someone whose problem can be resolved. If someone just straight up told them what to think. And I’ll give you an example.
I’ll pick smoking cessation as an example, cause hypnotists famously work with smokers and most people know someone who’s quit smoking through hypnotism. So I’m going demystify it a little bit.
So most of the available solutions for tobacco smoking would be nicotine replacement therapy or pharmaceuticals, none of which teach the client, or I guess the patient, how a non-smoker deals with stress, how a non-smoker gets up in the morning and starts their day. How a non-smoker. It copes when other people are smoking around them.
So when I’m working with my smoking clients, I am in a way giving them the worldview of a non-smoker. Now, if you’re a non-smoker or if the listeners a non-smoker, it’s just the most obvious thing in the world. If someone’s smoking you step away from them and if you’re stressed, you take a break and breaks with clean air are the best breaks.
And, if you went outside and someone’s tainted the air with smoke, that break just got ruined for you. So that’s how a non-smoker thinks. And it’s quite different from how a smoker thinks, because a smoker, when they’re stressed, they tell themselves they need a cigarette. And that’s not actually a truthful statement because probably what they need is some relief from the stress. Cigarettes, a joke I often make is if cigarettes actually relaxed people than smokers would be the most relaxed people in the world, but not tobacco smokers. They’re not the most relaxed people in the world. So in the few hours that I have with a client that the hypnosis part is about getting their analytical thinking to take a step back so they can hear what I have to say.
And then all the rest of the session is me communicating to the client very clearly and directively a helpful way to think. So for a smoker. I teach them to think like a non-smoker for someone who’s afraid of public speaking, I teach them how to think, like someone who’s become very accustomed to, or even feels empowered by public speaking, to use a computing analogy.
I don’t really view people as having a hardware problem. I view them as having bugs in the software that I can patch.
[00:10:51] Tony Winyard: Someone, comes to see you cause they want to stop smoking. So is this something that can be, you can help in just one session or does it require a number of sessions or is it dependent on the person?
[00:11:02] Luke Chao: Yeah, so it does depend on the client. The message being communicated during hypnosis makes a really big difference as to how many hours of listening that client needs to achieve what they want to achieve, because a really unhelpful message. It doesn’t matter how many hours of listening the client is. And they’re going to be more confused afterwards and not. Th they won’t have their thinking clarified. So a lot has to do with the message being delivered, which is why I think in terms of, okay, what’s a good worldview for a high quality life. And that’s why I’m, appearing as guests to it.
It’s not just to talk about hypnotism it’s to also share worldviews that can help people in the situations that they’re in. So in some cases after one session, if someone’s not a heavy smoker, It clicks for them. They were born as a non-smoker. They’re smoking years were temporary and they are going to return to normal.
Any withdrawal symptoms they experience are just part of that transition back to normal. And once they’re back to normal, they’re just not going to go there again because their adolescent phase, didn’t have to continue that long. So in some cases it might take two visits or two hours of listening to reach that point where they’re like, oh, okay.
I got it. I’m back to normal. Now, in some cases it might be three. But for smoking specifically in my experience when the message is right, it’s rarely more than that.
[00:12:31] Tony Winyard: Does it require them to be really focused in the session with you?
[00:12:37] Luke Chao: Yeah. So I usually use the word client, I’m not a physician. And also I, again, I really see it as like a software problem as opposed to a hardware problem. So hypnotism, it does the relationship between the hypnotist and the client while the client’s being hypnotized is such that. It’s not just that the hypnotist is speaking to the client with well-chosen words, communicating well, thought out ideas. It’s also that the client has to listen wholeheartedly. So this is part of the reason why sometimes it’s one or two or three hours of listening. It’s because if someone’s really listening to how a non-smoker thinks and then making that, thinking their own thinking.
It’s inevitable. They’re also going to develop a distaste for tobacco smoke. They’re also going to see, breaks where they breathe, clean air as. Top tier most luxurious breaks they could take. But it’s when people don’t listen, that’s where the repetition is necessary. That, or if people don’t listen wholeheartedly, if people listen, w with their intellect or their critical mind, but they don’t listen to wholeheartedly, they don’t take to heart.
What’s being said, th that’s where repetition might be necessary or in some cases, even many hours of listening might not get through to the client. Yes, the more the client’s focused, the more they’re listening, the better the results are.
[00:14:06] Tony Winyard: And the reason I asked that question is because it does seem well we’re regularly told now that people’s attention spans are far less than they used to be. And so what is your experience do you find people generally are able to focus well? Or is there a problem with focus for many people?
[00:14:23] Luke Chao: I have quite a number of cases where the client has been diagnosed with ADHD. And they’ve told me that they haven’t focused that much before in their lives. I don’t want this interview actually to be just about me, because at the end of this, I want your listeners to thinking that they don’t have to pay me money to be able to benefit from the work I’m doing. Ideally, if by the end of this your listeners think, okay. If that’s a good worldview for Luke and his clients, let me see if I can make a, my, my own as well. So I’ll be happy after answering this question to, to, if you have any questions about habits or anything. But, to answer the question about focus it’s that I do have to, as you might be able to hear say things that are interesting enough to capture attention and to be pleasant enough to listen to that people feel better listening to me than letting their minds wander to work.
So hypnotists famously have compelling voices, but that comes with the territory because if we’re not easy to listen to, then we’re not going to have clients who listen very carefully to us.
[00:15:43] Tony Winyard: You just talked there about you don’t want this just to be about you. What do you mean by that? Are you hoping that people… do you want to just let people know more about hypnotism in general?
[00:15:55] Luke Chao: No, I actually don’t want people to think that they need a professional in order to have better lives. I think that while many people are privileged enough that they can hire a professional. To achieve their goals or to have better lives, not everyone’s in that position or not everyone is convinced that it’s a worthy use of their money, especially if they have, rising bills to pay.
I hope to share my insights into, let’s say habit change, or habits worth adopting because most people adopt new habits without being hypnotized, most people change their minds on something or they quit smoking without being hypnotized. So let’s look at them, let’s look at what mindsets they had.
Cause I also looked at them. My clients who pay me that they’re privileged enough that they can pay me to shortcut the process of learning for them. But let’s look at, people who succeed in forming new habits or what habits are worth forming. And then. Your listeners can extract what they can from even just this interview.
[00:17:01] Tony Winyard: So what do you think is the difference then? As you say, many people are able to successfully create habits and they find that trigger that they can repeat on a regular basis and make a new behavior automated. So what do you think is the difference between people who are able to do that and the people who do maybe require something such as hypnotism?
[00:17:23] Luke Chao: So one missing piece of the puzzle that I don’t hear talked about often enough is the dialogue in your head as you’re implementing the new habit. Now as a hypnotist, I help people develop better self-talk or. Dialogue in one’s head, that’s more helpful than inhibiting or, or limiting.
And I guess, because we can’t really read each other’s minds, it’s not something that’s very talked about yet it is absolutely critical. And we can look at professional athletes as people with really good habits sustained over a long time, such that they are world-class at what they do. And in their heads, they cannot tell themselves that they’re going to lose the game. They can’t stay too fixated on the mistake they made a split-second ago. They have to set their hearts and minds on winning and they have to set their hearts and minds on success. And it’s not just professional athletics. So I don’t know whether you want to keep this part, but, currently there’s the war going on in Ukraine and the Ukrainians are surprising everyone, by trouncing the Russians and it’s not because of superior equipment necessarily. It’s definitely not because of superior numbers. It’s because of superior morale. It’s because the Ukrainians are fighting for their Homeland and their independence and their people. The Russians don’t even want to be in the war.
So when I talk about setting your mind on success, setting your mind on victory. It applies to very high stakes situations like that, but it also applies to a goal like let’s pick quitting smoking. If you start to, embark upon a, a stop smoking journey with the mindset that it’s going to be hard and tobacco is more powerful than you and it’s like quitting heroin, you’re getting in your own way unnecessarily. But if you set yourself on a path of quitting smoking and inside your head, the dialogue is more like, okay, cigarettes are bundles of dead tobacco leaves. They have no consciousness or will have their own. You’re the human being, you’re the conscious thinking decision making human being, cigarettes have got nothing against you. That mindset, that higher degree of morale causes a higher degree of success in my experience with clients a much higher degree of success. When it comes to habit, change a big missing piece of the puzzle that I don’t think enough people are talking about is the dialogue, I can also use the example of overcoming a fear or phobia where one of the standard treatments for fears and phobias is exposure therapy, where the client or patient is asked to expose themselves to the triggering stimulus. So someone with a fear of spiders is asked to get closer and closer to spiders, but if the dialogue in their head is that the spider is going to jump on them or it’s terrifying that doesn’t help the fear. And in some cases, people notice that exposure therapy makes their fear worse. So the missing piece of the puzzle, I often have to fill in, even among clients who’ve seen a psychologist, is that if you aren’t going to start approaching spiders or looking at images of spiders, here’s a helpful thought to keep in your head.
They are ugly, but harmless. So if in your head, you’re thinking they’re really ugly, but they’re harmless. As you get closer and closer, then you start associating more relaxed, grounded feelings with the visual image or the proximity to spiders. So that I know that habit change is a really big topic and many books have been written about it.
But this particular piece of the puzzle, I don’t think is talked about enough.
[00:21:29] Tony Winyard: I want to dig into behavior change and habit formation and so on just before we dig into that, I want to go back to something you said a few minutes ago. You spoke about thinking about smoking as just being a lot of dead leaves, or I forget exactly the words you used.
[00:21:44] Luke Chao: Yup.
[00:21:45] Tony Winyard: And I know that you read widely and you read philosophy have you heard much of Marcus Aurelius?
[00:21:51] Luke Chao: Oh, yes. I’m very influenced by all the Stoics
Because I actually made a Tik Tok video recently about, it was titled, a 2000 year old life advice from a slave and an emperor. I literally just posted it yesterday because even though it’s 2000 year old life advice. And even though none of us are Roman emperors, the fact that their advice is so pertinent even today for modern human beings around the world in very different civilizations, this speaks to how much we have in common as human beings.
Whenever someone tries to convince me that we’re more different than similar. I know it’s bollocks. We are much more similar than different. That’s why, it doesn’t have to be a Roman emperor, halfway around the world. We had, the Daoist writers and the Buddhists writing, similar things that benefit us in the 21st century.
When I talk about there’s no hardware problem and there’s sometimes bugs in the software. This is what I’m talking about. And many of the problems we face today are actually just part of the human condition, which means that many people have thought about it. But yes, I have read Marcus Aurelius.
[00:23:32] Tony Winyard: The statement you made about the dead leaves, tobacco reminded me of, I forget exactly what he said, but it was around about wearing the purple robes that the emperor used to wear, and it was only the emperors were allowed to wear purple. And it was a very rare color then.
And only rich people had it. And it came from, I think it was the shellfish or something. Do you remember the passage I’m referring
[00:23:54] Luke Chao: I don’t remember, but I know that?
it is a very rare, die. I think you’re right. It could come from a shellfish.
[00:24:01] Tony Winyard: And he was saying, I have to remind yourself that your purple robe is merely a dead fish that they’ve extracted the from and remind yourself. And he was always trying to remind himself about certain things and that the act of copulation is merely liquids being exchanged or something.
[00:24:21] Luke Chao: And it’s true. It’s true. It doesn’t have to be disgusting. It doesn’t have to be disheartened. It’s actually quite, and see in my opinion, and the Stoics would agree with me. Truth is liberating, even if the truth seems ugly and. I mentioned that halfway around the world. Th thousands of years ago, the wisdom is still pertinent.
So the Tibetan Buddhists, used to, and still, I believe do something called a corpse meditation where like the Stoics saying memento Mori, you imagine yourself decomposing as a corpse.
[00:24:59] Tony Winyard: Before we proceed, if you could just explain to people what Momento Mori is, because I imagine many people don’t know?
[00:25:05] Luke Chao: Yeah. So memento Mori is a Latin phrase, roughly translated as, remember that you too inevitably will die, and it’s not meant to scare you. It’s not meant to dishearten you or depress. It’s meant to cast into stark relief, your current aliveness and the full extent of your current aliveness. And I forgot who it was who said it? I think it was a Buddhist monk who said, because you’re alive, everything is possible.
And that’s a flip side to Momento Mori, but, that phrase it’s influenced a lot of culture in the medieval times. So when you look at Hamlet and he’s got the skull in his hand, saying alas poor Yorick that’s, an example of the meditation upon death, that kind of grounds us and humbles us.
[00:26:01] Tony Winyard: And I think also, Momento Mori, when it’s applied. It actually gives you much more gratitude for life and therefore you enjoy life more as well.
[00:26:08] Luke Chao: And there’s so many problems caused by neglecting the full extent of one’s aliveness we talked about smoking cessation. Come on, you wouldn’t do that to a child. You wouldn’t do that to a cat or a dog or a wild bird or a Fox. Why are you doing it to yourself? It’s because you’ve forgotten the full extent of your life. People who over eat people who neglect themselves, people who are hard on themselves, they treat themselves more like objects than like living, breathing human beings. And we could go into a rabbit hole, about industrialization and, the modern education system, but the, remembering our aliveness is a message I keep communicating just again and again to different people.
[00:26:51] Tony Winyard: You mentioned, you do read a lot. You’ve read a lot around. Eastern and Western philosophy and so on. Has that changed in any way, what you do, with your work?
[00:27:01] Luke Chao: Absolutely. I read much more philosophy than I do hypnotherapy because the science of hypnotism, so words affecting most people to a significant degree. That’s very well-established but the open-ended questions, the unresolved questions. What are you going to say to people once their minds are in that accepting suggestible state?
And I never want to be responsible for giving someone a worse world view than they walked in with. I don’t want to be responsible for giving someone, even a better, but incomplete or just not very helpful worldview. So I do turn to the multi thousand year tradition of philosophy more than the few hundred year old philosophy of hypnotism or the a hundred plus year tradition of psychology for insights and knowledge into how one might live a good life. And those books that have survived the test because not every book has survived the test of time, but those books that have survived the test of time did so for good reason, it’s because there are universal truths that transcend generations, that transcend cultures. And to me, speak to the common humanity.
w. A tiny bit of knowledge and still say things that are helpful and resonant. So I figured that sounded like Marcus, or really as who have never met before and never will met. If he can say things that resonate with me, then I can borrow from his wisdom and then share with someone who I barely know as well.
[00:28:45] Tony Winyard: So let’s get back to the behaviors and habits. So what would you say has more habits have been most helpful for you in your kind of program?
[00:28:56] Luke Chao: Yeah. So since we had that two wonderful introduction with memento Mori and the chorus meditation, that we have and because a hypnotist has so little time to make their points because we have a reputation for rapid change. We have so few hours to make our P that I can’t get to know the client and speak to them specifically like a psychotherapist. I have to the, this first habit is not going to be too much of a surprise. It’s that I intentionally seek critical feedback From my clients about the work that I do, and many people bury their heads in the sand. Many people are afraid to look at what could be, bad or gross, or, what is unpleasant. But it’s very much a part of life that say, I can’t help every client or not everything I say is as helpful or wise as in my head, I imagined it to be. So just as a Buddhist might imagine themselves one day as a corpse and a Stoic might imagine that one day they will pass as well.
While I’m still telling the story of my life day after day, I do want to, look at not just the bright side of life, but to intentionally counteract the tendency to, to ignore the scary or the unpleasant by intentionally seeking critical feedback.
And this has, so earlier you asked, something to the effect of do all hypnotist practice in a similar way. And I said, no. So I’ve come to realize by intentionally seeking critical feedback that a lot of the received wisdom about hypnotism doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. For example, a hypnotist might tell you that, everyone can be hypnotized. Everyone’s a good candidate, but then you intentionally collect critical feedback and you realize that’s wrong. Now, if you never collect critical feedback, You’re dissatisfied clients are just going to disappear and they don’t want to talk with you and you don’t even know. So the process or the habit of intentionally seeking critical feedback, generates new knowledge, it disproves points that should be disproven.
And it validates points that, I’m going to keep as knowledge. So again, I don’t take for granted that someone, that one of my clients is opening up their minds for me to shape their worldview. That’s a very big responsibility. So I do intentionally seek critical feedback. It hasn’t always been easy.
This is why people avoid it, especially since I take pride in my work and this is my only adult career. I do think a lot about it when I get feedback that says the client hasn’t changed or what I said, wasn’t too helpful, but I need the feedback. I can’t. If I am going to be the best I can be, I can’t operate without the negative critical ffedback
[00:32:12] Tony Winyard: I’m racking my brains at the moment, trying to think. I dunno if it was Seneca or Epictetus talked about, there’s the quote that is more known by Shakespeare, but it’s, I’m trying to remember the wording now. we’re only wronged if we believe it to be or something I forget the..
[00:32:29] Luke Chao: So from Shakespeare, Polonius in Hamlet said, that there is no, it might or might not that Shakespeare said so much, but that you’re probably thinking of something different, in Hamlet, I’m going to misquote him, but there’s nothing, either good nor bad, but thinking makes it, and Seneca said translated, of course. That w we suffer more in imagination than in reality.
[00:32:53] Tony Winyard: That’s the one I was trying to remember.
[00:32:54] Luke Chao: that actually is how hypnotism actually exerts an effect. So how do we have people imagine in their heads for a few hours and be better off afterwards? Like how the heck does that work? 2000 plus years ago, Seneca nailed it. We suffer more in imagination than in reality.
Therefore, if we change what we imagine we reduce or eliminate the unnecessary suffering,
[00:33:20] Tony Winyard: And so how easy or difficult is that?
[00:33:23] Luke Chao: not easy, not obvious, but also unfortunately too often disregarded. So the thing is If we entertain our imagined suffering. If we follow those lines of thought, if we just explore those lines of thought and we expand upon them and we dwell upon them in my view, now I’m speaking as a hypnotist I’m not trained in any other profession, but as a hypnotist, that way of thinking multiplies the suffering. We have to look at the thinking of people who don’t have that suffering or who don’t have that problem for insights. So this is why I read philosophy because I am looking for, so that those insights into the human condition, that, Teach my clients so that they can reduce their unnecessary stuff.
Obviously like we all are going to, at some point, get sick in our lives. We all are going to, if we’re adventurous enough, we’re going to be injured. Either, either psychically or physically. And at some point we are going to pass all of us. So we can’t get rid of that, but there’s so much unnecessary suffering that we perpetuate in our heads and hearts that we don’t have to.
If we got clear guidance as to how to think and study. So it’s not easy, but it’s also not pursued enough. At least I’ll give credit to the hypnotists for putting in the effort to teach people ways to think that reduced the imagined wrongs or the imagined slights.
If I may share a metaphor, one thing I’ve often been saying to my adult clients. So most of my clients are adults, but this resonates, it’s not just children who believe in monsters in the dark adults. Imagine threats in the unknown. And those imagined threats in the unknown are just as unreal as the child’s imagined monsters in the dark.
So an adult who’s afraid to speak in public to share their very best ideas in public. They imagined that in the audience, there could be someone who jumps up and points and, tears down their argument that they imagined their career could be derailed by some unseen force. And it’s. Just like the childhood monsters in the dark.
[00:35:50] Tony Winyard: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s all around the same sort of thing as perceiving that someone’s offended you because have they really offended you? You choose to take offence don’t you?
[00:36:03] Luke Chao: And Marcus Aurelius was fantastic at articulating that the idea that you don’t have to accept every gift that’s offered. And we do have some say over. So in common language, often people say you made me angry,
[00:36:22] Tony Winyard: Yeah.
[00:36:22] Luke Chao: but that’s a false model of how anger works. It’s, you heard the words and usually through unconscious processes, you put meaning on those words, that add up to an insult and then you felt anger as one does when he’s insulted. But it’s in that, as Victor Frankl said, th the space between stimulus and response, that’s where we can think that’s where consciousness comes in.
That’s where. Stoicism or other life philosophies like that can step in to say, Hey, whoa, wait a minute. You don’t have to accept this, would be insult that’s offered you. You can, recognize that, say your best friend’s opinion of you matters a whole lot more than this random person on the internet.
[00:37:08] Tony Winyard: I don’t know if you’re familiar with a great book by Bill Irvine, about insults. I forget the title of the book, I think he went for a year with trying to get people to insult him because he felt that he couldn’t be in insultedbecause it was, it was all about perception wasn’t it? Do I feel insulted? Or you can try hard to insult me, but I don’t feel insulted.
[00:37:28] Luke Chao: Yeah. interestingly, I haven’t read that book. I, but I am reminded of, a trainer in a discipline related to hypnotism called NLP,, L Michael Hall who identified uninsultability as one of the more desirable states of mind. And, I think at first I didn’t really pay too much attention to that, but if you unpack it, uninsultability means you’re crystal clear about who you are and your worth and, the positive impacts that you have made and will continue to make on others, such that whatever word someone throws at you are just noise in the wind relative to the strength of who you actually are. So there’s actually a lot to this idea of uninsultability.
[00:38:24] Tony Winyard: We’ve talked about quite a few different books in the last few minutes. Is there a book that’s really moved to for any reason?
[00:38:31] Luke Chao: Yeah. And I, so I had a hard time picking one. I did think about this because this was a question you posed before we talked today. And the one I came up with kind of relates to a conversation we talked about earlier. It’s called the "Denial of Death". By Ernest Becker and it actually won the Pulitzer prize, I think, after he passed in 1974.
So we’re all, most of us are probably familiar that Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychology identified repressed sexuality as the cause of much what was called neurosis, but which we now call anxiety. And he was working in the Victorian era and he had a very select group of clients from whom he drew his conclusions.
Fast forward, many decades, Ernest Becker, revisited that hypothesis. And he posits that rather than repressed sexuality. It’s our repressed mortality that is the root of neurosis, or I guess now we’re calling it anxiety. And I think he’s spot on with that. And of course it recalls our earlier conversation about how the Buddhist and the Stoics would very intentionally unrepress their knowledge of their mortality to feel more whole, to feel more complete. So it’s not just, 40 or 50 years ago that this hypothesis was formed. It was just very well articulated. In the book, the denial of death by Ernest Becker. And there’s a lot more to it. And so he came up with a, I guess I’ll call it a philosophy or a school of thought called terror management theory I believe, that, suggest that for example, religion, or it seems like every guy has the desire to create something that outlives him, but he has this, theory. Much of what drives humanity is to manage the terror around our knowledge of our mortality. It’s that we’re aware of our mortality in ways that other animals don’t seem to be, or to be as much of. So yeah, that, that book made quite an impact on me and definitely has informed my sessions with clients since i read it.
[00:40:53] Tony Winyard: It sounds a fascinating book so I probably need to go and look that up. If people want to find out more about you, Luke, where would they go? To your website? Social media.
[00:41:03] Luke Chao: Yeah, so probably the best place to hear me talk would be my YouTube channel, which is at Morpheus hypnosis. Or I mentioned I have a newer Tik TOK channel with more concise soundbite bites, also at Morphis hypnosis. And if the listeners considering doing personal one on one work with me, the best way to reach me is through the Morpheus clinic for hypnosis at morpheusclinic.com.
[00:41:29] Tony Winyard: To finish is there a quotation that you particularly like.
[00:41:34] Luke Chao: Yeah. Again, it’s so hard to pick one quote out of the whole entire universe of quotes, but it is one that we pinpointed through our earlier discussion And it’s when Seneca said that we suffer more. In imagination than we do in reality, because that’s the crux of my life work and it’s under-recognized, which is why it has to be repeated.
[00:42:00] Tony Winyard: And when can you recall when you first came across that?
[00:42:03] Luke Chao: I can’t recall, but, I know that I got into Stoicism later then I got into Buddhism. So if I pinpoint it on the timeline of my life, probably it would be my later twenties or early thirties.
[00:42:20] Tony Winyard: And, can you recall. Was it that particular quote that really stuck with you for all
for all this time?
[00:42:27] Luke Chao: I think it resonated with me mainly because it took many diverse, disparate thoughts about how we can reduce suffering and because I’m a hypnotist through hypnotism and it condensed it into well as few words as it is it’s yeah, I would say I had a similar idea, but not nearly as well articulated since I started getting into hypnotism, but that quote, just nails exactly how a few hours of listening to some good grounded, truthful ideas can help someone tremendously.
[00:43:08] Tony Winyard: Luke, I think we’ll leave it there. So thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience. It was fascinating.
[00:43:13] Luke Chao: You’re welcome. And thank you for having me on.
[00:43:17] Tony Winyard: Next week is episode 69 with Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves 15 years ago her son Charlie had less than 24 hours to live, had he not received some vital antibiotics which saved his life. He was six weeks old at the time and had bacterial meningitis and this sent Elizabeth on a journey which led her to become a functional medicine practitioner and nutritionist and we discuss about what happened and how her son survived and what that taught her, it’s quite a fascinating episode. That’s next week elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves. Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode if you know anyone who’d get some value from this please do share the episode with them and hope you have a great week.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I’ll send you periodic updates about the podcast.