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“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

I live in a row of terraced houses. On my left is Norman, his glass is what I would call half empty. In the summer as we meet over the garden fence, I’ll say to him ‘what a lovely day Norman!’ His response is, ‘Nah it’s too hot for me’. In the winter when the frost and the snow is like a Christmas scene, I’ll ask, ‘Are you enjoying the weather?’ He replies, ‘I hate it it’s too cold!’. Every interaction with Norman seems to go the same way, he tends to focus on all the negatives, the limitations, and he lives his life with what I call his ‘sunglasses of doom’ on.

Peter lives on the right side and he is the opposite. He always has a cheery word or a positive comment. He is full of energy and life and even when it’s tipping with rain and miserable outside, he tells me how good it is for the slugs! He has the spectacles of ever lasting optimism!

So how do you see the world around you? Norman and Peter are extremes on a spectrum and I wonder where do you sit on this? It can be easy to focus on the negatives. In some ways it’s easier to keep your focus on the outside – on everything that is wrong around you – rather than take responsibility for where you are and what to do about it. I wonder what difference this makes on the inside though?

Bruce Lipton, in ‘The Biology of Belief’ explains how cells in a petri dish will literally move towards a nurturing substance present and move away from a poisonous substance. He describes this as moving towards growth or protection. Given that our bodies are made up of billions of cells, the same applies. We have an instinctive ‘towards or away’ response from people, places and things that are good for us or bad for us.

Imagine if we applied this principle to every decision we ever made what a difference that could make. Are you in the job you are in because it offers you opportunities to grow and develop your potential or because it pays the mortgage? What about the quality of relationships you have with people around you? Do they nurture you and allow you to grow or do they make you feel defensive?

What about Norman and Peter? Who is in growth and who is in protection?

I find this a really useful yardstick for any decision I make. Is it a decision that takes me into growth or protection?

Most of the clients who come to see me have a behaviour or habit or pattern that isn’t working for them. So often it comes to the fore that whatever the issue is, was once a solution to a previous problem – and it usually was an unconscious decision based on protection. Hypnotherapy helps to put you back in touch with your potential by tapping into this internal guiding system. We all have it, sometimes we can’t sense or connect with it though.

The more you use this simple guide , the more you’ll be able to track and monitor your responses to things. Even if you have to make a decision that is for reasons of protection and there really is no choice in this, you can still consider how do I turn this into growth?

The simple truth is you know what’s best for you and yet so often we can say and do things so out of kilter with our own internal compass. I was in a job for a long time that I wasn’t happy with. This simple yardstick helped me to decode and make a career change. Try it out, you might be surprised by what you find and notice what a difference it makes to how you make sense of what you see and feel around you at the moment.

Jill Tonks

Jill Tonks


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