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The KEY Questions: Must we live in fear?

5 February 17

‘Koumpounophobia’ may be one of the strangest phobias of them all, and not just because of its weird name. To a non-sufferer the fear of buttons may seem almost comical, irrational to the point of silliness, but to those afflicted it’s no laughing matter. We can all relate, at some level, to the fear of spiders, mice or even birds. All these mostly harmless creatures share a common feature in that they often dart around at speed. Seeing something move very quickly out of the corner of your eye can trigger alarm and an accompanying adrenaline surge – useful in times of real danger.

But fear of buttons? What’s that about? What’s going on?

Anyone who’s ever suffered a panic attack can testify that it’s not so much the fear of anything specific that has gripped them but ‘fear of the fear’, the conviction that they are about to lose control. We are, in a very real sense, afraid of the power of our own thoughts. Understanding how this works in humans is the first step on the road to being free.

One of the most common phobias is the fear of speaking in public, (‘glossophobia’). Just the thought of having to stand up in front of others to deliver a speech can reduce even the most outwardly confident person to a quaking, incoherent mess. The palms sweat and the mouth dries up. The heart begins to race. We imagine every possible humiliation in High Definition and Surround Sound. Called upon to be witty and sophisticated it seems inevitable that we will lose the power of speech, or at the very least forget everything we had planned to say. Worst-case scenario: we become convinced we will faint clean away. And because we humans are so infinitely suggestible, some or all of these physiological changes will begin to manifest in the body, causing a negative feedback loop, convincing us that we were right to be scared! The fear of speaking in public becomes the fear of fear itself.

In NLP, the answer is to literally re-program the mind, the underlying assumption being that the client wasn’t born with the fear, at some point in the past they acquired it. Babies have some in-built reactions to potentially dangerous situations – evolution has seen to it that they are wary of heights, for example – but otherwise they are free of negative programming. They haven’t yet ‘learned’ fear. Something happened to create that initial trigger, the thought in the person’s mind that equated some otherwise commonplace, everyday event with life-threatening significance.

The fear wasn’t learned gradually but instantly, and we now know that it can be unlearned just as quickly.

Take the example of buttons. A baby girl sits on the living room carpet, happily playing with her toys while mum chats to a friend in the kitchen. Nearby, hidden from the adults’ view under the edge of the sofa, is a small, brightly-coloured circular object, looking a bit like a sweet. The baby picks it up, pops it into her mouth …

Fear of buttons is clearly irrational, but a parent’s fear of their child choking to death is not. The mother’s cry of panic as she runs into the room to see her beloved little girl in danger, coupled with the sensation of choking, is enough to create, in the baby’s pre-cognitive mind, a lifelong phobia. And lifelong means exactly that, because once a phobia has established itself, repeated exposure to the initial stimulus, whatever it was, can only reinforce the idea in the sufferer’s mind that the situation is hopeless. The sight of a button/spider/bird triggers the belief, self talk and the negative feedback loop does the rest.

People often cling to their fears. ‘I have had this fear so long, it’s a part of me. It’s who I am’. But the Three Principles tell us that we are the director of our own ‘movie’, as well as the actors, and the audience. We can decide the outcome. I have been privileged to help countless people overcome their various phobias, by getting them back in touch with their unconscious desire to be as free from irrational fear as that baby girl was before the life-changing event. You can help others to come to the same realization, and you can do it for yourself.

So what are you afraid of?

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  • Having attended David's course and then had some one to one sessions with him my approach to my life has changed dramatically and improved. David has a very gentle and empathic way about him, yet managed to challenge my habitual way of being and thinking. As a result of our time together I now practice his "way of being" and I truly find that I am getting far better results in all of the relationships that I encounter. My inner chatter is under control, most of the time, and I am learning to pause and push away harmful thinking . It's surprising how habitual thinking can do so much damage and how, once you really focus on what comes into your mind you start to realise that you can be bigger than your random thoughts. So David thank you for putting me on a better pathway. Looking forward to sharing another journey with the Auspicium family!
    Rowena Wild

  • The course I attended with David Key was marvellous, every moment being filled with joy and laughter. David has a unique talent to teach, unlocking the full potential of every person he encounters. His course opened up an infinite number of ways for me to get the life I want, right now, today, and in the future. It made me realise that thought is fluid and that I can mould it the way I want to suit my day. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in search of a new professional career or for those who simply want a happier life. Thank You!
    Lucia Pohrebnyak

  • It took me about 5 years of 'dithering' before committing, and in that time I attended several introductory days from various training providers. David's accessible style and the unforced flow of the day is what persuaded me to choose his company. David provides a training model that helps you become your best self - as a student, as a practitioner, as a person. By 'best', I mean more open, less fearful, more confident, less judgemental - whether you attend the course to make a change personally or professionally, to build on existing success, or with no idea where it might go, simply because you are interested (that was me!) you will be impressed at what you are able to achieve with David's expert guidance showing you how to use your curiosity as a pathway to growth. In the first week following the course, I dealt with several potentially difficult situations both at work and home, coming from a changed perspective - resulting in no conflict, calmer colleagues, less stressed family. And this without actively using any techniques; the biggest change has been inside my own headspace. I can't wait to do the next course. Now that I know, unequivocally, the benefits to be had, I wish I had come down off the fence years ago! Added bonus, a bunch of fabulous new friends. And a final thought about cost; some of you reading this will be struggling to justify spending a chunk of hard earned money "just" for yourself. Well, I will be using these tools every day for the rest of my life - pennies a day investment! I am SO worth it. And so are you!
    Sue Bee

  • I first met David at an evening business club a couple of years ago. During his presentation something “clicked” with me and I felt compelled to further my understanding of NLP. I attended the Auspicium free trial day. My earlier feelings were confirmed. This guy knows what he’s talking about and has a passion for helping people. I duly signed up for the NLP and Hypnotherapy practitioner course. What a week. All in the class left in such high spirits with a very different outlook on life. Following on I have attended the NLP and Hypnotherapy Master Practitioner course. Again excellent. There was something about the Hypnotherapy element of the course that I loved so on to the Hypnotherapy Trainers Training (another absolutely brilliant week). All the courses that I have attended have been very well organised, have a great team of trainers and support volunteers. The documentation is well put together and the exercises are all structured to push yourself to show you have a grasp of the given subject. I now have a fantastic group of new friends who I have a deep link with. We still meet up when we can to catch up on what we are all doing. As of March this year I have been participating in the Auspicium Freedom Project. This is a yearlong “conversation” about the 3 Principles – Mind, Thought and Consciousness. It took me a while to “get” it but now just by “doing nothing” I find myself doing more with better results and no stress. There are no models or techniques to learn. We all have the Principles inside us. We just need to be woken up to how to use them. It’s a great journey that will take the rest of my life. David is a superb trainer and fully deserves all the praise he receives.
    Phillip Warris

  • Before going on David’s Practitioner course, I thought I knew what I wanted, where I was headed and how I was going to get it. All I wanted an additional skill to add to my portfolio. I thought my life was in reasonably good order, nothing that needed fixing. I can sum up my experience of working with David in two words: life-changing. Instead of just learning a new skill, David encouraged us to apply his teaching, our learning, to ourselves. In a very safe environment, I gradually dropped the barriers I had painstakingly built up over a long time. This change happened very quickly and I continued growing as a person, studying 2 more courses with David and joining him on the Freedom project. Why David? He is disarmingly honest, genuine and engaging. He has a very broad knowledge of human behaviour and passes his knowledge on with grace. As a result of working with David, I have changed, and my life has changed. In myself I am very happy and contented person. My marriage is better and stronger. My business plans have taken a different route - one that is exciting and feels very right for me.
    Valerie