If your motorcycle crashed head-on into the side of a van at 40 mph, what thoughts would flash through your mind? On my Internet radio program, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age”, I interview a remarkable gentleman, Knighton Warbeck, who suffered this crash and describes the split second before impact as “one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.”
I don’t recommend you jump on a motorcycle to duplicate this experience yourself but here’s the remarkable follow-up to the story. Yes, the actual crash impact did hurt and knocked Knighton out. When he awoke in hospital, the emergency room physician inquired, “Can you wiggle your toes?” Faced with the prospect of a severed spine and life as a paraplegic, I would have been too scared to try. In contrast, Knighton deeply relaxed his mind, found peace within then calmly wiggled his toes. Three days later he walked out of the hospital and subsequently recovered strength and full bodily motion.
Obviously, not many of us would survive a head-on crash and come out this well. Thankfully a vast majority of us won’t have to. How did Knighton do it? Prior to the crash, he had discovered and perfected a technique for overcoming both traumatic life events and common “disasters” much more mundane than a head-on motorcycle crash. Another advantage: 95% of the time, you and I will have advanced warning of hours, days or even weeks to prepare for actual impact. (Before you are laid off, I’ll bet you will know your employer was in trouble and that cut-backs were coming. Your divorce won’t be a sudden shock; your spousal relationship has been crumbling for years. Your finances will steadily deteriorate long before your home is foreclosed.)
Simply because we anticipate an impending disaster or negative outcome, doesn’t mean that we effectively prepare for it. Most often, we are far too worried and fearful of failure that we can’t come up with positive solutions or alternatives moving forward.
Here are highlights of Knighton’s recovery process:
Step 1: In your mind, think about the worst possible outcome. If you are a soldier nervous heading into battle: “I am already dead!” If under stress at work: “My employer has fired me; I’m out of work and must find a new job.” If your marriage is crumbling: “I’ll soon be divorced, lonely, seeking companionship all over again.” If facing extensive rehab to walk following a serious accident: “I’ll be confined to a wheelchair the rest of my life.” If awaiting medical test results, “I’ll be diagnosed with cancer.”
Step 2: Imagine yourself experiencing this worst possible outcome. How will you feel? Briefly in your mind imagine all of the pain, sorrow, loss and inconvenience this presumed negative outcome would cause. Get all of the sense of loss, resentment, worry and fear out of your system now so that you will be ready to think clearly and respond positively later, should the worst actually occur.
Step 3: Accept worst possible outcome and make the best of it. This outcome is in your life today for a reason. What is its purpose? For example, cancer’s ultimate purpose is to kill but millions have discovered new strength within and positive momentum for their future by sending it into remission. Your goal: broaden knowledge, gain confidence, explore new options and come out in the end a stronger, more well-rounded, self-fulfilled positive individual..
Step 4: By visualizing the worst, you have overcome it so “time travel” to the future and begin making rational contingency plans, whatever may happen. Within our minds, we need only suffer calamity one time. By “fooling the mind” into accepting a traumatic worst-case outcome–which in fact may never occur–we deflate negative impact of the actual event and can move forward rationally, relying on our inner strength and seeking out a positive long-term outcome.
In accepting the worst before it occurs, how long must we suffer in the mind? It varies immensely from person to person, but generally the time becomes shorter as we become more experienced at the process. For some, negative emotions may last as little as ten minutes, for others an hour or two, worst case maybe one or two days. The like-magic conclusion: it is possible to remove fear and stress in advance so that when the actual trauma occurs we will have the proper energy needed to address the challenge and move on.
The bottom line: when facing life-changing problems and challenges large or small, assume the worst, time travel forward with the negative result, then make peace with the consequences thereby putting the stress behind you so that you can open your mind to a creative solution. Once you discover that solution, then you can begin to visualize success so that the positive “law of attraction” can kick in.
Knighton Warbeck describes his technique for recovery far better than I, so tune into my interview with him on the July 29, 2013 edition of “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” on WebTalkRadio.net. You can listen in at any time at your convenience on your Personal Computer, smart phone or similar electronic device.