Monday, 30 April 2012

Does the course work forever?

This week, somebody asked a very interesting question.  'Does the course work forever?'

Here are some thoughts about that...

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It depends, is the answer.  For a lot of people, we are a 'one stop shop.'  They come to us determined to beat it whatever happens and they do. They stay determined and we never see them again!

However, if you have had 'the fear' for years and years, then you have put a lot of time and energy invested into keeping the fear. You may have had many years of thinking about flying in a bad way.  Every single time you have thought negatively about flying, you have been training or conditioning yourself to think poorly of flying AUTOMATICALLY. In other words, if you have had years of practising being scared of flying, then you have the ability to bring on the fear with very little effort. For instance, you may even get nervous seeing aircraft flying overhead, being near an airport, dropping people off at the airport or even just seeing an aeroplane on the television? 

Maybe, you have had a recent bad flight and out of nowhere the fear has manifested. You have not had the years and years to maintain the fear.  But you do have a very recent and vivid memory to contend with?

Either way, that is a lot of time and training invested in building and maintaining the fear. Even just avoiding flying altogether and managing around it by driving everywhere is still nurturing the fear.

There maybe a part of you that berates yourself every time you do you either avoid flying
or have some anxiety about flying?  You might even say to yourself, 'I must do something about this...'  So a part of you wants to get rid of the fear and a part of you wants to keep the fear (as that way you stay safe - right?)

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Village people

A young boy grew up in a little village. He lived there for many years and knew it inside out, upside down.  He been there so long, that there wasn't much you could ask him about the village that he wouldn't know. - he knew every nook and cranny as the saying goes.  

As a young man, he then moved to a new village that he didn't know at all.  He felt uncomfortable navigating his way around the new village and missed the other village that he knew so much better.   Sometimes, he would pop back to the old village for a quick visit - but this just made him feel worse.  Even still, it took some discipline to not go back there.

In time, he started to become more and more familiar with the new village.  He even started to yearn less and less for the old familiar village as the new village was a lot more comfortable. In fact, he would go so far as to say, he actually preferred living in the new village now. So much so, he didn't feel the need to go back to the old village ever again. He knew it was there but he didn't need to visit it ever again. 
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The old fear pattern or conditioning that you may have, is like the old village. It is so familiar to you, it is hard to imagine being without it.  Once new ways of thinking are introduced and new habits are trying to be formed, it is always easy to drift back to our 'old ways.'   For example, one of the things we will say to you is that you should not under any circumstances do any of the following:

  • Read the stories in the press about any aviation related incidents ever
  • Watch any of those 'documentaries' about aircraft incidents ever again
  • Listen to stories of horror from 'well-meaning-friends/relatives' about their supposed near death experience whilst coming back from Tenerife or somewhere
  • Allow one negative thought about flying to go un-challenged
This might sound quite a tall order?  It is as simple as this. Once you start to entertain thinking about flying in a new way, you set up a new set of neural pathways - a new village.  The old neural pathways (old village) have not gone away. They are sat there waiting to be revisited when you are ready! It is not a two minute job to get rid of fear (although there are therapies out there claiming this). 

There is a build up to thinking about beating the fear. There is the moment you face the fear. And there is the most important part which is afterwards where you maintain and practice the new approaches. If you have spent 20 years maintaining and nurturing a fear, would you be willing to spend as much effort getting rid of it?

We are not saying that you need to practice like for like: 20 years of having the fear equals 20 years of getting rid of it!  What we are saying is that you can beat the fear (as you were not born with it) and then you can continue to keep flying without having the fear anymore. we have seen thousands of people do this. Some of us need to be careful that we don't allow ourselves to slip back into old bad habits. 

One of the truisms about our course is that everyone that attends is so different.   People are at different places in their life and in different places in relation to beating their fear.  We  should be part of their overall process of beating fear. Some come to us and they have conquered lots of other fears (lifts, trains, buses etc) and we are the last on the list.  Others have just the fear of flying and we are the first thing that they have tried.  We are all different. There is no shame in asking for help from professionals. Many attend our course and that is it. If that is not the case for you, that is also okay.  As long as you don't give up on yourself, there is no reason why you can't be without these life limiting fears eventually. It is a matter of time, persistence, help and probably a large element of 'Sod it - Enough is enough!'

Hope you found this useful.
Take care

Paul & Richard
Virgin Flying Without Fear

Next courses coming up:

Edinburgh 6th May
Leeds 20th May
Birmingham 10th June
Southampton 24th June
Gatwick 8th July
Childrens course 14th July (For more information)

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