10 Influence Tools – The Pattern Interrupt

10 Influence Tools – The Pattern Interrupt
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
Hey this is Nathan Thomas and welcome back to 10InfluenceTools.com and this, the second
installment of this exciting hypnosis and persuasion training program. You’re going to be
learning a technique that I’ve been using for years for fantastic effect, whether doing standard
hypnosis or persuasion and influence out in the real world.
You’ll find this one simple tool particularly powerful. It is used by the most persuasive speakers
and the most inspiring and charismatic conversationalists as an everyday piece and can be used
in mere seconds to completely change any conversational dynamic and create dramatic,
powerful and lasting results.
It immediately opens up the door to people’s unconscious and subconscious minds, blasts past
conscious resistance and critical barriers, and allows you to get in the driver’s seat, take control
of an interaction and really get your message across.
I’m talking, of course, about the power of the pattern interrupt. So let me tell you a little bit
about how this works and give you a bunch of powerful applications that you can use this in the
real world, many of which will come as a big surprise to you.
So the way the pattern interrupt works is that people, as we walk through the world, we carry
out certain preset patterns. Rather than having to consciously figure out every action we do
from putting on our clothes, to tying our shoelaces, to walking, to climbing stairs, to driving to
work, to shaking hands, to signing our name, to doing all of the things that make up our day to
day life, rather than having to stop and tediously, consciously analyze and calculate and figure
out every minute action, we pass it to our subconscious or our unconscious mind who does it
on autopilot. It just happens automatically. We do these things without thinking about them.
And I’m sure you’ve experienced this each and every day, at least of your adult life.
Say you’re driving or walking to work, you may often find yourself suddenly realizing that
you’ve arrived, without really being able to remember any of the journey. Or maybe – and this
happens sometimes – you’re in the middle of an unconscious task, something you do all the
time like tying your shoelaces, and in the middle of tying your shoelaces maybe the phone rings
or someone says your name, and you look up and when you go back to tying your shoelace, you
suddenly pause and freeze. You were in the middle of an unconscious pattern that got
interrupted and you suddenly have to go back to the drawing board to consciously try and
figure out what to do next.
The power of patterns is very, very prolific and very pervasive. Patterns make up a phenomenal
portion of our everyday life and patterns go beyond the menial tasks and actually play in to
how we interact with and relate to the people we meet.
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
If you meet somebody at a party, your pattern may be to say, “Hi, how are you? What’s your
name,” and so forth. And, beyond behavioral patterns, you may also have mental patterns that
you go into. You may judge them and think, “Oh, they look like an intelligent or a safe or a nice
or a decent person,” and you may go through a mental evaluation process.
People may have subconscious patterns that they go into when they go to buy something which
causes or prevents them from making or not making a purchase. They may have unconscious
patterns which they get stuck in which cause them to be stuck to a problem, whether their
patterns cause them to feel anxious in a certain situation or to prevent themselves from doing
something in a certain situation.
These patterns, these subconscious routines, these habits, become part of our everyday life.
And the pieces around us constantly need to be reasonably uniform to make these patterns
For example, if you bent down to tie your shoelace but you suddenly realized that your
shoelaces were made of lead and were almost too heavy to lift up; well then this pattern would
be broken. “Hang on, that’s new, that’s different. That’s something extraordinary.” You’d
have to stop, you’d have to pause and you’d have to think and in that moment, when suddenly
you go, “Huh? What’s going on here?” Something new has happened, you’re surprised and
maybe even slightly shocked, and you’re no longer consciously in control of the situation. Your
subconscious mind has come to the forefront, so if in that moment, someone in a position of
authority were to take over and tell you what to do, you’d be unusually prone to respond to
their suggestions and their commands.
Military groups like the police and the SWAT team use this all the time when they crash down
your house, well hopefully not your house, the house of a target or a suspect, and shout,
“Freeze!” They are causing a shock and immediately giving a suggestion.
This is a very powerful pattern and something that happens all the time. The most common
hypnotic example of a pattern interrupt is the hypnotic handshake induction. Like tying your
shoelaces, shaking hands, particularly for males, but also for females as well, is a deeply
ingrained subconscious pattern. It’s something that we do automatically, unconsciously and
without having to think about it.
Interrupting that pattern causes a state of mental blankness, of mental surprise. “Huh, what’s
going on here, that’s never happened before,” which the hypnotist can take advantage of.
There’s a lot of mythology surrounding the pattern interrupt. A lot of people claim to have
invented it or to have invented their version.
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
The most common version you’ll often see commonly attributed to Richard Bandler, probably
accurately so, involves you reaching out to shake somebody’s hand, as they stick out their hand,
you take a hold of it in your other hand, pull it up so their hand is front of their face, pump the
pump, point their hand and go, “Focus on that hand.” You’ve interrupted a pattern, you’ve
directed their focus and immediately they’re in that state of shock and surprise. It only lasts for
a second or even less. You’ve quickly taken advantage of it and tilted it to what you wanted.
When you’re pointing to their hand you can go, “Focus on the hand, notice the changing focus
of your eyes as you begin to slip even deeper into a state of relaxation.”
That normally works in a hypnotic context. If you’re being a hypnotist and you’re using this in a
street hypnosis setting or you’re a hypnotherapist or an NLP practitioner and the person
coming to see you knows that you do hypnosis, they’ve got this frame, this context, this preset
of beliefs inside their mind, then that can be a very powerful hypnotic induction.
The way it originally began however, does not require you to have any of this hypnotherapy
stuff going on. You can be just a normal person. And it was started by Milton Erickson, who I
spoke about in the first CD in this training set, when I taught you hypnotic language patterns.
Now in addition to being a very gifted psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson was
a survivor of polio. As such, his left arm was weak and withered and he had very little control
over it. So when he went to shake somebody’s hand, instead of extending his healthy arm, if he
wanted to freak them out, he’d extend his withered and weak arm. And because the arm was
different, he’d simply lift it with his other hand and flop it at them and this would cause a
second of surprise, a pattern interrupt. People would go, “Oh, what’s going on here?” And
Erickson, being a wily hypnotist, would use that moment of shock and surprise to begin a story,
to begin layering in hypnotic suggestions, to begin using hypnotic language patterns, like you
learned in the previous section of this training program, to cause and deepen the state of
internal focus that he had created and to lead the person down a powerful and lasting trance
Now, that is a powerful way of doing it. The other Ericksonian handshake interrupt, which you
can use if you don’t happen to have a withered arm handy, is the more subtle Ericksonian
handshake interrupt. It’s when as you’re shaking somebody’s hand, you take a hold of their
hand a little longer, you move your fingers onto their wrist and gradually apply a small amount
of pressure. It’s unusual enough to cause somebody to go, “Hey, something new has
happened. This pattern of handshake has been interrupted,” and to begin the internal focus.
But it’s not unusual enough to cause alarm in somebody or to have somebody experience a
state of alarm or negative reaction or negative shock.
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
Now, if you read the literature of what is termed “the Ericksonian handshake induction,” when
you’re causing a trance state, simply a state of less conscious interference, when people’s
subconscious minds come to the forefront because you’ve interrupted the subconscious
pattern, they say that you have to be very precise and put just the right amount of pressure
with this finger and just the right amount of pressure with that finger. I think, to be honest,
that’s all bull. Do not get too hung up over the minutia. Focus simply on causing a subtle
interruption of the pattern and then immediately filling that blank you have created with your
hypnotic language patterns.
It helps to start with your intention. So say you’re talking to somebody who is in quite an
anxious and unpleasant state of mind and you want to help them come into a more relaxed and
pleasant state of being. You can take their hand to shake hands with them, pause for a second
holding their hand, apply a bit of pressure with your forefinger on their wrist, look them in the
eye and say, “You really do feel good today, don’t you?” Just a simple embedded command
and tag question, like I taught you on the previous audio. But because you’ve caused this
pattern interrupt, the state of internal focus, the state of mental blankness, it’s going to be ten,
twenty or a hundred times more powerful.
After that you can complete the handshake as normal and go on. The suggestion will be more
or less missed by the conscious mind but it will be accepted by the subconscious mind, acted
upon and will create powerful transformation.
It’s amazing stuff. Very powerful stuff and it’s something that you can use well. Don’t get too
hung up by the minutia, use it subtly and use it powerfully and you’ll be able to create a great
deal of success.
So that’s the handshake induction, a powerful pattern interrupt. But, these go way beyond that
as well.
When I was a kid in high school, I had already been learning hypnosis for a couple of years; I
started doing this stuff when I was just 14 or 15 years old. Now because I wasn’t a great
student and spent far too much time learning about hypnosis and tracking down hypnotists and
training with them rather than doing my lessons, I’d often show up late for school. Now you
see, my high school had a policy that, if you were late, even by five minutes, any day of the
week, you got an instant detention. This didn’t sit well with me of course because school
started far too early, I liked to stay up late learning hypnosis and sleep in.
So what I’d do is I’d show up five, ten, fifteen, even an hour late, routinely and at the end of the
week the head of my year, the Dean, would sternly call me in for a detention. Now most of the
students who showed up late fit into the typical pattern of the late student, they’d slouch into
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
the Dean’s room late, surly, they wouldn’t make eye contact, they’d be mono-syllabic and go
“Oh yeah,” or “Nah,” and speak in that typical arrogant teenage monotone. They’d be rude
without eye contact, they’d shrug at all questions, they’d be impolite, unengaged and, when
the detention came, they’d accept it.
Because I’d learned about the pattern interrupt, what I’d do was, I’d walk into the Dean’s room
five minutes early, and I’d smile politely and shake their hand. I’d ask about their kids, I’d ask
about a hobby I knew that they were interested in. I’d say, “Oh yeah, by the way, before you
tell me what I can help you with” – I’d imply that I’d gone in there just thinking they wanted my
help with something, wanting to ask me a favor or [inaudible 00:14:31] – I’d take the initiative,
take the lead. “I just wanted to apologize for being late before. I’ve been really busy lately with
a lot of homework, it’s been piling up. So I’ll make sure I’m better next week. By the way, what
was it I can help you with?”
Immediately I’d be polite, I’d be bright, I’d take control of the interaction and I’d be very
pleasant. Not once in my final year of high school, despite being late probably the majority of
days, did I get given a detention, simply because of this pattern interrupt.
It’s a pattern interrupt with your behaviors that is incredibly powerful. So think about the types
of patterns in your life that people expect you to fulfill, whether it’s in your personal life or in
your work, and think about ways you can break these patterns for positive effect.
Notice how often in the entertainment industry, all we’re watching is one giant series of
pattern interrupts. When Lady Gaga walks on stage wearing an outrageous outfit, it is a pattern
interrupt. It’s something we don’t expect to see. It breaks the pattern of the normal
entertainer and leaves us open to be entertained. Entertainers break patterns all the time. It’s
why they’re interesting, it’s why they’re dynamic, they’re surprising and they’re new. And it’s
why we’re continually interested, continually captivated, continually open and obsessed and
wanting to watch them more and more.
Begin thinking of ways that you can use a pattern interrupt inside your own life, be it the way
you talk, how people expect you to talk, in certain controlled situations, change that. How
about the way you dress? Are you in a type of work where everybody dresses in a normal
business suit? How can you change that pattern in an appropriate yet powerful way? Wear a
pink tie. Wear shiny different colored shoes. Wear a new pair of jeans to work in a deliberate
controlled way.
Break patterns in a way which says, “I’m in control.” This sends a powerful message and breaks
the normal pattern. It throws people off guard for a second and gives you time to take control
of the interaction. It puts you on the front foot and other people on the back foot in a positive
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
way. It throws them out of the normal, hum drum, typical cycle of day to day life, and allows
you to send them down a more powerful, enriching, empowering and free direction. And it
does that with you personally as well.
Why spend your life trapped in a bunch of boring patterns? Start breaking patterns. Start
doing things your way and you’ll be surprising, you’ll be dynamic, you’ll be in control and you’ll
be phenomenally persuasive.
The pattern interrupt is a habit and a mindset and it’s something that needs to be practiced.
Think about all aspects of your life, from how you dress, to how you talk, to what you eat, to
where you go, to what you think, to the thought patterns inside your own mind, and dare to be
different. Be a leader. Be independent. And as such, you will be breaking patterns wherever
you go.
Use this, delight in the surprise you cause, revel in the blank looks and use it to their advantage
and to your advantage, to help people feel great, to help them also break out of negative
patterns and to help people achieve transformation.
Milton Erickson, as a therapist, often did outrageous things to break the pattern of the normal
therapist. People with psychotherapeutic issues would be bounced around from therapist to
therapist, all of whom would do the same boring menial device, which wouldn’t work at all, so
to shake things up, to use a pattern interrupt and to show people that this guy is different, now
the pattern is different, the old patterns of failure are broken, and change and transformation is
actually going to happen, Milton Erickson would do outrageous things including, in one
example, actually physically ripping the heater or the radiator off the wall and hurling it across
the room.
Be outrageous. Don’t be damaging of course, be safe and sensible, but be outrageous. Be over
the top. Be crazy and brilliant.
A good family member of mine who used to run a large company, in order to keep his
employees alert and awake, in order to snap them out of the boring, “I’m at work,” pattern,
would walk through his office buildings doing outrageous things. Once he called up the local
police office and got two police sergeants to walk with him into every room of his office
building that employed 300 people with very somber and serious expressions, just to keep
things interesting. He’d show up to office functions, not in a business suit, but on a motorbike
with a leather jacket and a biker’s helmet, this is a very serious British firm. He kept doing
things to change things, to keep things different, to keep things dynamic, and to snap people
out of the normal boring patterns. To put them on the front foot and allow him to keep things
fresh, powerful, new and controlled free and conscious.
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com
And this is the power of the pattern interrupt. It really does put you in the driver’s seat.
Develop the attitude that these stories are instilling in you. Get out there, do something
different tomorrow and break a pattern. Aim to break at least two unconscious patterns
tomorrow and discover what power they will give you.
This is Nathan Thomas and I’ll be seeing you again on the next installment of this training
© Nathan Thomas 2012, www.10InfluenceTools.com