One of the most useful things I've ever learned is the concept of "utilization". I came across this during an NLP training, and in brief, it means that you take whatever is there and you make the most of it, in any way that you can.
An example demonstrates this:
Utilization Of The Red Arrows In Hypnosis
When I was still doing hypnotherapy with clients, I had a client booked one fine August afternoon. We had the pre-chat, I started the induction and just as the gentleman was about to go into trance, the Red Arrows Jet Display airplanes came THUNDERING past my window.
Now this is an event that happens every year at the local air show which is located some 300 yards away from my house on the beach; but I just hadn't thought or realised when I made the appointment that it was Red Arrow Day - the house shakes, the windows seem to be falling out of their sockets, all the birds and the dogs in the neighbourhood go absolutely beserk and you can't even hear yourself scream, never mind think when they make their thunderous passes.
I heard them coming, freaked out, remembered my utilisation, and told the client: "And as you can feel the thundering approach in your body, let it shake lose all your old entrained beliefs, and the louder it gets, the more you benefit, and the harder it shakes, the deeper the trance ..."
The client went super-deep with the aid of 6 jet planes and every time they passed by again, I used them again. The client LOVED the session, said he'd never had such experiences with a hypnotherapist, and I remember this fondly as one of the best hypno-changework sessions I've ever had the pleasure to partake in.
Here's another example:
Utilization Of Clattering Dishes With A Group
I was invited to give a lecture, and the stage was directly next to a door which led to the kitchen. As I was starting my talk, there was a total RACKET of clattering dishes and cuttlery and cries and screams rising above it all, and of course that was massively distracting, not just for the audience who kept looking from me to the door and back again about ten times a second, but also for me because it felt as though each noise was chopping up my concentration.
There was nothing that could be done about the noise, so I turned to my old friend utilization and told the audience, "With every clatter, every sound you are becoming more intelligent, more awake, more aware and more concentrated on the programme today." That was all it took - I completely forgot about the clattering and screaming and the audience was right there with me, taking no notice any longer. I asked them afterwards and they said that they had no re-collection of what happened to the noise that was there at the beginning, nor when or even if it ever stopped during the two hour lecture.
But utilisation doesn't only work when you are hypnotising people. It also works BEAUTIFULLY for taking charge of yourself in moments of crisis.
In essence what you do is to leave the event be, accept it, don't argue it or try and change it, but you take yourself and you change your position on the event, quite literally, as a neurological movement. You get a different point of view on the events that are happening, they begin to "mean" different things.
That is what utilisation is and that is what it does. If you can get a hold of how A PERSON DOES THIS, you have a powerful tool for making the most of reality, whatever that reality might be.
Here is another example that illustrates the concept of utilisation on a personal level:
Utilization Of A Burned Love Potion (!)
In the course of my research into magic, I decided to make a love potion. I got the ingredients, stirred them in the pot, set the pot to boil and reduce - and then promptly got involved in something else and forgot all about it.
When clouds of smoke finally broke through to my awareness, the love potion had turned into crinkled pitch black soot in the bottom of the pan!
Wasn't it meant to be?
Was this all I would ever get instead of love, black burned on remnants?!
Was this a sign?!!
This is where one has to stop, take a deep breath and say, "Alright. Now it's time to call UTILIZATION into play!"
Utilization is the art of taking ANYTHING AT ALL and make it BECOME whatever it is that you want it to become.
That's a big part of magic, to take malleable reality and shape it to your WILL.
So I looked at the pot and said, "Fine. That's THE OLD LOVE."
"That's all the old stuff that happened to me, all the nasty stuff, all the wrong ideas, the things that went wrong in the past - that is what that is. "
"I am going to take all that old nonsense and scrub the pan clean, and AS I SCRUB THE PAN CLEAN, I CREATE A CLEAN SLATE WITHIN MYSELF, a fresh start, and a new form of love altogether can now come to me."
So I set to scrubbing out the pan and as I did it, I kept chanting, "Clear up the old, let the new unfold ..."
This was a very meditative and magical activity which I enjoyed immensely and I could feel all sorts of things falling away around me, as the pan become bright shiny silver once more.
When it was all perfectly clean, I put it back on the stove and started again. This time, all worked perfectly well and the second, NEW love potion was actually a whole lot better than the first attempt. I am extremely pleased with the potion and the outcome of it all.
Remember this story when it seems that a spell's gone wrong or you've made a mess, made a mistake, didn't get it right, and all those doubts come creeping or crashing in - THAT'S when a real magician stands firm in mind, and spirit, and in outcome, and takes the situation and turns it to their advantage.
It really is. I could go on and on giving examples of situations that could have been absolutely disastrous for all concerned - if I hadn't remembered to use that amazing magic trick and "turn the events to my advantage".
It requires only a little mental flexibility, and the process starts with seeing that something is NOT as you expected it to be AND that there's not a damned thing YOU can do about it.
There was no way to stop the Red Arrows; no way to stop the hotel staff from clattering their dishes; no way of turning back the clock and un-burning the love potion.
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going ..." - yeah, with utilization.
The truly amazing thing about the utilization processes is that each time I employed them, not only did it RESCUE the dire situation and prevent a long term disaster - but in the contrary, the END RESULT was better than if the disaster had never occurred in the first place!
Think about that for a moment. Each time, utilization took an ordinary event and lifted it up to a totally different level, and extraordinary things happened as a result. The client and I were really blown away by "the power of Hypnosis - PLUS the Red Arrows Display Team"! If the kitchen hadn't clattered, I would not have thought to give my audience post hypnotic suggestions up front to enhance their learning experiences. If the love potion No. 1 hadn't burned, I would never have gotten to work with "old entrenched beliefs" nor would have spent all that time thoroughly letting the old go before starting on the new - resulting in the massively superior love potion No. 2.
It seems to me that the creative order gave us the ability to move consciousness in such a way that we don't just make lemonade out of lemons, but in fact, magic potions and triumphs out of what only *appeared* to be lemons because we didn't know better!
So and the next time something happens that seems to be specifically designed to annoy you, derail you, upset you or if things just go massively wrong somehow, see if you can step back and ask yourself, "How can I use this to my advantage? How I can use this event to not just keep on going in the same direction, but to add something extra, make it special, actually HELP ME do this EVEN BETTER than before?"
This is definitely a much, much better approach to life than to whinge and whine about how awful it all was when it all went hideously wrong.
Utilization is a brilliant, massively useful and absolutely delightful skill.
Practise it often, so when the time comes, you too can turn a crisis into a triumph - and feel on top of the world because you know you've done something that's even better than just "the right thing".