I’ve always been completely fascinated by the Placebo effect; the utterly remarkable phenomenon that leads patient’s conditions and symptoms to change, alleviate and even disappear, following sugar pills or saline solution.
The Placebo effect is basically the most tangible, visible evidence of what belief and a ‘can do’ attitude can realistically do for a person’s reality.
I was reminded of this about a month ago, when I came across an old show from the Magician/Genius/Head-Twister Extraordinaire Derren Brown. The Show was called ‘Fear and Faith – Episode 1’ and I definitely recommend trying to find and watch this life-changing 45 minute show. Just google it.
Because Derren is Derren, he goes all out in bringing his Placebo effect to life. People with a huge range of different conditions, ailments and addictions are invited along to test out ‘Rumyodin,’ a brand-new ‘wonder drug’, claimed to eradicate the experience of fear. Patients included people desperate to stop smoking, a singer with extreme stage fright, a man so afraid of heights he can’t even walk over small bridges and a socially anxious man who is desperately afraid of confrontation. And again – because it’s Derren – these people are injected and tested and questioned and ‘medicated’ with pills to take each day. So it’s about as professional and convincing as a Placebo gets.
Because again, that’s what it is – a placebo. There’s no such thing as Rumyodin.
And I don’t even need to tell you what happens! Because we all know how amazing the human mind is. I don’t need to tell you that everyone manages in some way to conquer the fears that have been holding them back for so many years, even once they’re told that their ‘saviour’ pill is nothing but sugar.
Well….sugar and something else; the permission to demote fear to the back seat and take control of the car.
Again – Google it. Find it. Watch it! The results of this shift in mindset have to be seen to be believed.
One question that always seems to crop up in self-help reading is: “If you could live without fear, what would you do?” Derrens’ experiment here just goes to show that you can, if you believe you can. Or you can at least quieten it down enough to really become the amazing person you are.