How 'bending reality' can deliver business success [Q&A]
What makes tech pioneers successful? What’s the key to becoming a business billionaire? Leadership adviser Victoria Song thinks it's because they have the ability to 'bend reality' to what they want it to be.
What's more she believes that with a simple meta-framework that underlies peak performance, self-development, and meditation anybody can become a success in the same way.
Victoria sets out these ideas in her new book Bending Reality: How to Make the Impossible Probable. We spoke to her to discover more.
BN: Bending reality sounds like something out of science fiction, what exactly is it?
VS: Have you heard of Steve Jobs' reality distortion field? Or the idea that the observer affects the observed in quantum physics -- a wave function of probabilities collapses into a single particle? It's less sci-fi, and it’s more just how reality works. We are shaping our reality all the time, but most of us are doing it unconsciously. Because it’s unconscious, we may be bending reality in an unfavorable way or in a favorable way. Bending Reality: How to Make the Impossible Probable teaches you how to consciously bend it in the direction you want.
It only appears sci-fi/supernatural because we don’t yet fully realize all that our consciousness is truly capable of: creative downloads, synchronicities, reading information densities invisible to the naked eye, manifestation. For instance, one client Romy Northover was an artist struggling to make $36K a year when she found me. In just six months, she was offered $1M cash and equity for 70 percent of her work capacity. Another client, George Ruan, co-founder and CEO of Honey was struggling for seven years building his company, suffering from daily brain fog and discontent. Then after a year of working together, PayPal acquired his company for $4B and he’s happier and healthier than he's ever been. Another client, Hannu Rajaniemi and his small six-person team went from having never worked on vaccines to developing a COVID vaccine that’s mutation variant resistant.
Once you learn the codes to bending reality, you too can defy logic, time and odds to make the impossible probable.
BN: Why do we find coping with change so challenging?
VS: The uncertainty that comes with change can feel incredibly uncomfortable for those of us who find safety in controlling and predicting our environments. The more wound up the nervous system (tight, contracted vs. open, relaxed), the more difficult it is to tolerate change, because the unknown will trigger our fight-flight-freeze response. From here, threats to our ego identity feel like threats to our physical safety. We'll more likely make fear-based decisions, be attached to our perspective, feel judgmental and even impatient. In this state of contraction, you’ll notice your chest, stomach or throat tightening, shallow breathing, and tensing muscles. As a result, you'll be blocked off from your creativity, and ability to see other possibilities.
You'll scan your environment vigilantly, and quickly fall into black-and-white thinking and what Karpman calls the Drama Triangle: Victim, Hero, Villain. You may cast yourself as the Hero in your narrative, blame a Villain, and name a Victim to save. When your nervous system is tight, you will struggle to stay with a viewpoint you disagree with or do not understand, and struggle to let in more information. The loss of control and fear of the unknown can be so uncomfortable that you’d rather create a false sense of certainty. All-or-nothing, always or never generalizations, black-and-white thinking, jumping to conclusions and labeling are all ways your mind attempts to conveniently put things into boxes that give you a false sense of certainty.
Those of us who more comfortably live in our minds, not in our feelings or bodies, have particularly tight nervous systems. Life is full of change and uncertainty; the question is how ready and able is our nervous system to deal with life?
BN: What are some of the keys to navigating change effectively?
VS: The first thing is to focus on relaxing and unraveling your nervous system. This is why things like self-care, meditation, breathwork and yoga are popular. Other activities that expand your nervous system include doing whatever feels like a 10 for you. What's a 10 for me will be different than what’s a 10 for you. For instance, a 10 for you may be biking, dancing, spending time in nature, or reading. When you’re performing these activities, your nervous system calibrates to feeling relaxed and open. Your body simply repeats what it has learned through repetition. If your nervous system is used to feeling tight and contracted, that will become its default state. If you rewire your nervous system to feel relaxed and expanded, then you'll create a powerful baseline from which to navigate change or any uncertainty. You'll be able to walk with any fear that arises and breathe knowing you can handle whatever comes your way. Your nervous system will feel safe in the unknown.
Bending Reality: How to Make the Impossible Probable provides the most effective tools for unraveling your nervous system so you can sit in uncertainty long enough to see solutions that elude those who struggle to sit in the discomfort of the unknown. From here, you can navigate change like the greatest leaders.
BN: How big a factor is emotional intelligence in achieving success?
VS: It's the number one factor that unlocks your ability to bend reality -- emotional intelligence and mastery.
Everything we've discussed so far is ultimately about your ability to handle uncomfortable emotions -- fear of the unknown, frustration from loss of control, anxiety of uncertainty, disappointment of failure, shame or guilt from letting others down -- not knowing how to master these emotions leads to poor decision making, stress and overwhelm. Emotional mastery is not about avoiding, numbing or overriding the fear, frustration or anxiety (or the sadness, happiness, or any other emotion), it’s about knowing how to feel, process, and release these e-motions (energy-in-motion) so they're not stuck and frozen in your nervous system, which merely tightens it even more. Every time you process an emotion, you uncoil your nervous system. Each time you repress or react to an emotion, it winds up your nervous system.
When we do not know how to process uncomfortable feelings such as guilt/shame/fear/anger/sadness/disappointment, we will do anything to make it go away, including throw it at others, numb it with food, alcohol, or your pick of distraction, or say and do something you regret later. You may make sub-optimal decisions, feel stuck in one perspective, and focus on the short-term at the expense of the long-term.
With emotional intelligence, you can walk with dualities: a part of me is excited and a part of me is scared, a part of me is heartbroken and a part of me trusts this is for the better, a part of me is disappointed and a part of me is hopeful. The capacity to hold and walk with all your emotions without suppressing, intellectualizing, or pushing through any of them allows your nervous system to stay open and expanded no matter what life brings you. As a result, you maintain access to creativity, inspiration, and infinite possibilities and probabilities.
BN: We're living through a very stressful time, is it possible to harness that in a positive way?
VS: Yes, if you prioritize unraveling your nervous system, rewiring it to states of calm and relaxation, you will see opportunities where others only see problems. You will have access to a swiss army knife while others (in contraction) use a hammer. You'll be in a state to create when others are focused on protection.
Choosing to feel and process your emotions and rewire your nervous system to feeling open and expanded enables you to consciously bend reality in the direction you want. Open and expanded, you'll be in flow state where you’ll receive intelligent downloads, access the quantum field of infinite possibilities and probabilities, and experience time as your ally with things happening in no time at all. It will appear as if the universe is conspiring in your favor. This is the experience of my clients who are collapsing time and making quantum leaps while they make the impossible probable.