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Thursday, March 22, 2012

entertainme: interview with austin vickers

On a recent rainy day in Seattle I sat down with Austin Vickers, former corporate attorney turned leadership expert and writer/producer of the film "People v. the State of Illusion" to talk about his new film. After screening the film and feeling energized I wanted to know how using your imagination can help you change your life. What I learned is that it's easier than you think.

Happygirl: You have been a leadership expert for years. Why do a movie now?

Austin Vickers: For the last ten years I have been speaking about emotional intelligence and film is now a medium where we absorb most information and it is a powerful medium. When you can create a film that can both present information that is life changing and touch people emotionally through a story then it doesn't get more powerful than that.

HG: You have experts that are laced throughout the film in addition to the story.

AV: These are experts who have shaped my life and I have read their books in my own self-awareness and I was lucky to get them to be a part of this film.

HG: What would you say to someone who has no idea that life could actually be better? Someone, perhaps, who has lived a life that hasn't gone exactly how they had hoped?

AV: First of all I would say, don't beat up on yourself. Most of us didn't grow up with parents teaching us self-awareness and emotional intelligence, right? We grow up with their issues. To learn it, we have to go out and watch movies like this one or read books about it and take an active role in understanding.  This is one of the things we talk about in this film-- the science of imagination. The first thing I would say to someone is, even the story you are telling yourself about your life isn't that real. It doesn't mean that real things aren't happening to us, right? Someone comes and takes your job away, that is a real event that you have to deal with but what you have complete control over is how you perceive that event. One person will look at it like "My life is over. There are no other opportunities for me" whereas someone else may have a different perspective. The minute that life takes control we can either assume it is bad or that there is a more divine, even bigger thing in store for us. Recognize the possibility and shift from "Oh, This is a bad thing.” Now you can look for the opportunities.

For example, in my life when life doesn't play out the way I want it to I have gotten to the point where I start to look for the magic to occur because I know there is something at play that is even bigger than what I could have imagined for myself and guess what? When my perception is oriented that way I begin to look for those opportunities and that magic and guess what I find? I find magic. I see what I want to see. It is almost like when you get a dog and you start seeing other dogs and pet food commercials. People get surprised. It's like the world has changed but the world hasn't changed. We've changed. We start to notice what is in our field of consciousness. Well the exact same thing is true when we are oriented towards magic and opportunity. When we look for it, we tend to find it.

HG: One of the things that completely blew my mind is this film is the story of the baby chicks and the robot. Can you talk about that?

AV: Sure. I first ran across this experiment about twelve years ago when I was living in London. I went and saw a talk about collective consciousness and how it exists in life and he believes this is the reason that scientifically discoveries occur almost simultaneously around the world and how we advanced in history through the Stone Age to the Bronze Age etc. in almost a collective energy.

In this talk they discussed an experiment about baby chicks who by their intention to be with their mother can influence the behavior of a random movement generator and a computer robot. What I loved was that as humans we are manipulative and we can manipulate circumstances but baby chicks don't even know they are in a research study so how much more powerful is that and we start to recognize that the energy in this coffee cup or this table or the energy in you, fundamentally on a quantum physics level is all the same energy, right? The only difference is the rate of vibration. Energy interacts with energy all day long.

We learn how imaginary what we experience is and we can learn that we have a power in our perception or imagination. We underestimate that power and it is much more powerful than we understand. It has the ability to make things around us conspire and operate with us. People experience this normally like when you are in love. For example, when you in a love then everybody hits you on because people can sense that energy and then of course, when someone is not in love and desperate to be with someone people can sense that energy and you can't get a date. The same is true with anxiety, fear/. The universe has a tendency to respond to us in the same energetic state that we are putting out. Right? If we don't learn to shift then we are not going to have a very big impact on the world around us. If we think we are a victim of our circumstances we lose our power to affect some of these things. Life will then respond to you as if you are a victim is you FEEL you are a victim.

HG: So what do you say to someone who is going through a terrible circumstance like a divorce or a layoff or their home is being foreclosed, when they just can't get out of their own head? How can they get their happy back?

AV: Look up imagination in the dictionary. Imagination is defined as a story we tell ourselves. It is a story. I will often ask people "What is the story you are telling yourself? Do you like the story you are telling yourself? It is a story that makes you want to wake up in the morning and embrace life in an enthusiastic way?" If the answer is no. Then find a way to change the story. What is another interpretation of the story that WOULD inspire you? The problem is we don't like to think in new and different ways because it is a struggle. Like if I said to you let's go a road trip to Vancouver but lets not take the roads. Let's go over the mountains like they did in the old days. That is a daunting task. The brain works exactly this way. When information comes into the brain, it chooses the path of least resistance through programs that are hardwired into the brain. To get people to rethink in new and different ways can be uncomfortable. It can fill people with anxiety, fear and discomfort. It would be like if we started going to the gym for the first time that it may hurt but our muscles are growing. It is the same thing with our brains. It's like me giving you a violin even though you never played before. One of the first things I say to someone I am working with is: are your imaginations serving you and if not let's start new ones but it will be awkward and a challenge until you get into the habit of thinking in new and different ways.

HG: I felt great after I watched your movie. I was happy. Why is that?

AV: What I intentionally tried to do in the film is give people hope. We are the architects of our own prison, When we are the architects of our own prison we also have the keys to its deconstruction. When we realize we have the keys, we have hope. When you combine the power of imagination with hope, that is great.

HG: What do you say to yourself when you wake up every morning?

AV: I love the advice that Dr. Joe Dispenza gave in the film. I try to become self-aware in the morning. I like to be conscious and check in with myself. If I feel happy, then I don't do anything. I carry that feeling with me through the day or if I wake up in any kind of a mood I try to look at myself and think what is it that I am angry or depressed about?  I ask myself "What is another interpretation that I can give myself about this opportunity. How can I reimagine the facts that give me hope? It is all an illusion. Why not have an illusion that is fun that makes us want to challenge the day? How would I act if the illusion that I want to have were true? How would it change my choices that day? I set a course for myself. I know that magic is going to occur today. I try to act as if the reality I want to create has already happened and when I start to align my actions and choices with that perceived or intended imagination then low and behold I become much better at making those imaginations my reality.

HG: Like when you are happy you draw in more happy.

AV: Right and when you are confident, when you believe that you can create anything the world is open to you. Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite writers was asked "How do you know the path of your soul?" and he answered by saying " Follow the people, places and things you are most attracted to." I wake up and I look at my life and think what would I really do if I had $50 million in bank account and I could do whatever I wanted to that do? Who would I spend my day with? I try to align my choices that day with my intended reality or intended imagination and the better I get at that the more shocking the way my life unfolds to making those imaginations a reality.

And with that, we ended our conversation with a hug and I walked away feeling elated. You can catch “People v. The State of Illusion” this weekend in Seattle and coming in Denver as well. Visit for more on upcoming dates or visit for more on using imagination to change your life.

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