Trial by fire

Born to win One of the participants being prepared for the fire-walk

Born to win One of the participants being prepared for the fire-walk  

Is confidence only a mind thing? Find out

Someone might be capable of a million steps in the right direction, but would never take them because he is too scared to take that vital first step. Yes, the first step forward is never easy, especially when you stand in front of a bed of burning charcoal!

Recently, OnlySuccess Learning Technologies organised a fire-walk for participants in its neuro-linguistic programme, ‘Born to Win’. For each participant, the fire-walk lasted a few seconds. But the preparation took many hours.

Certified NLP practioner Vidyashankar encouraged the participants to face the fire that existed in their minds. He asked them to acknowledge their fear of fire. Acceptance of something helps you deal with it in a positive manner.

He called Theresa, a participant from Malaysia, on to the stage. She had to pretend to step through fire. When she showed no sign of fear, he corrected her. “You can’t do that. You are not walking on a bed of flowers.” The crowd clapped and cheered.

He asked each participant to choose someone “who is not the one you have come with (to the programme) and assure him of your support when he walks the hot bed tonight.” All smiled and complied with the trainer’s request.

The participants had to say ‘switch’, signifying a transition from a state of fear to one of confidence. This was followed by a rehearsal. It was basically a mind game. They were being conditioned to treat the ‘ordeal’ as normal and to behave in certain ways before and after the fire-walk. After the walk, they were to say ‘Born to Win’, anchor (a positive gesture such as ‘pumping a clenched fist’ or ‘raising one’s hands’ that signifies victory) and celebrate the achievement. High confidence levels were palpable. But before they knew it, it was time to take the test.

The real fear

Vidyashankar announced quietly, “Remove your shoes. It is time to go.” Because he had read their minds, he added, “How many of you are thinking, ‘What you have been telling us is not the real fear. What we feel now is the real fear.’ I can see some of you checking your feet for the last time. No, keeping the socks on will not help. Socks will burn faster.” The participants were not in a mood to enjoy these jokes; their mind was literally on fire.

As they trooped out of the Image Auditorium, the OnlySuccess team cheered them on and urged them to repeat this mantra, ‘Born to Win’.

They assembled at a ground that seemed to have been set up especially for fire-walking. A huge circular area was used to burn charcoals. As two hot beds had been prepared, two queues were formed. At both ends of a bed stood members of OnlySuccess. One group prepared the participant for the walk with pep talk and the other used a hose pipe to cool burnt feet with water.

In the face of real fire, the participants were a different set. Some were seen praying before attempting the walk. Some chickened out at the last minute, but came back and did the walk.

Post-walk, some were numb with disbelief. Some complained of burning feet. But all seemed to believe, “If I can do this, I can do anything.”


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