I've taken a very ground up approach in my study of cognition, and I can't say that I regret it. But I also can't recommend that type of approach to anyone that isn't going to take it quite so seriously.
Most of the value that I've gotten from my efforts has not come from the cool party tricks, like making someone forget their own name or sticking someone to the ground. It hasn't even come from the more serious uses of "hypnosis" or even organically occurring trance. Besides purely internal changes (which is the subject of a future post), most of the value has come from my day to day interactions with other people.
My understanding of cognition has given me the ability to get my point of view seen (and felt) in its entirety by others - instead of being prematurely rejected due to shitty thinking. And it has also helped me determine what my point of view should be.
Most of the value has come from having a better understanding of the structure of cognition and having strategies for navigating the space. Since these skills are mostly describable by higher level abstractions, it is not necessary to have the lower level understanding to reap a lot of the benefits. The lower level understanding does have a profound effect on how I see and use the higher level stuff, and it also lets me play some fun games using legit hypnosis, but it is possible to do a lot without it.
While I can't recommend that everyone dive into this as seriously as I did, I really do recommend that everyone get a handle on the high level summary, keep it in mind in future interactions, and start honing these skills. And while I cannot, in one blog post, tell you everything you need to know to instantly reap all of these benefits, I am going to give you a mental framework in which to build these skills. It's gonna take practice, but the good news is that you already interact with people, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work on it.