Mark Twain wrote: “I’ve experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.” Pause for thought … and if you’ve read my last two articles “Are You Blind to Your Mind Parts I and II,” by now you will have begun to comprehend that everything is not as you think it is. In this article, I want to delve a little deeper into how the mind works – but don’t worry, I’ll keep it as simple as I can – I don’t like to complicate matters!
How the Mind Works
You probably already know that we have a conscious and an unconscious mind. The conscious mind is like the captain of the ship and its function is to make the decisions in your life from the smallest to the largest. It can only hold between 5 and 9 bits of information at any one time so has its limitations.
For example, have you ever attended a business networking event and been introduced to a number of different people who you didn’t previously know? If so, did you remember all their names and what they did for a living afterwards?
The chances are, unless you paid particular attention to them, that you didn’t. That’s because you cannot hold them in your conscious mind, so unless they are actually learnt and therefore transferred to the subconscious mind, they will be quickly and easily forgotten. So next time you’re networking, pay more attention!
On the other hand, the subconscious or unconscious mind, rightly or wrongly, I use the two phrases interchangeably, is like the crew of the ship and it obeys the orders of the conscious mind to the letter. It can and does hold millions of bits of information – in fact, everything that you’ve ever seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelt is stored in your unconscious mind which means that this is where your knowledge and expertise are also contained.
In addition to this, it is so powerful that it takes care of all your bodily functions such as breathing, heart beating, digestion and the myriad other processes which take place in the body.
So it is like a giant computer, with mind-blowing powers which means that you, yes you (and me!) are an amazing being, if you but did know it. However, despite its astounding potency, there is one thing which the unconscious mind cannot do:
It cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly imagined which in effect means that it cannot tell what is right and what is wrong.
This is a vital piece of information to take on board! It simply does not have the reasoning ability of the conscious mind, so it ‘believes’ and acts upon what you tell it and agrees! In essence, whatever you say, it says yes to – good or bad …
Before I go on, I would like you to just pause for a moment and ponder on that last statement………
Did you do that? If so, I feel sure that you are now beginning to appreciate that the unconscious mind has a massive impact on your life and therefore on your business. The real question is, is that impact working for or against you? Is it helping or hindering you in terms of charging what you’re worth?
Well that depends on exactly what you have stored in your subconscious mind. Chances are though, there will be a mixture of good, bad and neutral.
What Happens When It Has a Negative Impact
For instance, one of my clients, a highly qualified and experienced legal professional was spending a lot of time doing legal aid work, which, from a human perspective is laudable. However, let’s be honest, from a business viewpoint, it’s lousy! By the way, he was the only one in an organisation of 45 self-employed fee-earners to undertake this work, so it was his choice – no-one was forcing him to do it. The decision to do this sort of work was taken based on unconscious beliefs, rather than a conscious thought process.
He was brought up to take care of those less fortunate than himself which again is commendable, although it does not mean he has to do this at all costs. Remember though that the subconscious mind cannot say it’s right or wrong in any given situation; that’s the job of the conscious mind. In reality, though, and I alluded to it in Part I, the subconscious mind is in control far too much of the time, simply because the person is unaware.
However, coaching has enabled him to see that this is not working either for his business or for him personally. So he has made a conscious decision to no longer do legal aid work, as the time can be better spent finding the right level of clients where he can use his skills to the maximum and be rewarded accordingly.
This is just one example of how the subconscious mind can hijack or sabotage your results by bringing up thoughts which actually don’t best serve you. You see you have between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day, most of which are thoughts you have had before and have become very comfortable with. You believe them, even though many of them are not actually true or are no longer valid. So you have to be ready to challenge them. How can you do this? Ask yourself the following three questions:
Is this really true?
What is this costing me to think that way?
What would I rather think?
If you’re not used to doing this kind of inner work, it may seem strange at first to ask yourself what you would rather think. However, please do not underestimate the value of doing this. In case you’re not aware, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions and your actions create your results, so if you want to take the right actions, you must have the right thoughts.
Just try it and see how it works for you. What have you got to lose? Nothing and you’ve everything to gain.
In the next article, I will continue revealing more about the unconscious mind and how you can have greater control of your thoughts to enable you to get the results you desire and so richly deserve.
If you have any questions in relation to this article, please contact me on 01202 743961 or 07957 672335 or visit my Contact Vanessa Page to book your complimentary True Worth Strategy Session.