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How To Use Your Subconscious Mind For True Success

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How To Use Your Subconscious Mind For True Success

Every time your conscious mind goes to work, your subconscious mind is secretly helping. It is a part of our mind that continues to remain more or less a mystery to us as we struggle to know what it’s doing on a daily basis.

In this case, it’s pretty simple. As you are reading this, your subconscious mind is taking bits and pieces of the information and are processing and storing it away. Where that information goes doesn’t matter, but the brain will use it whenever we try to recall information.

However, while gathering, processing, and recalling information with our subconscious is easy, learning how to use your subconscious mind for other tasks isn’t as simple.

If we want to use our subconscious mind to become more successful, we need to know more about it.

What Is the Subconscious Mind?

First, let’s talk about what our subconscious mind is. It was Sigmund Freud who created this theory as part of the levels of the mind.

Freud theorized that we had three levels of the mind. They go as follows:[1]

  • Conscious: Our everyday thoughts and feelings.
  • Preconscious: The information that we use to recall; memories or information needed to perform specific tasks.
  • Subconscious: The information that shapes our overall behaviour without us realizing it.

Even when we aren’t consciously using these parts of our mind, they are constantly developing. Our subconscious is still processing and gathering information even as you are reading this. In fact, it’s processing 500,000 times more information than our conscious mind!

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Why Can’t We Use It All the Time?

If our subconscious mind is so powerful and will make us successful, why can’t we use it all the time?

Well, our subconscious mind is tricky in this way. It’s not as simple as calling up a friend or googling something. Our subconscious is best known for formulating our daydreams or those aha moments.

In other words, our subconscious is constantly working, but the thoughts that come from it are fairly random. This is also the part of our mind that causes us to react quickly, like jumping out of the way of a moving car.

Another way to look at your subconscious mind is to treat it like your “back-office.” This suggests two things:

First, while our subconscious mind is powerful, it’s not independent. We still need our conscious mind to work, and a good portion of our thought power goes to it — 10% of it, in fact.[2]

Second, because of that relationship, it makes sense that we can’t use it all the time, but it can also provide you with an avenue for how to use your subconscious mind to find success.

How to Use Your Subconscious Mind to Succeed

As mentioned above, learning how to use your subconscious mind to succeed is tricky. The subconscious mind itself is hard to tap into.[3]

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Even telling ourselves that we’re using our subconscious mind isn’t enough because that is a conscious decision.

So is all hope lost? Not quite.

Remember that relationship I just mentioned? Well, we can still use our conscious mind to prime our subconscious mind. Priming is the act of using our conscious brain to focus on a specific task.

This is like putting all of the conscious information you have into your subconscious mind. This act signals to your brain that this is a problem or situation you want to deal with. Your brain understands, and your subconscious mind will add the issue into the queue.[4]

What really matters is how we prime the subconscious. Here are some things you can do to start that process.

1. Plan to Do Nothing

Our subconscious mind is like a hoarder of ideas and solutions (within reason). Often times, you won’t find your subconscious mind presenting ideas while you’re in the middle of working on something else.

That’s because it hoards the ideas while our conscious mind works away. With this in mind, if you are someone who is constantly doing something, you won’t be giving your mind enough rest for those ideas to surface.

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This is an absolute must if you are in the creative field. One can’t grow if we’re not allowing time for new ideas to come forth. This may mean simply doing nothing.

2. Bring Capture Devices Everywhere You Go

A capture device is any device that will allow you to take notes: your phone, a notebook, a digital recorder, etc. The idea behind this is that whenever you have an idea, you can write it down and capture it before you forget. This can be anything from projects you want to work on or a solution to a problem you are dealing with.

3. Do Some Physical Activity

Exercise is another way to get our brains to work more. If we are always sedentary, then it’s going to be tough for us to come up with fres, new ideas for anything. Instead, get up and move around and let your subconscious mind go to work.

Remember, we can’t always quickly decide to come up with solutions to our problems. What we can do, though, is plant the seeds so that our subconscious mind will begin working on them. Also, make sure you have some paper or your phone nearby so you can jot these down when the subconscious finally decides to let them surface.

4. Drop Your Keys

This is a thought exercise that Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison used. The idea behind this is to have your phone or paper and pen nearby and rest in a chair.

Continue to rest in your chair until you get to the point of dozing off. At this stage, you’re entering the twilight phase. It’s a powerful stage where our subconscious mind is most powerful. As you are getting to the point of falling asleep, your hand will drop and your keys will hit the floor, waking you up.

Upon waking, you will likely be aware of where your mind went during that twilight phase. Write down anything you remember — this is your subconscious speaking to you.

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5. Visualize Success

No matter how big or small you want your success to be, if you want to learn how to use your subconscious mind to succeed, visualize your success. For our subconscious mind to work, we need to put something in front of it.

With physical activity, we are letting our mind wander, and our subconscious mind begins to propose solutions.

All the same, if we have goals in the front of our minds, our subconscious will begin to provide incentives for us. If we want more effective incentives, it will help to visualize our goals and to make them precise. In terms of the incentives, these are ideas our subconscious will create and that our conscious mind will take and put into action.

Without a vision for what you want to do, it may be hard to come up with solutions to make you more successful.

6. Get More in Touch With Your Mind

One way to do this is meditation. To start, all you need to do is get into a comfortable position and start to empty your mind. In terms of positions, there is no right or wrong position when meditating. The idea is to find comfort and allow yourself to let your mind go.

7. Look After Your Body

From eating healthy to moving around, it’s important that you take care of your vitals. Drinking enough water every day, eating the proper meals, and exercising enough every day are imperative. You want to make sure the things you are doing are helping your body and mind.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to use your subconscious mind is something that will take time as you are building habits and applying them in your life. There are all kinds of obstacles, and creating this pathway is not an easy matter.

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However, through these activities and understanding the relationship between our various levels of mind, we can better tap into it and find success in due time.

More Tips on Tapping Into the Subconscious

Featured photo credit: Mitchell Griest via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Boundless Psychology: Introduction to Consciousness
[2] The Hypnotist Man: The Subconscious Mind
[3] Butler University: Subconscious Perception
[4] Forbes: 13 Ways To Start Training Your Subconscious Mind To Get What You Want

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

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How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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