Advertising
Advertising

Published on March 18, 2020

How To Use Your Subconscious Mind For True Success

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!

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

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

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

13 Ways to Develop Self-Directed Learning and Learn Faster delegating tasks How to Start Delegating Tasks Effectively (Step-by-Step Guide) How Long Does It Take to Learn a Language? Science Will Tell You Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

Trending in Brain

1 What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It) 2 How to Unleash the 4 Types of Creativity In You 3 What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours) 4 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways 5 9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 22, 2020

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

Have you ever taken so long trying to solve a problem that you just ended up going around in circles? How about trying to make a major decision and just freezing up when the time to decide came?

You might have found yourself gathering too much information, hoping it will help you make the best decision—even if it takes you too long to do so. This probably led to many missed opportunities, especially in situations where you needed to act on time.

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision. However, delayed decision making can have a hugely negative impact on all aspects of your life—from your personal relationships to your career. Delaying important decisions can be the worst decision of all.

At one point or another, people get stuck at a decision impasse they can’t seem to overcome. This is due to a mental blindspot called information bias, informally known as analysis paralysis.

Analysis Paralysis and Stalled Decisions

Information bias, or analysis paralysis, is our tendency to seek more information than is needed to make decisions and take action.[1] It is one of many cognitive biases that cause us to make mistakes during the decision-making process.

A related cognitive bias is the status quo bias, which is our tendency to prefer that things stay the same and fear any changes.[2] Together with analysis paralysis, these two dangerous judgment errors pose a threat to our successful navigation through our rapidly-shifting world.

Consider what happened to Lily, a consulting client of mine who’s a mid-level manager in the UX department of a large tech company. Lily had been there for 5 years and was thinking about switching to a startup after a couple tried to recruit her.

Advertising

However, she had been taking a lot of time making a decision. In fact, before she contacted me, she had already gathered information and talked to a lot of people for 7 months. Realistically, more information won’t sway her decision, but she kept trying to gather more information.

And then, there was the technology company that came to me after their growth started to decline. The company had initially experienced rapid growth with a couple of innovative products. However, its growth started to decrease—unfortunate, but not unexpected.

Essentially, the company’s growth followed the typical S-curve growth model, which starts as a slow and effortful start-up stage. This is followed by a rapid growth stage, then a slowdown in growth, often following market saturation or competitive pressure or other factors. This is the point where the company’s existing products reach maturity.

However, even before a slowdown hits, forward-thinking companies would innovate and change things up proactively. This is so they could have new products ready to go that would maintain rapid growth.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with this particular tech company. Not only did they not address the potential decline but once the company’s growth stalled, the leaders dug their heels in and stayed the course. They kept on analyzing the market to find the cause of the problem.

Worse, a couple of executives in the company proposed launching new products, but most of the leadership was cautious. They kept on asking for guarantees that the products would be a success, demanding more information even when additional information wasn’t relevant.

Both Lily and the tech company remained paralyzed by too much information when they should already have taken action. While this situation isn’t unexpected, it is totally avoidable.

Advertising

As I told both parties when they consulted me, all they needed to do was to face analysis paralysis head-on and make a decision. But they had to follow the best decision-making process available first, didn’t they?

8-Step Decision-Making Process to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

I told Lily and the leaders at the tech company that we should never go with our gut if we want to avoid disasters in our personal and professional lives.[3] Instead, I advised them, as I advise you now, to follow data-driven, research-based approaches, such as the one I’ll outline below.

From hiring a new employee, launching a new product, selecting a Zoom guest speaker for your annual video conference to deciding whether to apply for a higher-level position within your company, the following steps will help you fight analysis paralysis and make the best decisions possible.

1. Identify the Need to Launch a Decision-Making Process

This is particularly important when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change or decision to be made. Such recognition is also applicable when your natural intuitions are keeping you from acknowledging the need for a tough decision.

Remember that the best decision-makers take the initiative to recognize the need for decisions before they become an emergency. They also don’t let gut reactions cloud their decision-making capacity.

2. Gather Relevant Information From a Wide Variety of Informed Perspectives

Listen especially to opinions you disagree with. Contradicting perspectives empower you to distance yourself from the comfortable reliance on your gut instincts, which can sometimes be harmful to decision-making. Opposing ideas also help you recognize any potential bias blind spots, and this allows you to come up with solutions that you may not have otherwise.

3. Paint a Clear Vision of Your Desired Outcome

Using the data gleaned from step 2, decide which goals you want to reach. Paint a clear vision of the desired outcome of your decision-making process. You should also recognize that what seems to be a one-time decision may turn out to be a symptom of an underlying issue with current processes and practices. Make addressing these root problems part of the outcome you want to achieve.

Advertising

4. Make a Decision-Making Process Criteria

Make a decision-making process criteria to weigh the various options of how you’d like to get to your desired outcome. As much as possible, develop these criteria before you start to consider choices. Our intuitions bias our decision-making criteria to encourage certain outcomes that fit our instincts. As a result, you get overall worse decisions if you don’t develop criteria before starting to look at options.

5. Generate Several Viable Options

We tend to fall into the trap of generating insufficient options to make the best decisions, and this can lead to analysis paralysis. To prevent this, you should generate many more options than you usually would. Generate several viable options that can help you achieve your decision-making process goals. Go for 5 attractive options as the minimum.

Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming step, so don’t judge options no matter how far fetched they might seem. In my consulting and coaching experience, the optimal choice often involves elements drawn from out-of-the-box options.

6. Weigh These Options and Pick the Best One

When weighing your options, beware of going with your initial preferences. Try to see your preferred choice in a harsh light. Also, do your best to separate each option from the person who proposed it. This minimizes the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

7. Implement the Option You Chose

For implementing the decision, you need to minimize risks and maximize rewards, since your goal is to get a decision outcome that’s as good as possible.

First, imagine that the decision completely failed. Then, brainstorm about all the problems that led to this failure. Next, consider how you might solve these problems, and integrate the solutions into your implementation plan.

Next, imagine that the decision absolutely succeeded. Brainstorm all the reasons for success and consider how you can bring these reasons into life. Then, integrate what you learned into implementing the decisions.

Advertising

Finally, develop clear metrics of success that you can measure throughout the implementation process. This will enable you to check if you’re meeting the goals you identified in step 3. It will also help guide your goal-setting process—something to keep in mind when you use this decision-making technique again in the future.

8. Set a Reminder to Use the Process for Future Decisions

Regularly check if it’s time to employ the decision-making process once again. As discussed in the first step, there may be times when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change, even though underlying issues might already be signaling that it’s time for a tough decision.

Setting a reminder—perhaps a visual one such as a note on your desk, or even just a scheduled alert on your phone—will ensure that you can catch decision-making cues before they’re due.

While Lily and the tech company initially had to fight off a lot of discomforts when using the process, they were ultimately rewarded with sound decisions they were immensely satisfied with.

This battle-tested method will do the same for you. It will certainly propel your decision-making and, at the same time, help you thwart analysis paralysis and avoid decision disasters.

Conclusion

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, but you also don’t want to take too long and miss opportunities. By using a data-driven and research-based approach to decision making, you can nip analysis paralysis in the bud and make the best decisions.

More Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Featured photo credit: Muhmed El-Bank via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next