You are capable of a lot more than you give yourself credit for.
Our minds are divided into two parts:
The sub-conscious mind and the conscious mind.
This article is a bit more scientific than the ones I usually write. I am by no means an expert on psychology although I love reading books about it. I think that the sub-conscious and conscious mind explanation clarifies to a big extent what we (self improvement bloggers) always write about:
Achieving your dreams
In today’s world we are often conditioned to think logically and ignore our gut feelings about something. Things need to be based on facts and concrete evidence. This gut feeling can best be described as the sub-conscious mind.
The Sub-Conscious Mind
The sub-conscious mind is like a guidance-system. It runs on auto-pilot in the background all the time. It is freely programmable and open to any sort of commands and instructions.When we are born the sub-conscious mind consists only of basic reptilian functions essential for our survival, i.e. breathing,the heart needs to pump and we need food and water. Besides that, the sub-conscious mind is empty and ready to be programmed with instructions that we feed it.
These instructions come from the conscious mind. Every time we say something like ” I suck at sports”, we enter these instructions into our sub-conscious mind. With enough repetition of these instructions, the sub-conscious mind has no choice but to follow them, resulting in the fact that you suck at sports.
If you have any form of self-sabotaging thoughts and wonder why you are not as good as you would like to be, then the reason is that you are programming your sub-conscious to guide you in the direction of these thoughts. Of course, the opposite is true also. If you consciously think of good thoughts and processes, these are the thoughts that will get programmed into your sub-conscious mind.
The Conscious Mind
The conscious mind is the critical and analytical section of our minds. This is where we do maths, solve problems, learn a language or make decisions. I think the ‘learning a language’ is a good example of the conscious and sub-conscious mind. When we start out, we have to actively read,analyze and learn the language. We learn the grammar,vocab and rules. By doing this active learning with our conscious mind, we are slowly programming the data into our subconscious minds. Learning the language is complete when we finish that programming into the sub-conscious mind. We then no longer need to think about words or translate them from our native language, instead we just think in the new language. It has become automatic.
“Too Much Mind”
In the past, we used to get things done by relying on ourselves. We had a much greater sense of feeling of how something was supposed to be. Today we rely on machines and computers to solve many of our problems. This has left us out of touch with our feelings and sub-conscious mind. This has left us to often be too analytical and in our heads.
In the movie The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise plays a lieutenant of the US army fighting the ‘rebels’ (samurai) in Japan in the times just before the industrial revolution. In a heavy battle, the samurai annihilate the US army. Tom manages to fight off many of the samurai warriors before killing a top warrior in an unexpected brave move. This gains respect from the samurai leader, who then decides to capture Tom instead of killing him.
Tom spends many months with the Samurai after being captured. He is not treated as a prisoner, and is allowed to help in the village and learn the life of the Samurai. When learning to fight with the traditional samurai sword, Tom gets beaten and defeated a lot. He was too rigid, too aggressive,too much in his head. One of the villagers who was watching Tom train against the best Samurai warriors told him “Too much mind. No mind”.
The villager was old and wise, and knew that the only way to truly become a great warrior is to get out of your head. He wanted Tom to stop thinking and analyzing. Rather feel and react to what is. Let everything flow.
In a later stage Tom is found back in the urban Japan, on his own, and is attacked by 3 evil men with swords. This is my favorite scene of the movie: the camera goes slow motion as Tom remembers and applies the rule of “No Mind”. His body and sword just move, he ducks and dodges swings from his attackers and defeats all 3 men without being injured.
*note: The Last Samurai is an amazing movie. I highly suggest watching it. The depicted Samurai village in the mountains and their way of life is incredibly beautiful. Sometimes it makes me sad that everything is concrete and technology nowadays.*
Trust Your Sub-Conscious Mind:
When we are placed in new situations or confronted with unknown problems, it is often a good idea to go with what feels best. Most of the time your sub-conscious mind knows what to do. Do not shut it out. Try to listen to it more and get in touch with it. Trust that it has your best interest at heart and allow it to lead you.
You know that feeling you get sometimes where you can’t explain why something does not feel right? You cannot explain why but you just know it. (For example a bad / good feeling you get when you meet a person for the first time.) This is your sub-conscious mind that has picked up something in the surrounding or situation that it knows is not right. Your sub-conscious mind can often pick up intentions of people before you can logically deduce them. This is why you get that bad / good feeling sometimes. Learn to trust those feelings.
This is total speculation, but I think the sub-conscious mind is a survival mechanism. Back in our primitive days where we lived off the land and had to deal with dangerous animals and landscapes, our sub-conscious mind acted as a warning system to guide us away from danger and towards the best places to set up camp.
All I want you to remember from this post is:
“Too much mind. No mind.”
Sometimes it’s good not to over-analyze something and just go with what feels right.
Have a Rockin’ day