After listening to an Anthony Robbins recording the other day, I’m reminded of a subject that I hear about quite frequently through Life Leadership: The conscious and subconscious mind.
Science has criticized the concept of the subconscious mind as it is difficult – if not impossible – to currently quantify. Consider that even if it is not physically quantifiable, there are likely simply other processes at work in your mind that – for lack of better understanding – are referred to as “the subconscious mind”. Even if it is a gross oversimplification, general idea remains firm.
It’s been said quite a lot that your subconscious mind can accomplish quite a lot more than your conscious mind – like an ant riding an elephant. The concept behind it is simply that your conscious mind, that part of your mind that is reading this post, effectively “directs” your subconscious mind toward a goal, putting more power toward reaching it. This is what happens when you focus on something you need done, and after some time it “just hits you”, be it through some epiphany or even in a dream.
While the idea behind a “conscious” and “subconscious” mind might seem far-fetched to some, the idea behind how it works has been seen in pretty well every person who has achieved major success… and major failure.
If nothing else, the following statement sums it up beautifully: You only get what you focus on.
What does this mean exactly? It doesn’t mean that if you focus on the thought of a bunch of young, beautiful women fawning over you that you’ll get that (though you may), nor that if you focus on the thought of making a ton of money that you will (though, again, you may). It means that if you are trying to achieve an end result and are quite serious about getting to it no matter what, then focusing on the end result – be it building a successful business, getting that promotion at work, or simply breaking out of a mental rut – will give you the means to do so.
I want to make one thing clear, however: this typically does not happen overnight. The way you think has gotten you to where you are, for better or for worse. Changing how you think, no matter how long you’ve been thinking that way, will take time. After all, you’ve been programming yourself to think a certain way for some time (or others have been doing so – more on that another time), and it will take some effort to ditch old, less than useful habits for new and more useful ones.
One example of a thought habit is pessimism. This is one I can speak of through experience, as I was a prime example of one of the most pessimistic, cynical people you could ever meet. A real Debbie Downer. But through constant effort, I’ve gotten to a point where someone told me “you are the most optimistic person I’ve met”. It is very possible to be optimistic to a huge degree without necessarily going into what many cynics criticize about optimism – seeing the bright side without considering any possible negative points. It’s about which part of the whole that is focused on, and that’s the part that you will head toward. By focusing on the positive, you are pushing yourself toward a positive outcome.
Obviously, there’s more to this than I’m putting in this short post. For that, I encourage you to pick up Vince Poscente’s The Ant and the Elephant. For those of you that this applies to, I also encourage you to challenge yourselves for this point: focus on the positive of every situation you’re in for the next month. Don’t look at how the situation is “bad because”, look at why it’s good! If you can’t get quite to that, see why you can be thankful that the situation is as it is. If you’re being yelled at by someone, they’re giving you an opportunity to practice patience. If you were in a car wreck, you’re clearly able to read this and should be thankful for that if nothing else. And so on. After seriously doing this for a month, you may be amazed at the changes you see in yourself!
Look for more on this subject here over time, there may well be other concepts introduced. Open your mind and you will be amazed at what you may gain.