Do you self-sabotage? Do you sometimes do the reverse of what you know you should be doing? Why? You know what to do, right? Neuroscience brings lights on this matter. Here are two parts of the brains that I will use to explain how it works.
THE LOGICAL MIND
We use our logical mind on the surface in our day-to-day. Your logical mind is the voice you hear in your head all the time. The one you use to make decisions. We give our logical mind lots of responsibilities and place lots of hope on the extent of its power. The logical mind can process an average of five to nine pieces of information at the same time. While you are reading this book, you are likely also able to notice an average of seven other things.
Have you ever noticed when you are driving to a new address, as you come closer and start looking at the civic numbers on doors, you need to lower the volume of the radio in your car? Somehow, your ‘five to nine' pieces of information juggled by your logical mind get filled up very quickly. As you are driving, with the foot on the brake/accelerator, noticing the red light ahead, the child about to cross the street and the weird guy in the car next to yours, somehow, doing all of this at the same time puts ‘the music’ into the one-too-many category, as you are adding the act of ‘looking at the numbers on the houses’ to all the other actions of that moment.
In light of this fact, knowing that we are restricted to handling only a few things at once, we may be tempted to dismiss the power of our mind. However, the logical mind is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the research of Dr Raj Rahunathan Ph.D., we generate between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately, up to 70% of these thoughts are negative. We wonder what is wrong with us. Why is everybody else successful except us? We tell ourselves we are probably not good enough. We think everyone is better and knows more than us. Sadly.
“Who would want to be your friend if you talked to them the same way you talk to yourself?” - Unknown
Our logic might not be that great after all, right? The good news is that the voices inside your head can be reprogrammed when you discover and start connecting with the second part of your mind.
Vince Poscente created a great analogy on the subject. Somehow, you are like an ant bringing food to its shelter. Working tirelessly, feeling that you are doing everything right, plugging away with your logical mind and yet, you don’t see the results you want. You are focused on your goal however, even if you are going steady in one direction, if you don’t realize that you are like an ant going in one direction but standing on top of an elephant that is walking the opposite way of where you want to go, you will keep getting further away from your goal with giant steps. So, do you think the ant should step off the elephant’s back? No, not at all! It should stay on the elephant and instead, it should ask the elephant: “Hey buddy, would you turn around? I would like to go in the other direction please.” By doing so, with the help of the elephant, the ant will get there exponentially faster. Otherwise, your dedicated steps towards your goal will be in vein if you only rely on your logical mind.
The next part of the brain I am about to introduce, is like the elephant, with so much more power.
THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
While the logical mind is busy with tiny steps, working hard and also talking down to you, the unconscious mind is working efficiently and understanding everything, down in the deep structure of your Self. The unconscious mind can handle over two million pieces of information every second, (while our little logical mind was only able to manage seven, on average).
Everything you have seen, done, thought, heard and felt is organized in your deeper structure waiting for your recall. Your unconscious mind considers everything. It reads all the signs and advertising while you drive to work. It hears every conversation around you, whether you are paying attention or not. It feels all the non-verbal signs that others are communicating with you without their knowledge. It captures all the “behind the scenes” detail that the logical mind misses. It takes all the info, it deletes, distorts and filters everything to create your model of reality.
Your unconscious mind has so much information for you. You have everything you need inside yourself. You got this. The problem is that people are not trained to think with their unconscious mind.
When you send your unconscious mind on a mission, it keeps working for you in the background as you continue to live your life. It makes sure that things happen well for you. You can use your unconscious mind like you would use a personal assistant. Read the next article What if You Had a Personal Assistant 24/7? to find out how to talk to your Elephant.