Successful people are in control of their lives. They possess the willpower, self-discipline and emotional intelligence to design a life they’re proud of—and it’s because they take the time to learn how their mind operates and how best to use it to their advantage.
In order for you to do the same, it’s important that you initially understand the two parts of your mind—the conscious and the subconscious—and their respective roles.
The Conscious Mind
Your conscious mind is where you do your thinking and your planning—it’s the place of logic. But your conscious mind only performs 1 to 5 percent of the mind’s work, according to developmental biologist Bruce Lipton.
Picture this: Your conscious mind is like the driver at the wheel of a crane—it directs and controls the crane, but it does not perform any of the actual work. Your conscious mind is the driver at the wheel of your incredibly powerful subconscious mind. So what does that mean for you?
Have you ever tried to change a habit—such as quitting smoking or losing weight—using sheer willpower? If you have, then you know willpower is a poor strategy for creating lasting change in your life. Because willpower originates in the conscious mind and is therefore limited in its capabilities. When you attempt to use your willpower to make a change, you are only using 1 to 5 percent of your resources to accomplish an already undesirable outcome!
Learning to effectively utilize your conscious mind to direct your subconscious mind is what living your best life is. Top performers have learned how to do this, but whether they can articulate how they do it is another question altogether.
This is the challenge before you that, once mastered, will allow you to design your life.
The Subconscious Mind
Your subconscious mind is the part you aren’t aware of. It is the work horse performing 95 to 99 percent of everything you think, do and say. The subconscious ensures your heart remains beating, your lungs continue breathing, your muscles remember how to walk and your immune system remembers how to fight bacteria.
Your subconscious is the autopilot running in the background, allowing your conscious to think, learn and grow. Unfortunately, many people never understand the power of their subconscious mind or how to deliberately work with it. They allow negative behaviors and thoughts to remain on autopilot for so long that they can’t imagine doing anything different. They are stuck.
Your subconscious mind will come to accept and act upon a repetitive action. This is what makes you like Coke more than Pepsi. It’s a habitual mindset brought about, purposefully or otherwise, that your subconscious accepts as fact.
- You go to college because your parents told you every day that you would.
- You’re broke because you’ve experienced ideas of scarcity since you were a child.
- You get a job, buy a house and start a family because you’ve been conditioned to believe that is the definition of success and security.
There’s nothing wrong with these experiences if they are what you desire, but therein lies the problem. Most of us go through our entire lives without ever making a clear decision about what we want to do with our life or who we want to be. We allow our subconscious to control us with the default life brought about through social conditioning.
You can change your life and paint it as beautifully as your imagination allows. Want to be a millionaire? You can do it. Want to start a charity that alleviates world hunger? You can do it. But first, you must make the decision to do, and not just say. Throw all of your efforts into cultivating absolute belief in yourself and your abilities.
To start, you must recondition your subconscious mind to detach itself from the idea that you are your thoughts.
You are not your thoughts.
Many people see themselves as a culmination of the mental chatter constantly swarming inside their heads. This chatter has been going on so long that we assume this is who we are. You have to change your thoughts to change your life and, at first, you might resist the idea of losing your identity.
If you have been operating on autopilot for a while, your mind and identity have settled into a groove. It takes some serious effort to change that groove. It’s like how you feel on a cold winter morning while you’re nestled beneath a warm blanket—the thought of getting out of bed is uncomfortable; it requires motivation and will.
When you begin to grasp you are something far greater than your thoughts, you begin to understand you do have the power to choose which thoughts you will think and ultimately start to reprogram your subconscious mind.