We’ve learnt so much more about the workings of the human over the last 10 years but all it’s done to me is make me realize how messed up we really are. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
I didn’t want to know that it’s my own mind sabotaging my success. I wanted to stay in denial and blame it on external forces. Sadly though, Science had something else in mind.
Science used to tell me that my brain was like a computer – we get programmed by the good stuff we put in and if the input is good enough we output good stuff. So I’d read business books, motivational books, attend seminars, and do online programs for building success. Some good stuff came out but not nearly enough for all the good stuff I’d put in.
Then, without even a sheepish “sorry I got it a bit wrong”, Science decided that there were some other things going on in our heads. First it decided that our brains are plastic – no not cheap with a Made in Taiwan sticker on the bottom – plastic as in it changes. Basically, old dogs can learn new tricks. This spawned a whole heap of brain training websites to make us faster and smarter with better memories. That’s if we remembered to access them.
Then Science decided that, despite all those years of ‘mind as machine’ kind of thinking, it had come to the conclusion that we are largely driven by our unconscious minds and our conscious minds do a pretty sloppy job, putting in maybe 10% of the work.
This can be pretty scary news really. Subconscious means unavailable to our conscious mind. Which means there’s a lot going in our head that we have no idea about. Ninety percent in fact that we have no idea about. Ninety percent of my brain could be having a party up there, unsupervised, and I wouldn’t even know.
Anyway, the reason this subconscious 90%, conscious 10% thing can be a bit upsetting in business is that the subconscious holds a lot of stuff that stops us from being really successful. The obvious kind of stuff is childhood stuff – stuff your parents told you (your brother is the smart one, most likely to succeed, you’d better brush up on your trolley skills because Woolworths is where you’ll wind up; you need to work hard to succeed; money is the root of all evil) – all things that make success harder either generally or personally.
Then there’s this brain system that holds us in our comfort zone. Try and step out of it – I dare you. There’ll be all sorts of alarms going off internally and lots of sneaky little tricks to make sure we don’t change. If you don’t believe me, think about this. Have you ever been stuck at a certain income level that you just cannot seem to move beyond? Have you ever committed consciously to doing something to improve your business or your life only to find a month or a year later that you haven’t done it or haven’t been able to stick to it?
If you answered yes, that’s sneaky unconscious brain systems for you. If you answered no, are you an alien?
Sneaky subconscious minds might also make you reluctant to sell yourself or your products or may have you doing things like not firing pesky staff even though you know you need to. They might make you procrastinate, make bad business decisions, make you crazy with stress, make you self-sabotage, lose focus, lose motivation, give you sales call reluctance, and give you sleepless 3am meltdowns.
Naughty subconscious brain! It must be tamed.
Luckily we have ways of making it behave. But I’ll have to leave that for next time. My subconscious said that’s enough for now.