Our brain operates on two very different levels — the conscious and the subconscious.
These two minds are the way we process information. They both have critical jobs. We can’t function without working with both of them.
The conscious mind works on the simple, day-to-day tasks, while the subconscious does the heavy-lifting and deep-work … the big ideas for the future!
It also runs our day to day life. It can only focus on one task at a time. The conscious mind uses a tiny percentage of our brain power, around 10%, with the other 90% of the processing power dedicated to our subconscious.
Our conscious mind controls willpower, short term memory, logical thinking and critical thinking
Our subconscious (or unconscious) mind controls beliefs, emotions, habits, values, protective reactions, imagination, intuition and long term memory.
Our subconscious is tricky and often unexplored
The subconscious mind is the place of daydreams, aha moments and big ideas.
The subconscious mind works hard all the time dealing with all the deep tasks, while our conscious mind reads e-mails, navigates through traffic, chooses which Netflix show to watch, and holds a conversation.
Ever notice how some of your greatest ideas seem to pop in to your head from nowhere while you are taking a shower or walking the dog? This is your subconscious hard at work in the background.
No question we can’t live without the 10% conscious thought. But when we are looking for big life changing ideas, this is where the subconscious must take over. Unlike our conscious mind, our subconscious handles many activities/thoughts/processes simultaneously. Our subconscious can process 500,000 times more information that our conscious mind!
How to Prime Your Subconscious Mind
You can’t force your subconscious to work on big ideas, but you can learn to point it in the right direction. This is called priming. Priming happens when you focus your conscious brain on research and list-making dedicated to the big problem you want to solve. The more conscious information you can absorb, the harder your subconscious will work on it.
Plan for time to do nothing — our subconscious will hoard its ideas while our conscious mind is busy working. If we fill all our time with busy-work, we won’t give our mind the needed rest required for the ideas to surface.
Place capture devices everywhere — this is anything you want to use to take notes; a phone, a notebook, or scraps of paper. You’ll need a capture device in your pocket, in the car, in your bag, by the bed, and definitely in the bathroom.
Shower — we get a Dopamine release from showering. The warm water over our bodies stimulates our brains in a unique way and it’s a great time to come up with some of your best ideas.
Do something physical, without directed purpose — our brains do their best work in motion. Our bodies are built to think this way (which is another reason why sedentary office work is so toxic). Take a walk or exercise. Keep your capture device nearby.
Whether you go for a walk or take a hot shower, your brilliant subconscious is there waiting for you. Instead of filling our minds with worry or trivial problems, we now have the ability to aim our subconscious in the right direction … towards the future!