The mind can be separated into two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. They work together to make you, you. Only by learning to use each part of our mind the right way can we reach our true potential.
The Conscious Mind
When we think about anything, or deliberately do or say something we are using our conscious mind. The conscious mind is the way you think. Because of this we consider the conscious mind as thinking.
There is only a small amount of room in our conscious mind at a time. We cannot do or think about more than a couple things at one time. We occupy our mind with what we are currently engaged in whether it is reading this blog, giving a presentation at work, or hitting balls on the tennis court. When we are not engaged in something or not focusing on a specific skill we leave room in our conscious mind for negative an self-defeating thoughts.
Balancing our conscious mind can be a difficult skill at times. If we try to fit too much into it our mind slows down (this is called Hick’s law), and when we do not occupy enough of it anything can get in, including toxic thoughts.
The Subconscious Mind
About 90% of our mind is subconscious. When you walk down the street you do not think about breathing, the steps you are taking, or where you eyes are scanning. All of those actions are controlled by your subconscious mind. At times we call them habits, because we do them so much they have been habitualized in our mind to the point they become automatic. But in reality they are skills. We learn the skill of walking as a child, and we do it so often it becomes a part of us.
The purpose of the subconscious mind is to take all the things we learn in our conscious mind and move them somewhere we can still use them but without having to use our conscious mind or think about it.
The Relation Between The Conscious and The Subconscious
In athletics, coaches work hard to teach skills to their athletes and when competition comes around they tell the athletes to “stop thinking”. Can you really stop thinking? Well, yeah, but that is called being unconscious or dead.
What the best athletes in the world learn to do is use their conscious mind in practice to develop skills. They develop the skills to the point that they enter the subconscious. Then in competition they can use their conscious mind to focus on the present and their opponent while the skills they developed to help them win come out through their subconscious mind.
That is the key to being successful in critical performance situations. We practice with our conscious mind to acquire skills in the subconscious, and when the pressure is on we can free up conscious mind to the present to react to what is happening around us.
When we are in competition, or we are working with a client, or interacting with others we need to have the right skills in our subconscious so they can come out while our conscious mind is engaged in the moment.
The first step to programing our subconscious the right way is to consciously work on crucial skills. Focus on 1-2 skills that are directly related to your performance and also choose 1 important mental skill like a can-do mindset, or control the controllable.
Work on those skills until you feel that you are consciously competent (meaning that you know you are good at the skill). By that point they should be reinforced enough in your subconscious. Then move on to another 2-3 skills to work on. Never have only 1 or more than 3 skills you are working at a time. Remember that the conscious mind works best when we occupy it with just the right amount of skills. Too few skills let in room for toxic thoughts, and too many skills slow down our mind.
The Mental Strength Journal
The science of the conscious and subconscious minds is built into The Fearless Mind Mental Strength Journal in step 2. Use this step everyday if you want to reach your mental potential.
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