Did You Know Your Subconscious Drives the Bus?
“What feels like decisions about what we see, say, and do are pre-determined orders from our subconscious brains.”
– Jill McCabe, “It’s Go Time; Build the Business and Life You Really Want
How well do you know your subconscious?
I am rather embarrassed to admit it took me until my mid-fifties to finally get a solid understanding on the integral role my subconscious brain plays in my life. Better late than never…because apparently, it’s my subconscious driving the me-bus.
Likewise, your subconscious is driving your bus (whatever that looks like).
A few weeks ago, I was in a clothing store in the small town where I live. I went in the store specifically to buy a local author’s book about a horse, entitled “Keeping Kahlua; A Hero’s Journey,” by Maeve Lawrence (it is excellent). But I left the store with two books…the horse book and a copy of the only other book they sold in the store: “It’s Go Time; Build the Business and Life You Really Want,” by Jill McCabe.
At the time, I didn’t know why I bought McCabe’s book, other than it looked kinda interesting. However, considering I already had a dozen plus books in my to-read pile at home, I certainly didn’t need another. But once I started reading the subject matter, I realized that buying McCabe’s book was a perfect example of what she was teaching: my subconscious mind made the purchase decision way before my conscious mind…ten seconds before, to be exact.
What I assumed, in the store, had been a conscious decision – buying the book – was actually my conscious mind acting on a pre-determined order from my subconscious mind. Wow!
“There is a region of your subconscious brain whose job it is to be on alert about your surroundings and to show you only those things it decides you need to see.”
– Jill McCabe, “It’s Go Time; Build the Business and Life You Really Want
In “It’s Go Time,” McCabe explains beautifully how the subconscious and conscious parts of our brain function – on their own, as well as together. Jill’s book is certainly not the first time I have read about how our subconscious and conscious brains work – but the way she explained it really resonated with me. Plus, the timing of reading her book was right.
But from the perspective of my subconscious mind, this makes sense. Over the past few months, I have been learning an awful lot about the importance of identifying – and getting rid of – any limiting beliefs that may be lurking in my subconscious. Finding Jill’s book was another significant piece of the puzzle.
As such, I suspect I am starting to successfully reprogram my subconscious mind to be on the lookout for resources that are going to help me achieve my business and financial goals.
Meet Thy Subconscious Mind
“Neuroscience has demonstrated that our subconscious pre-filtering process affects what we say and do,” explains McCabe. “Even though it may feel like we are consciously in control of our lives, turns out we aren’t. What feels like decisions about what we see, say, and do are pre-determined orders from our subconscious brains.”
“Our subconscious brains,” the author continues, “are doing this filtering and deciding what we see, say, and do up to ten seconds before our conscious brain even becomes aware of what’s going to happen.”
Whoa! This rather important tidbit of intel – about how we make decisions – was as shocking to the author the first time she heard it, as it was to me, the reader.
“For the first time,” says McCabe, “I understood that my subconscious mind had near-total control of my day-to-day existence, and subsequently, everything I had or hadn’t achieved to date.”
And so, she asked herself a very good question:
“If my conscious brain isn’t even involved until my subconscious has made a decision, then what criteria is my subconscious using to make these decisions?”
“This is a life-altering question,” she says. “And knowing its answer will enable you to achieve immeasurably more of anything you want from now on.”
Yes, you read correctly. Told ya this was important intel to know about thy self!
You’ve probably heard about a part of our brain called the amygdala. If so, you may know the amygdala as the fear center: “The part of your brain that stays on constant lookout for danger in the environment,” explains McCabe, “and responds to any perceived threats by triggering the fight, flight, or freeze response.”
However, says McCabe, “Recent neuroscience has found that your amygdala is also the region of your brain that prompts positive actions in response to environmental stimuli.” Which begs the question: “How does your amygdala decide how you will respond to environmental triggers?”
“Its decisions,” McCabe explains, “are based on a type of goal that a team of neuroscientists led by Randall O’Reilly termed ‘hot goals.’ Hot goals are the goals your amygdala uses to determine everything you see, say, and do in response to your environment (and, therefore everything you achieve).”What the Heck Are Hot Goals & Why Do They Matter? Click To Tweet
“There are two types of hot goals,” says McCabe, “that your amygdala is tuned into: prevention and promotion goals. Prevention goals keep you from harm. Promotion goals make your life better. We are biologically wired to preserve life, so your amygdala pretty much knows what to do as far as prevention goals are concerned.”
Not so with our promotion goals. “Unfortunately,” says McCabe, “if you have a goal for yourself in your conscious mind, it doesn’t automatically become a hot goal for your amygdala in your subconscious mind.”
Why not? Because our conscious and subconscious use different forms of language. More on this in a moment.
“You can quickly determine which of your conscious goals are hot goals;” advises McCabe, “they are the goals you automatically make progress on without needing to force yourself or draw on willpower.”
“Wherever you are happy with the results you are getting in your life – such as your relationships, health, or how you spend your free time – your conscious goals are also your hot goals,” says the author. “Conversely, the goals that you’ve set for yourself time and time again but aren’t speeding towards – are not hot goals and are unknown to your amygdala.”
Does that hit home for you? Sure did for me.
“Wherever you are frustrated or not making progress toward a goal you’ve consciously established for yourself,” McCabe explains, “it’s because what you consciously want your subconscious is unaware of; it is not a hot goal.”
Because this is such an important point, I shall paraphrase – both for your benefit, as well as mine (now that I actively re-programming my subconscious every chance I get):
If you have a goal in your life – say a financial or relationship goal – that you are not making significant progress towards achieving, even though you consciously SAY to yourself you want to achieve it, then it is probably because your subconscious is not aware of that goal.”
Take a Look at Your Life
“To figure out what’s hot and what’s not,” McCabe suggests, “simply take a look at your life. Where you feel your life is going well is where your conscious and subconscious (hot) goals are aligned. Wherever you’re frustrated, your subconscious is not aware of what you want.”
Bing, bing, bing! That’s what my brain is doing right now (both parts of it).
“Frustration is a function of your conscious mind.” explains McCabe “You can think of your subconscious as satisfied with everything about your life as it is now.”
Therefore, if there is an aspect of your life right now that is NOT where you want it to be, then it is highly likely you’ll need to do a little digging and get rid of a limiting belief (buried deep within your subconscious) that is no longer serving you…then replace it with one that will serve you. Then, and only then, will you achieve what you want to.
But there’s a catch…
Your Subconscious and Conscious Speak Two Very Different Languages
“The language of your conscious brain is words, ideas, and concepts,” writes McCabe. “The language of your subconscious brain is your senses – your sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell – and your emotions.”
“This is why just thinking about a concept or using words to describe a goal you have is not enough to create a hot goal,” the author explains. “Your subconscious brain doesn’t understand words, ideas, and concepts. To program a hot goal, you need to evoke your senses and emotions because that’s what your subconscious mind will understand.”
Fascinating stuff! This explains why creating vision boards and daydreaming/imagining what our realized goals will look and feel like are so important – and effective – in terms of telling our subconscious what we really want in life. Yes, the subconscious mind is driving the bus…but it’s up to us to tell the driver where we want to go.
For a few tips on how to identify and get rid of any self-limiting beliefs/hot goals that are no longer working for you but that might be lurking in your subconscious, you can check another recent blog of mine, entitled “How to Scare a Limiting Belief Out of Your Subconscious.”
So this is my question to you:If there is an aspect of your life that is not quite the way you want it to be, could it be that your subconscious mind is NOT in the loop? Click To Tweet
In other words, if your life-bus isn’t going where YOU want it to go, you might have to reprogram the driver 🙂
I haven’t yet finished Jill McCabe’s brilliant book, “It’s Go Time.” But there will likely be another blog or two when I do!
Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.