Most brain specialists believe that our mind is separated into two distinct parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious half is the one that is aware and in the moment. It’s the part of the brain that makes decisions and provided focus for real-world tasks. The subconscious, on the other hand, is the portion of the brain that operates under the surface. People such as hypnotists suggest that the subconscious part of the brain is the key to creativity and innovation.
Sigmund Freud first introduced the theory of the conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind, said Freud, consists of those thoughts people have in the present and is responsible for a large part of how we behave. The subconscious, however, was responsible for the primitive drives and impulses that sometimes govern our thoughts. He believed these thoughts out of direct reach of the conscious mind, working independently to guide our thoughts and actions during times when we are not consciously aware. Naturally this theory alarmed many people, for according to Freud, people are unable to control some of the actions initiated by the subconscious mind.
Techniques for tapping the subconscious mind can be valuable in helping people maximize their potential. It is widely believed that conditions such as anxiety and depression stem from uncomfortable thoughts about events that happened in the past and that the only effective way to treat these illnesses lies in bringing these thoughts to the surface. Freud introduced a process called psychoanalysis in which he sought to identify troubling, hidden thoughts within the mind and bring them to the surface through therapy. To cure the person, he thought, we must first discover what is happening below the surface.
Other techniques have sought the same result as Freud’s psychoanalysis, and more are being developed each year. Here’s a few of the most widely used techniques for tapping the subconscious:
Hypnosis attempts to tap the subconscious mind through a process called hypnotic induction. It is initiated by a series of suggestions, either administered by a hypnotist or self administered, that guide individuals to a greater state of awareness.
Affirmations are positive thoughts that individuals repeat to themselves continually to effect a change in their mental state. For a list of 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations click here.
Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person’s own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. For instance, autosuggestion thoughts such as “it doesn’t hurt,” can help train the mind to cope with pain.
There are many more of course, but the above are some of the most widely used. Another method that is gaining popularity is Subconscious Restructuring, which is a conscious process to gain control of your subconscious mind.
The key is to remember that there is much more going on than you are currently aware of. Hidden thoughts and resentments can not only cause a great deal of stress, but can lead people to act in ways that are harmful or inappropriate.
Henry Ford, one of the most influential men in history, once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” He believed that the largest obstacle people faced, the obstacle that kept them from realizing their potential, were themselves. Now coming from your average Joe these words may have little meaning, but as I’m sure you will agree, Ford’s success gives those simple words a great deal of credence. By eliminating the words “I can’t” from his vocabulary, he created one of the largest empires in the world.
Self-limiting beliefs are huge obstacles to success. Recognizing these self-imposed limitations is the first step to overcoming them, allowing you to reach any goal you wish. Below are the 4 most common self-limiting beliefs:
1. Failure Lasts Forever
Failure can stop people in their tracks. They allow a lone setback in life to define who they are and stop them from realizing their potential. But failures do not have to be permanent, and in no way are they representative of who you really are. It’s true that we must live with the consequences of our actions, but learning from these consequences is what separates successful people from the crowd. Use these failures as an opportunity to grow, and move forward confidently with this new knowledge. You are more than your experiences and the lessons you learn, followed by the actions you take in the face of failure, will help you to achieve remarkable results in your life.
2. I’m Not Smart Enough
Many people believe they are not smart enough to make a difference. They feel success is reserved for people in an entirely different class than them—an elite group of some kind—and that greatness is reserved for only them. They feel they have no control or power over their own lives because they just don’t measure up. This is simply not true.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was a common man with very little formal education, yet his belief in himself allowed him to revolutionize the world. Can you imagine what the world would have been like if he believed he wasn’t smart enough or worthy of his calling?
Everybody has something that makes them unique. The trick is to discover your special skills—the skills that make you who you are—and utilize them to create the type of life of which you can be proud.
3. I’m Not Worthy
Unfortunately there are people who believe they don’t deserve to be successful. They think that great success and happiness is reserved for others and regardless of what they do, they feel they will never measure up.
Unfortunately, living life this way seems safe to a lot of people. After all, if they never even try, failure, their worst fear, is not even possible. One can’t, for example, fail to land their dream job if they never even submit an application. Conversely though, using this same thought process, success proves to be unattainable as well. This manner of thinking poisons the possibility for success and positive change, and creates that mediocre existence that most people are constantly complaining about.
You are indeed worthy of success. Believe in yourself and your ideas. They have great worth because they come from you.
4. Nobody Likes Me
Fear of the way we are perceived can be a major impediment to growth. Many of us become paralyzed to action because we’re afraid of the way it will look to others, but this paralysis is completely unwarranted. The majority of people-those same people we worry about-are far too concerned about themselves and their own issues to even notice what we’re doing. If you think about it, concern over the way we are perceived is rather egotistical.
Now there are people who care about you, and thus have a vested stake in the decisions you make, but why in the world would you worry about their perceptions? They are the people who want you to succeed and will unfailingly root for you regardless of the outcome of the decisions you make. They are your support team, people who will be there for you through good and bad. Count yourself lucky for having them in your corner. The rest of the world, however, is too wrapped up in their own daily grind to have time to ponder yours. Don’t worry about how your actions will be perceived by others. Move forward with the knowledge that the people that matter to you will support you in everything you attempt.
Looking for a few good things to say to yourself? Here are 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations.
Done beating yourself up? Here are 66 Ways to Lessen Stress and Feel Happier.