More limitations of the conscious mind 7+-2

Here is another quirky difference between your conscious and your unconscious mind. At any given moment in time your conscious mind can only be aware of between 5 and 9 pieces of information. It’s also called the 7 plus / minus 2 rule. Anything more than that overwhelms your conscious mind. However, you always have a vast amount of information streaming in through your five senses.

If you were consciously aware of all that data you’d be in constant overwhelm. To stop that from happening you automatically block out certain bits of data. You do it unconsciously which is why you are not aware of it.

While you have been reading this... You may have completely forgotten to notice what your hand feels like…. Or you may have completely forgotten to notice what your feet feel like….

Now that I mentioned it, part of your conscious awareness switched. And you are now consciously aware of it again.

That information has always been available to you. It just wasn’t deemed to be important at this moment and hence you filtered iy out.

To make this super clear. Your unconscious mind is aware of everything that is happening around you. At any given moment in time.

Maybe you hadn’t noticed certain sounds around you…

And now once again your attention has switched to those and you are now aware of them…

Why is this important for you? Firstly, so called reality.... It’s always useful to know that we are very limited in our ability to perceive and interpret so called reality. Be aware that lots of information always gets filtered out. Hence what gets through into our conscious awareness is a tiny slither. What gets through depends on the values, beliefs and other unconscious rules of the individual.

When seven different people watch the same accident you get seven different explanations about what happened. Conversation along the lines of: “I was there, that is not at all what happened” are utterly pointless. Because as humans, the best we can do is try and create a big picture out of our 5 to 9 pieces of the puzzle.

Assume you have team meeting and someone doesn’t seem to be paying attention. It could well be that their conscious mind is overloaded with thoughts. On the inside they are too busy doing: “What if they ask me something and I don’t know the answer?” “If they ask this… I’ll say that… but what if they ask me that…? Oh, my heart is pounding…”. That person can not pay attention to you anymore. Because their conscious mind is already busy tracking 5 to 9 bits of data. You know those meetings where everyone has to stand up and introduce themselves and what they do? Newest research shows that up to 75% of the population have a fear of public speaking! This means: three quarters of the people are paying ZERO attention to what is being said by the others!

They are too busy trying to mange their internal state in the only way they know how to, at this moment in time. Obviously everyone can learn to be calm and at ease in those situations.

When I hear the neighbours dog barking its poor neglected little head off, I have a choice. For one I have already reframed it, because I am sorry for him.

And the rest is: 5-9 bits of data. As soon as I start to focus, really focus on 5 - 9 other bits of data I can no longer pay any attention to him. So I focus on my writing and what I am wanting to say. ..

The line between reality and your vivid imagination is blurred

Get this: Your mind can not differentiate between a vividly imagined and a real experience.
That’s a fact! 

It’s the reason why scary movies are scary. Which is why your mouth can start to water when you think of your favourite food… Or why you can freak yourself out by thinking about something that happened in the past… Or you can equally make yourself anxious by thinking about what could possibly go wrong…
It’s also why you shouldn’t attempt to do a stunt before you can actually imagine yourself doing it.

The old saying “what your mind can conceive, your body can achieve” is true. The opposite unfortunately is equally true! “What your mind can’t conceive, you won’t be able to achieve!” When you have no idea what it looks like, well then you can’t give your neurology instructions what to do.

Visualisation, most people have heard about it. And this is why it’s so useful to daydream positively. When you imagine yourself doing something well, it is as if you are rehearsing it mentally. Athletes have been using this fo decades! Have you ever noticed an athlete before a race mentally going through the course? You sometime see them turning, moving as if they were on the course… 

And because your mind can not differentiate between vividly imagine and a real experience the more you practice, visualise, rehearse what you want the better you get at it. While daydreaming. It won’t happen overnight so give yourself time. Then reward yourself for every improvement from where you were yesterday or just a few moments ago. Your benchmark is not where you want to be, it is where you came from! This is so important… Because rewarding yourself for what works makes your mind and body deliver more of it.
Today I am grateful for powerful visualisations and goals. As I am writing this I imagine you reading it and I can imagine all the good things you can achieve by using the power of your own mind to your advantage!

Enjoy your daydream!

Window-to-the-mind.jpg

What do you want?

Have you ever thought that sometimes your mind plays tricks on you?

You know when you tell yourself to not think of something… Or you’re trying hard not to be nervous? Then you find you can’t stop thinking about it or you get even more nervous…? Even though you really, really, really don’t want to…?

Don’t think about a cute little squirrel, now… Please, no matter what, just don’t think about a squirrel with its button eyes and bushy tail!

Well, you can’t do it, can you? It’s actually called the 'Law of Reversed Effect'. Which means that whenever you use the word “Don’t” you get the exact opposite of what you wanted.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s useful!

Understanding the ‘Law of Reversed Effect’ is your first step to running your own mind more successfully.

So, bear with me. This is why it is not easy to not think of cute squirrels (especially while I keep reminding you, what they look like with their sweet eyes and bushy tails… Bahahaha).

This applies to different contexts too: The more you tell yourself “Don’t be nervous”, the more you automatically think about being nervous. You can’t help it. It’s the way your mind works…

Aaaand before you know it, you start to remember the last time you were nervous…

And if that wasn’t enough, you then proceed to tell yourself “Oh I don’t want that to happen again!” … And because your mind still can’t process the negation, you imagine exactly the same thing happening again… and you really don’t want that.

Whether you are consciously aware of all these unconscious processes or not, the effect is the same!

The first step to running your own mind even more successfully is understanding it. And now you are one step closer to that goal! The second step is using this for your own good!

So here is your 5-step mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Stand guard at the gates of your own mind

2) Every time you notice thinking "don’t" instantly think about what the opposite of that for you is.

3) Always think about what you DO want! Start every day by writing down how you DO WANT yourself to be in certain situations. The more specific you are, the better!

4) Pay attention to how you are communicating with others. Make a habit of describing what you do want them to do, instead of what you don’t want them to do.

5) Have fun with it all!

Genius quote

“There is so much that I don’t know , I will not apologise for what I do know!” - Bob Bailey, animal behaviourist and total genius!

So true. Know what you do know and know there is always more to learn so you can never know it all… Being totally okay with knowing that there is always more to learn has personally made a huge difference to the way I present or do public speaking or interact with people. It probably also made me more curious.

I truly am a life long learner.

Today I am grateful for the inspiration, insight and understanding of Bob Bailey. I am grateful that through his understanding and amazing work, I can learn to become a better Mind Trainer every day. After all we are mammals too.

Confidence

People often say to me that they want to be more confident... But technically I know that it is to entirely true. It is a good thing not to be confident about certain things. I prefer not to be confident about flying a plane. I simply don't have the skill, the knowledge and the training for it. 

FOund this little guy hiding in my basil many years ago...

FOund this little guy hiding in my basil many years ago...

So what people actually mean is that they are not confident in a situation were they would like to be confident. 
Of course everybody has confidence. You might be very confident talking to the kids or doing a sport you love. Or you are very confident talking to a friend about something you know well or very confidently using public transport or driving a car.  

So you actually know how to do this thing called confidence. And this now becomes a resource. Because if you copied exactly the mindsets, behaviours, attitude, beliefs and so on from how you do this thing called "confidence" and applied it to another area of your life... Well, wouldn't that be awesome? 

Of course you can't do that consciously and by thinking about it! You need to do this unconsciously and if you could have worked it out by think about if, I bet you would have done that by now. Hand it over to your unconscious and become naturally confident!  

Yours in happiness, confidence and wellbeing