The human mind processes thousands of bits of information in it's conscious in an instant. The sub-conscious mind processes millions at the same time. What does this mean? It means that over the long haul, your sub-conscious mind has infinitely more power over your state of being than does your conscious mind. The conscious mind has to be deliberately controlled, purposely focused, willfully directed – whereas the subconscious will function and have its effect automatically.
This is why people say, “Positive thinking doesn't work.”
Now, I think it probably goes without saying that I’m an optimist – a positive thinker. But in some way, I have to agree with these pessimists. They are actually right, in a manner of speaking. Why am I siding with these naysayer? Because what is a thought? A thought, whether positive or negative, is a product of the conscious mind. That means that it requires willful, deliberate, controlled effort to think positively – but if that positive thought is contrary to what is negative in your subconscious mind, you will have no long term success. What I’m saying is that, eventually, your conscious mind will become tired of fighting against your subconscious, and you will lose the ability to affect your state of mind for the positive. The subconscious, because of its greater capacity for processing, will always win out over the conscious.
Let me give you an example:
I heard a speaker once, Jason Bidwell, share his experience in this area. He said, “My dad left before I can remember, and my mother really didn’t want a kid around. She bounced us from house to house, place to place, boyfriend to boyfriend. I was constantly in an environment where I was being told, ‘Your worthless, stupid, and your never going to do anything with your life.’”
“Well, when I got to be about 17 I said, ‘Enough of this!’ and I left home to make my way in the world. I told myself I could be anything I wanted, do anything I wanted to do, and I set out to prove my mother and her boyfriends wrong.” And so he did…… for a while.
“I began to build a company, and we were doing great. It was a landscaping business, and in a couple years we were really on top. We had several trucks, all painted proudly with my name, dozens of employees and a nice office. But as we grew, and the closer I got to real success, I began to feel unhappy. Pretty soon I found myself blowing off important meetings, not taking urgent phone calls, and before you know it my business was bankrupt, and I had nothing.”
“Not only did I follow this cycle once, but I managed to do it three times. The next two times I built a million dollar company, and a multi-million dollar company. I had everything – the Ferrari, the huge house, a beautiful girlfriend. Eventually though, I always sabotaged myself, and ultimately I wound up living on the streets.”
From a Ferrari, to being homeless.
“After living homeless for a while (and he talked a lot about the horrors of shelter food) I realized I had to get my life back together. This time I wasn’t shooting for the moon, I just wanted some stability. So I began to look everywhere for answers. I looked at Church, seminars, books – anything, trying to piece together the bits of my broken life. Finally back on my feet, I shared my story with a man who became my mentor. He told me, ‘Jason, self sabotage is nothing more than you continuing to be who you believe you are.’ You see, despite all my efforts trying to prove everyone wrong about me, deep down I believed what my mother and her boyfriends said. I truly believed I was never going to be anything. Once I changed that, I never had a problem staying on top again.”
This is why I say, “You’ll See It When You Believe It.”
Your beliefs are what make up your subconscious mind, or better said your self image. I once asked Master Jung what made him a two time world champion… what did it really take? What he told me was basically, “I deserved it.” Perhaps Master Hafner put it better. In a group of school owners someone asked him, “Sir, what was the big thing that happened when you went from having 200 students in your school to have 1200?” His answer? “I began to see myself as a person who had a school of 1200 people.”
But beliefs do not have to be grand. In fact, I think no grand belief can exist without hundreds of supporting smaller beliefs. Let me give some examples of beliefs I’ve changed in my own life that I would consider to be “supporting beliefs.”
From: I can’t wake up before 9am and function.
To: I am a morning person!
From: This mess has a system to it, I can find anything I need. (load of crap)
To: I am HYPER organized.
From: If I’m not the best, I don’t want to do it.
To: I will rise to the top of any group I’m in, if I stick it out like the tortoise.
So the key to positive change isn’t really positive thinking. It’s understanding and affecting your beliefs, so that positivity takes over your subconscious and “bubbles up” into action. I would encourage you to take stock of the beliefs you have that may be limiting you, and replace them with new beliefs that are empowering.
The next time you feel sad, frustrated, angry or over whelmed, ask yourself, “What would I have to believe to feel this way?” You might have to believe that the situation was outside of your control, that there was nothing you could do to affect things for the positive, you might have to believe you were helpless. Then you might say to yourself – “well I don’t believe I’m helpless, I believe that I can affect a change here!” Then you’d be on a road to a happier, healthier Black Belt kind of world.