The human brain is brilliant! The unconscious mind is amazingly powerful and responsible for running not only our body systems but also huge amounts of our lives including our feelings and behaviours. Our brain likes to do things automatically, this is so that we don’t have to think about what we do, we can just do it.
This was highlighted when I watched an episode of a science programme called ‘Horizon’ where they were asking top scientists to estimate and illustrate the power of the unconscious mind as opposed to the conscious mind, on a piece of paper. The sheet of paper represented the power of the whole brain and to represent the conscious mind, they drew little boxes or strips that covered a tiny area of the paper, estimating the power of the conscious mind was tiny in comparison to the power of the unconscious mind.
The brain incredibly efficient when it runs things for us automatically, it is great when it is good things, but the brain doesn’t distinguish between what is good for us and what is bad for us, it just wants to do its job well.
The great news is that our brains are adaptable and can easily change and learn to do things differently. This is called ‘neuroplasticity’ and is the brains’ ability to learn quickly and rewire itself depending on how it’s being used. Interestingly, as I said before, the brain isn’t concerned about what pathways it links up, it just wants to be efficient. This means you could be very good at rewiring your brain with great behaviours or very good at rewiring your brain with not so great ones.
The brain learns new things consciously and as they are practiced and repeated, it moves these learnings to an unconscious level. I remember learning to drive, there was so much to think about, I thought I was never going to get it. I really had to concentrate on where I was going, to mirror, signal, manoeuvre; not to mention figuring out the gears, peddles etc.! It didn’t take long before I could just get in my car and drive because driving had become an automatic behaviour, my brain had rewired itself so that I could drive without having to consciously think about everything.
Another great example of learning something consciously first is when you learn to write your name as a child. You have to learn how to shape the letters, which letters to use in which order and whether they are capital letters or small letters. Now think about when you write your name, you can do it automatically.
Have a think abouthow much of the time today you have been running on autopilot. What do you do automatically that is great? What would you like to change? Try this on some of your simple, unwanted, automatic behaviours:
Start by identify something that you would like to change – keep it simple to start with. An example could be you want to stop being the person who is always late. You’re known for being late within your circle of friends and no matter how hard you try, you’re always running late.
Now think about the conscious strategies you can put in place to make sure you’re not late again. My sister puts her clocks forwards by 10 minutes so she gets a shock when she looks at the time (it confuses me but it works for her), or to pack your bag at night and hang out your clothes ready for the morning, or book the leaving time in your diary for each appointment so that you know when you need to have left by rather than seeing the start time of your appointment.
By consciously tackling this issue, with practice, you will start to improve your timekeeping until you automatically become a great time keeper.
This is just a simple way of rewiring your brain and there are so many amazing examples of people who have used this powerful technology to overcome incredible obstacles in their lives. A brilliant book on this subject is by Norman Doidge called ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’ which includes some incredible case studies and all the science behind discovering neuroplasticity and the power of the mind.
If you would like to discuss how the Lightning Process and how it uses neuroplasticity to help you to change unwanted, unconscious patterns in your life, contact me by leaving a comment below or you can email me to arrange a chat.