It’s believed that the brain processes over 400 billion bits of information per second. However, we’re conscious of only 2000 of these. That’s incredibly ineffective. That’s like having a Ferrari and then getting it towed by a donkey.
Accessing our brain’s full capacity occurs through using our subconscious mind. In this article, I’m going to share with you a technique to talk directly to your subconscious mind and get those answers.
Can you talk to your subconscious mind?
There’s a story I always tell people, and it’s a story that got me interested in the subconscious mind. I was at the gym with one of my training partners, and one of our mutual friends came up to us and introduced us to another guy. Now, this guy worked at Subway. We said hi and continued with our workout. Later that week, my friend and I were talking about this guy, and we couldn’t remember his name to save our lives. We just kept going back and forth with no success.
I’m sure you’ve had that feeling before where you had something on the tip of your tongue, or something you believed you knew, but you just couldn’t access it. So we just kept trying. Is it James? Is it John? Steve? We kept going through the alphabet, trying different names, and we just couldn’t. So eventually we just forgot about it and went on our way. Later that night before I went to sleep, I had this strange idea. I don’t know where it came from, but I thought to myself, “You know what, I’m going to ask myself to retrieve this name.” So I went to sleep that night with the intention of remembering that name.
I woke up in the middle of the night – as I usually do to go to the toilet – and I heard “George”. I then realized George was actually the name of the Subway guy. I quickly ran to my phone and put it down in my notes. The next morning, a quick Facebook search led me to discover that George was indeed the name of this guy. So how on earth was I able to remember his name while I was sleeping? When I was awake and conscious and deliberately trying to find his name, I couldn’t. That’s because of the subconscious mind.
If you have been wondering about how to get answers from your subconscious mind, my first tip is to simply ask your subconscious mind a question before you go to sleep. Your subconscious will work on the question and deliver it to you on a golden platter.
Let me explain why conscious effort doesn’t always work.
Take a look at this picture here.
How many squares do you see? Chances are you see some squares appearing when you move your gaze across the screen. But when you concentrate on one block, you don’t see those squares. It’s the same thing with the subconscious mind. Sometimes when we concentrate on something with a lot of energy and purpose, it actually gets in the way of us progressing.
Here’s the magical thing about our brains; they don’t sleep. When you go to the gym, and use your biceps, and you’re on your last rep of your last set at peak intensity, your muscles are activated at an incredible rate. However, as soon as you rest and things cool down the muscles will no longer be recruited. Our brains are different. They’re operating at 90% to 100% all the time, even when we’re sleeping.
The Subconscious mind and daydreams
Neuroscientists have discovered that there are two modes of operation. There is what’s called a task-positive network, which is a group of brain regions that activate when we are consciously working on something. When we deliberately have our attention and awareness on it. Then there’s the task-negative network also known as a default mode network.
This network is the regions in the brain that spark up when we’re just daydreaming, or when we’re not putting our attention purposely on something. And even when we’re sleeping, our brains think about all kinds of things and compute things without us even knowing. That’s the subconscious brain at work. Neuroscientists are now starting to discover this.
How the subconscious mind works
Think of your subconscious brain or a thought process like an egg. When you see a chicken egg in a nest, you don’t think much of it. You think that perhaps it’s just an egg; it’s not doing much. It’s not rolling, it’s just there…and it’s kind of boring. However, if you analyze what is going on inside that egg as the chicken’s forming, some complex things are happening.
Billions of bits of information are going into the chicken. Eventually, the chicken cracks open out of the egg, and this whole new organism comes into the world. It has consciousness; it can move. That’s similar to our brain. You start off with a thought, and you let it incubate within the subconscious mind. It can grow into the solution you were seeking: the Subway guy.
Geniuses like Albert Einstein were known to use the intuitive mind a lot, not just the conscious mind. Albert Einstein said,
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Einstein used his subconscious mind and visualization to create thought experiments which revolutionized physics and the way we looked at the physical world through utilising equations. He started these thought experiments to help break through the plateaus he was having with his mathematical equations and his actual conscious work.
The thought experiments gave him epiphanies. You might have heard of the elevator experiment, the train experiment, or him riding on a bike and viewing a beam of light traveling with him. These helped form the theory of relativity. Many scientists have attributed this intuitive mind to being the reasoning behind their scientific discoveries and out-of-the-box thinking.
The film ‘A Beautiful Mind’ highlights this perfectly when it shows John Nash discovering the Nash equilibrium theory for game theory while sitting in the bar trying to pick up a girl.
Subconscious mind power techniques
I know what you’re thinking.
“What the hell is this technique? Hurry up and show me how to get answers from the subconscious mind!”
I learned this technique from Michael Michalko – a creativity specialist focusing on understanding how geniuses think outside the box. So this is a way for you to give suggestions to your subconscious mind regarding certain tasks and discovering new ways of doing things.
1. Start with defining the problem.
Let’s say this particular problem is an engineering problem. You have to design a bridge. You might say,
“I have to design a bridge capable of withstanding a 200 ton load. This bridge needs to last over 100 years.”
2. Get all the information you need in front of you.
Find as much information as you can to aid you in fixing this problem consciously. You could do this by looking through textbooks, consulting with bridge experts, and even looking at previous designs. Anything that is suitable to help you design a bridge.
3. Work on the problem with the conscious mind.
You can do this for five hours straight, or you can do this over the span of a couple of days. Just deliberately try to solve the problem. If you’re lucky, you will solve the problem and you’ll be able to walk away with the answer. But sometimes we can’t solve the problem at that conscious level.
4. Write a letter to your subconscious mind
Get a pen and a paper and write a letter to your subconscious mind. I know this sounds weird, but it will make sense.
You would start it with, “Dear subconscious” or “Dear me”, and then you explain your problem, exactly as it is. Make sure to define it clearly and dictate what you need the subconscious to do or what result you need. You want to write it as if you’re writing it to an expert or a guru who’s going to help you with this problem.
5. Let go of the problem and relax
Once you write the letter, stop thinking about the problem. Don’t consciously go over it anymore. Continue your day as normal. Go for a walk, meditate, swim, play some Xbox, PS4, or whatever you like to do. What will happen is within a week, usually, you will get your answer. It can come at the most unlikely time. You’ll be greeted with a new way of looking at the problem. That’s when you can go back and use your conscious mind with this new idea.
Subconscious mind training
The answer can sometimes come in the form of a dream, so pay attention to your dreams. I like to keep a notepad near my bed, because that’s when I get my great ideas. But you can keep your notepad anywhere you like to go and think. Dreams have given me ideas many times. I often get asked how I am able to come with different talking points for my YouTube channel. It’s because my subconscious mind is always working in the background; finding solutions, finding new video ideas. It’s tuned into that frequency. So I can go for a walk outside, analyze something, maybe a car driving past, and it would just connect the dots for me. I’ll have a new idea giving me something interesting to talk about. This gift has been cultivated through my being in tune with my subconscious mind.
It’s like what Einstein says about having a gift and needing to learn to use it. You don’t need to design a bride. You can do this for your relationship, and even about your career. If you’re not sure what the next step should be in your career, you can use your subconscious mind to tell you. Whatever it is you want to know; all you need is to put that suggestion out there. It’s not going to come to you by itself.
Subconscious suggestions work!
The reason I was able to remember Subway guy’s name is because I put the suggestion out there. And if you’re having trouble actually getting the solution – because these answers can sometimes come a bit later – just reflect on your letter before you go to sleep. Every night before you go to sleep, just reread it. Don’t try to consciously think about it. Reread that letter and I guarantee you’ll come up with a new solution.
Do this and I promise you will be one step closer to living and dying well.