One question that someone out there listening to me might have is “why do you focus so much on mindset or thoughts and not so much on the specific business strategies?” And my answer to that would be relatively simple. There’s a principle called “pareto’s principle” and it essentially states that for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. And in being an entrepreneur and starting and running a successful business, whether it starts off as a freelancing service or side hustle, begins with having the right mindset. So to borrow a statement that I heard from Tony Robbins that I agree with, success is about 80% mindset or mental and 20% mechanics. Now I will be discussing plenty of strategic business concepts in various episodes, but my focus and passion is truly mindset and thought mastery. If you’re mindset is not aligned properly, then learning things like gaining a competitive advantage or SEO optimization or email marketing or whatever else, won’t do you any good. You might read something and attempt to implement a strategy, but if your foundational mindset is not right, then the odds of success are not stacked in your favor. My content is really about stacking the odds in your favor and being able to successfully create and achieve your goals as they relate to not only entrepreneurship, but also life in general.
So let’s talk about the power of the subconscious mind because it truly is a fascinating subject and one that I hope you find as interesting and helpful as I do. 96-98% of the time, your subconscious mind controls your decisions, which means that only 2-4% of the time are you actively making conscious decisions. Think about the routine things you do daily: breathing; walking, talking, blinking, nervous ticks you may have, fight or flight responses, and things of that nature. A lot of what you do is subconscious. Have you ever driven somewhere, reached your destination, and were completely unsure of how you got there? I know I have. It wasn’t that you blacked out, it’s just that you didn’t even have to think about it. If you don’t believe the percentages, think for a moment about something that you like such as apple pie, basketball, a particular person. Now, snap your fingers and instantly stop liking that one thing. You can’t. 96-98% of the time, the things that we crave, desire and act upon comes from what we predominantly hold in the back of our mind.
Our brain has over 100 billion neurons and different experiences in our lives create different neural connections. When certain actions are performed repeatedly, they promote certain neural connections that strengthen, the more that you do the task. This is known as neural elasticity – ability of new neural connections to form when fired together often. Other pathways may become weaker. This eventually has a direct impact on our consciousness and how we think or feel about certain things.
Learning a trait like emotional resilience, which is the ability to adapt to stressful situations, works the same as learning any other skill like math or proper running technique. Everyone knows the cliché phrase of “practice makes perfect.” It’s cliché because it is time-tested and has been validated over many generations. One thing that I like to mention to those trying to achieve a particular goal is that, along your journey, try to repeat a process of learn one thing at a time and implement it as you learn it. For instance, this can be applied to those who read many books on a topic and never make progress on what they were reading about. Read one book, find an idea that is relevant to your current situation and implement it in your life or your business. Don’t put it off for later. Act on it.
All of the things your subconscious mind can do, there is something that it CAN’T do. It can’t distinguish between a real event and something that you only think about. Think about nightmares. You physiologically react as if that scary thing is happening in reality.
So in any good scientific study when trying to determine the effectiveness of a drug, two different groups of patients need to be tested; one with the drug and one group without. The pill without the medication is called the placebo, but the patients do not know that they aren’t getting the drug. All patients think that they are getting a miracle drug that may cure them of their illness. I don’t have the exact statistic in front of me, but I believe that there is between a 20-35% effective rate for the placebo group.
There are hundreds of cases reported in the medical literature that show individuals being cured of their illness or affliction that weren’t due to medication or surgery. The mere thought of being cured is what made them not only feel better, but physically cured.
A case study was reported in the New England Journal of medicine of a surgeon who performed a fake knee surgery on one patient with the consent of the family of course. The doctor just drilled some holes and let the patient hear the drills and sounds of surgery making them believe that whatever was wrong with their knee has been corrected. The results shocked even the doctor because the patient who received the fake surgery got better, but not only did they get better, they got better faster than the patient who got the real surgery. One reason, might be that they didn’t have the same amount of surgical damage and tissue scarring as the individual who received the surgery.
These type of case studies show us that there is definitely some connection between our beliefs and our internal biochemistry. I actually have a short section on this topic in my book The Missing Mindset, which you can find on Amazon. Just think about how negative thoughts can trigger the release of cortisol, which is considered the stress hormone; that’s just one of the most common examples.
Most people don’t realize that there is something called the nocebo effect, which is practically the opposite of the placebo effect. Instead of the mind contributing to cure illnesses, it contributes to causing it. There are also cases of individuals who have a physical manifestation of an action on their body just by thinking it. Think about hypnotists, this is their specialty—they implant thoughts into your subconscious and you act out things accordingly with those subconscious thoughts. For example, if someone were hypnotized and was told that a piece of ice were a hot coal and then when that ice touched them they displayed burns on their arm. Or think about a nightmare you had, your brain couldn’t distinguish reality from the dream and you may have experienced fast heartbeat, sweating, heavy breathing, all because the brain thought what was happening was real.
So we can clearly see from looking at these different effects that what we hold in our subconscious mind is what shapes our reality. Now, let’s think about the things that shape your subconscious mind. EVERYTHING around you shapes your subconscious mind! What you hear, what you see, what you feel, what you taste, what you smell, what you experience, EVERYTHING. Some children are desensitized to violence these days because of the excessive graphic scenes they see in video games, on television, and in movies these days. Most people purchase things from stores because of subconscious thoughts they have from advertisements or testimonials they were exposed to prior to reaching the store.
Another aspect of shaping our subconscious mind are the thoughts we keep and how we react to various situations. You may or may not have heard a cliché phrase that goes like so, “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react.” And that is a very true statement. Especially if you realize that one event can be interpreted various ways by different individuals. For instance, a base jumper, or someone who jumps off of tall buildings or cliffs or bridges, can experience a feeling of euphoria when free falling through the air. However, someone inexperienced and trying it for the first time might get a rush of cortisol, the stress horomone, flooding their body through the same process. Another example is how the presence of one particular person can annoy the heck out of one person, but make another person completely happy. That’s because it’s not really about the situation. How you handle things is very important and plays a huge role on your physiology.
The subconscious mind is always working in the background throughout your day and even when you are sleeping. It is trying to solve the problems that you have come up with using all of the information that you have taken in over your lifetime. So imagine having the world’s most powerful computer system and the world’s most brilliant scientists and operators at your disposal. And whenever you want to know something, you just take your problem to these individuals and you tell them your problem and either they use the computing system to give you an answer to your problem or they tell you how you can go about finding the answer. That is exactly what your brain is doing for you. There are three things that you have to take into consideration if you want your subconscious to work for you and not against you:
- One of the issues is that you have to define what the problem is. You have to have clear specific goals. If you don’t have goals, then your mind can’t come up with an answer. You don’t even know what you want to accomplish. The subconscious mind is triggered by clarity of definition and by decisiveness. You have to be clear on what your goals are. The clearer and decisive you are about what you want, the more able your subconscious mind will be in bringing what you need into your life.
- Another is that you have to be able to tap into this subconscious mind. This can also happen when you’re sleeping, but you have to realize when an answer was just presented to you. A lot of times we just wake up and we’re like “man, that was weird” I wonder what that even means. And then just go about our day, not giving it another thought. We can also use forms of meditation in order to remove us from this noisy world and allow us to tap into our true thoughts. Now for meditation, you might be thinking something like sit indian style on the floor with your fingertips touching and resting your hands on your knees. This is not the only way you can meditate. You just need uninterrupted silence and a comfortable position with your back erect. Honestly, you can probably lay across a couch and stare at the ceiling with your phone turned off (not on vibrate). But I’m no meditation expert so don’t quote me on that.
- You have to trust yourself when you come up with the idea. You likely have had multiple moments of creativity and insight before and you haven’t trusted yourself enough to follow through on an idea. For instance, have you ever seen a product and thought to yourself that you could make something better or ask “why don’t they offer something like this?” And then later down the road after you haven’t acted upon your idea, you see some big corporation or other individual who ends up developing the very idea that you once had. The difference between you and them would just be that they trusted themselves enough to follow through on their answer to a problem. There wasn’t a lot of inner chatter that talked them out of acting on an idea. That is a skill that you must develop if you want to get to whatever your definition of success or happiness is.
So, if what happens in your reality is shaped by your subconscious mind, then what shapes your subconscious? Everything around you. Everything that you take in through any of your senses shapes your subconscious. The type of television programing that you watch can influence your subconscious about violence or even sex. What are you listening to on the radio or as far as music? Whether a message is positive or negative, it will have some influence on you.
There is a famous quote by a French microbiologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, that says “fortune favors the prepared mind.” So, if you want to create your own luck, then make sure you’re putting in work behind the scenes in whatever area you want the luck to happen. If you’re a student, which we are all a student of something even if we are not formally in school, make sure that you are studying your subjects diligently. That way, when it’s time for you to be tested, luck is more favorably on your side.
To summarize, we’ve talked about how your brain is able to form new neural connections and allow you to acquire new skill through practice of your actions as well as your thoughts. Some of the things you want to do if you are to tap into the power of your subconscious are: you want to set clear and specific goals, incorporate some type of quiet time into your day, and trust in yourself.
The bottom line is that your reality is shaped by whatever beliefs and thoughts that you hold within your subconscious mind.