Which is in control… Conscious and Subconscious?

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Since I was the first, and only, in my immediate family to escape a life of poverty, I’m often asked what makes me different than my family members who still struggle.  Though I can’t narrow it down to only one thing, this is one thing that made a difference. It has to do with how a person primes his or her brain to help achieve his or her goals.


Transcript of Video:

Amiee Mueller:        I can at least share with you guys some of the how’s of thinking differently, and how that can affect your outcomes positively. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. My guess is that I’m not the only one here who feels a little different sometimes. Have any of you ever been talking to family and friends and you feel like they just don’t see some of the things that you see?

Audience:                  Yeah.

Amiee Mueller:        When we go through some stuff today, you’re going to hear some things that you probably go, “Oh, that might be why that’s happening.” Let’s talk about neuroscience, because this is where it’s all based. When I started studying neuroscience and mindset, that’s where I think I can start explaining some of the how tos of thinking and how it affects you guys. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, and the nervous system is the system in the body that coordinates all the intentional and involuntary actions. By the way, it also, as you see, transmits signals between different parts of the body. If you guys were to guess, what do you think is the main body part involved with the nervous system?

Audience:                  Brain.

Amiee Mueller:        The brain! Exactly! It’s funny because it’s not general knowledge. Why isn’t neuroscience general knowledge? I don’t know. It’s so important, right? To understand how the brain works, but probably mostly because it’s only been about a decade now that they’ve really used imaging in studies. They used to do all sorts of psychological studies, but it’s only been about the last ten years that they’ve actually brought people in and they activate different parts of the brain like memory or creativity or whatever it is. They’re actually hooked up to monitors so they can see what’s going on in the brain as these things are going on. The last ten years has actually brought a lot of new information. It’s prolific, which is what I’ve been studying; it’s really exciting stuff.

As you can see up here, there’s two types of actions controlled by the brain. What are they? Intentional. Involuntary. Here’s how you want to think about it today so you understand what we go through. Intentional is the conscious side; involuntary is the subconscious side. If you want to look at it like a computer, it makes it really easy to understand. Your conscious is like the computer screen; what you’re aware of that’s going on, what you can see. That’s the conscious part. The subconscious is like the rest of the computer, because can’t we be working on a computer and we’ve got something on the screen, but there’s also stuff going on in the computer, it’s processing, that’s not really showing on screen, right? That’s exactly how it works with you guys, too. Your conscious is like the screen, but your subconscious is like the computer that’s still processing behind the scenes, even though you’re not totally aware of what’s going on.

Let’s talk about some examples. Consciously: You consciously raise your hand. You’ll consciously answer my questions. You’ll consciously high-five your neighbor and say, “You are so good looking.” Why don’t we do that right now for practice? High-five your neighbor and say, “You are so good looking.” (crowd chatter) … That’s right. You’re still doing it. You’re like, ” I’m high-fiving every neighbor. You’re all good looking!” Oh, you are, too! (high-fives audience member) Thank you, good job! That’s a front row person right there. Proximity is power, John Vroman would say.

Those are conscious choices. Can you guys tell me what you already know are some of the involuntary things your brain does for you? (crowd chatter) Breathing, heart rate. (Crowd chatter) Exactly. When you get hot, your body tries to sweat to cool you down, right? You guys understand that. Let me ask you this: Are there things that could be either conscious or subconscious? Absolutely, because breathing is a good example, right? You don’t have to think about it; you’re still going to do it. Can we consciously control our breathing? Absolutely. You’ve been hearing that for – John Vroman mentioned it, Jeremy Reisig mentioned it. You’ll hear it from me again later, but you can choose to breath more deeply, more slowly, whatever. Some things can be both. The thing you need to understand, too, if you didn’t already know this, is that thinking can also be both.

Here’s the thing: What do you guys think is the body part in control of what you see?

Audience:   Brain.

Amiee Mueller:        What do you think most people would think is the body part in control of what you see? Your eyes, right? Have any of you had the experience where you go to look for something, whether it’s sunglasses or keys or phone charger, and you look in your bag first and it’s not there, right? You go over and you look in your room and you look around and it’s not in your room. You look on your desk and it’s not on your desk. You go look in your car and it’s not your car. You look in your sibling or roommate’s room because they probably borrowed it again, only it’s not there either, right? You go back to the bag where you started and look again and there it is. Anybody ever done that? Me, too. Studies show – This is amazing to me. Studies show that there are millions of pieces of information in our surroundings every second. Millions of pieces in our surroundings every second. How much gets through? How much do we perceive? About 40 bits a second. That’s still a lot, but it’s not millions. 40 compared to millions – I think the number was 11 million, by the way, but I just put millions. The question is: What controls what gets through? The answer is: Your subconscious. Your subconscious controls what gets through.

Have any of you ever seen the FedEx logo before? Either on the truck or the storefront or you see it on TV or the box or you saw Cast Away, the movie, but you’ve seen the FedEx logo. How many do you think you’ve seen the FedEx logo at least ten or 20 times in your life? Okay. Anybody think they’ve seen it more than that probably? Okay. Without saying it – Don’t say it out loud, because not everybody is going to know the answer. Who can tell me, just by raise of hands, where the arrow is in the FedEx logo? Now I know everybody probably know the arrow in the Amazon; A-Z, a little smiley face. Some of you can, but the rest of you in the room have seen it more than 20 times in your life and you don’t know where the arrow is, right? There’s the FedEx logo. Do you see the arrow? How many see it now? (Crowd chatter) Some of you? (Laughs) That’s not holding up that many hands. Does anybody need me to point it out?

Audience:        Yeah.

Amiee Mueller:        Between the E and the X, the white space that creates the little (crowd chatter) … You’re like, “Ooh! There it is!” (Crowd chatter) Okay, the reason, by the way, this is going to be key to what we talk about, but the reason – And by the way, when I was shown this and asked the same question, I had never seen the arrow before either. It wasn’t until they were like, “There’s an arrow,” and then they popped it up and I was like, “Oh! There’s an arrow!” Right? I had no idea. It’s because a lot of times it depends on how your subconscious or your brain is primed that affects that filter as far as what gets through. 98% of brain activity is happening below conscious awareness. That’s a crazy number. Here’s the question: If you consciously choose your goals and your dreams, but 98% of brain activity is below conscious awareness and your subconscious is the filer that determines what gets through from your environment, can you see why we want to train our subconscious to be on board with our goals, our conscious goals, so that we are more likely to achieve them?


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