Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes?
Most people keep making the same mistakes and getting the results they don’t want in life. The question is: Why does that keep happening to intelligent high functioning people? Well, my fascination with this topic has led me to do a lot of research and here is what I have found…
Everyone has a conscious and a subconscious mind. The conscious mind kicks in when you are learning something new, having an engaging conversation with a stranger, or driving somewhere for the first time for instance. This is the part of the mind that we are acutely aware of, and it is thought to control about 5% of our total functional capacity.
The other part of the mind is the subconscious mind which was Sigmund Freud’s ground breaking discovery. He discovered that the subconscious mind was situated just below the level of awareness for each individual, and actually controlled about 95% of each person’s functional capacity. The subconscious mind is also responsible for performing all the essential bodily functions… you know, the things that you do without thinking too much about – Breathing, your heart pumping blood through your body, processing the images that are detected by your eyes into meaningful information etc. Interestingly, the process of really mastering a skill such as playing a musical instrument, learning a new language, or touch typing is actually a process of delegating specific movements and/or behaviors to the subconscious mind. This is why people who touch type can type really fast while talking to other people. It is also why really good guitar players can play effortlessly while singing a tune without looking at the fretboard. The caveat is that what seems effortless to them isn’t really effortless at all. The “secret” (which really isn’t a secret at all), it that these guys and girls who have become experts have spent a monumental amount of time delegating these skills to the subconscious mind.
You might be wondering what the mechanism for influencing your subconscious mind is. Well the subconscious mind can be looked at as a sort of animal mind. It doesn’t respond well to logic at all which is why many smart logical folks can’t seem to get through to it. On the contrary, it is very good at understanding repetitive behaviors, images, and emotion. The subconscious mind will respond well to images that you see in your conscious mind, that are well mixed with emotion, and that are repeated ad nauseam. It will also become very good at mastering skills which you do very frequently. This is why all our teachers, parents and mentors really emphasize the importance of practice when trying to get better at a particular skill.
So if you want to get better at a particular skill or area of your life, spend a ton of time practicing it if it is a skill, and frequently visualize what it would look like when you have mastered it.
Oyolu B.C. Ph.D.