Most of our learning happened as little children. Our subconscious mind was programmed between the age of 0–7 years. This was the time when we could make very little sense of what was happening to us. Our filters were not established and everything that we heard about ourselves was swallowed straight in, may be due to repetition by role models or due to emotions we attached to each experience.
As infants, we did not have language to process what was happening to us. We only knew, feels good and feels bad. That became the template for learning and to this day our emotions guide our behaviours. These emotions are a big part of our subconscious mind which was programmed in our growing years.
The subconscious mind is always listening. While the conscious mind screams in the foreground, the subconscious mind whispers in the background. It’s that powerful voice you cant ignore even if you wanted to.
Of all the information that we receive, everything is not available for future retrieval. There are two ways typically in which information is stored in our subconscious mind that makes it almost permanent. These are the ways through which associations are formed quickly and retrieval happens on demand.
- Repetition : Anything that is repeated over and over again becomes a part of our subconscious mind. When we repeat something it remains with us for time to come. That is how we remember language or mathematical tables. That is also the reason why a person who regularly studies with sufficient number of revisions performs better than a person who studies equal number of hours at one shot. Have you also noticed how real our distortions seem to us? If we lie repeatedly to ourselves, after a while whatever we have been saying appears to be true.
- Emotion : Anything that is told to ourselves with intense emotion stays in our subconscious mind. So, even if something is felt just once but with intense joy or grief, it will remain with us for time to come. That is why an episode that is emotionally charged is easy to recall even decades later while we might forget something that happened just this morning. The emotion intensifies the experience and engraves it in our mind.
Now that we are aware of this, what can we do with this information? Well, we can start working on our subconscious mind rather than the conscious one. This is where NLP scores over other mind-related theories as it directly speaks to the boss.
If we could consciously have fixed our problem we would have fixed it by now. If we haven’t, then may be need to try something else.