An Introduction to Your Subconscious Mind: Three Ways to Partner With It

by Tricia Molloy

Why do you do the things you do and why don’t you do the things you should, without really thinking about it? The answer is your subconscious mind.

Turn on Your RASThe conscious mind is objective. It is where we perceive, think and decide. The subconscious mind is subjective. It records and retrieves information from all sources, including events, feelings and expectations. It controls our autonomic functions like breathing and digestion and our habits like brushing our teeth and driving a car.

The subconscious mind also plays a pivotal role in whether or not we achieve our goals. That’s because it stores beliefs about our capabilities, good or bad, true or false–from “I can’t manage money” to “I’m a good friend.” It is creative and intuitive and governed by emotions. It will accept everything you and often others tell it and seek out resources and proof that substantiate this reality.

Universal principles, like affirmations and visualization, support our success because they help us communicate with our powerful and often overlooked subconscious mind.

Our subconscious mind is most accessible and receptive when we are in a relaxed, peaceful state. Just before you fall asleep at night and as you begin to awaken in the morning are critical times to “feed” your subconscious with positive, uplifting messages. That’s why it’s best to skip the evening news right before bedtime and instead read an inspirational book or listen to soothing music. You can also reach that receptive state during the day by practicing meditation or spending time in quiet contemplation and gratitude.

Here are three ways to partner with your subconscious mind:

  1. Reflect. Before spontaneously reacting to the latest workplace challenge or request, take a moment (and a few deep breaths) and ask yourself what is your best course of action. You might find that wise voice inside advises you to clean off your desktop first so you’ll be more focused when you make those sales calls or that you should wait a day before responding to a vendor’s offer.
  2. Watch What You Say and See. Take on the role of a coach or your most supportive friend and feed your subconscious with positive, motivating messages. Each time you “hear” yourself saying something negative like “I won’t make any sales today” or “I’ll never get everything on my list done,” immediately counter it with positive self talk. Keep your affirmations brief and in the present. Share these messages with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to do the same. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially to your subconscious. When you visualize your goals, you make them more real.
  3. Turn on Your RAS. RAS stands for Reticular Activating System, which sounds like a new piece of exercise equipment. It’s actually the part of your brain that keeps an eye out for what’s most important to you. Our brains are bombarded by thousands of messages every second from all our senses. The RAS acts like a spam filter to decide which ones get through. It’s what helps you find the face of your child in a crowd at school or allows you to hear your name in a noisy room. It’s what happens when you decide to buy a red Honda and you start to notice every red Honda on the road and in advertising. It’s a problem-solving tool that works, when you work it. Simply set an intention–like wanting to become more savvy with social networking–and your RAS goes to work to find the resources you need. Your job is to trust in the process and stay aware.

If you found these tips from Tricia Molloy of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at


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