Sigmund Freud was onto something with his fascination with the subconscious mind. Although a lot of his theories may seem a bit far-fetched, they also hold some truth to them. The subconscious mind is, in fact, an incredibly important part of our lives. It holds the power to influence and improve our mood and health, overcome our bad habits, and achieve success in our personal and professional lives.
One phenomenon that sheds light on the power of our subconscious mind is the placebo effect. The most common examples of the placebo effect at play include various experiments in which the researchers gave participants treatment or medication that actually had no effect on the condition being treated; however, through the power of the participants’ beliefs and expectations that this treatment or medication would work, they did, in fact, experience relief from their ailments. This method can also be referred to as autosuggestion. If a person is presented with information that he or she truly believes in, such as that a specific treatment will be successful in relieving the physical or mental condition that is plaguing her, that suggestion then travels from the conscious to the subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind then makes it a reality. It is important to understand that this power can be used in our daily lives; the suggestions do not need to come from researchers or doctors—you can create your own suggestions and set your own expectations, and watch your subconscious mind work at making them a reality. Your subconscious mind will work on these goals by using the toolbox created by your conscious mind—your ideas, your knowledge, your experience, and your positive energy; so make sure not to let negative thoughts, fear and anxiety, or past failures take up any room in your success toolbox.
It is also crucial to remember that although the conscious mind may make suggestions to the subconscious mind, the latter may choose to resist these suggestions by making excuses or justifying old habits. One way to trick your subconscious mind into accepting the new change that you have decided to implement is by using a “double bind” (Neill & Stork, 2011). What this does is instead of giving your subconscious mind the choice between making the change or not making the change, it already presupposes that the change must be made, and the only options left are which way to make it happen. As an example, a person dealing with weight issues will no longer be confronted with the decision of whether or not to start a new diet; the conscious mind will send the directions to the subconscious mind that a diet must be started, and that a certain amount of weight must be lost—and the subconscious mind will only have the option to choose between two viable diets, each leading to the same desired outcome.
There is probably no greater way of programming our subconscious mind for success than visualization. After clearly defining our goals and desired success, we must be able to visualize ourselves already having achieved them, and they will become more and more palpable. We have all heard the old adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This advice postulates that if you dress as the successful person that you hope to be someday, you will get there faster. Many factors are at play here. First, when you put effort into dressing well and grooming yourself, you feel and look more confident. Second, those around you notice the care that you take to present yourself, and generalize those feelings towards you overall: if you put this much effort into presenting yourself, you must put the same effort into everything that you do. Additionally, your new confidence and positive energy will also be noticed by others, as people are drawn to these traits. It is not, however, only a matter of buying some expensive clothes and getting a new haircut. That is only the beginning, to get you to see yourself as the person that you want to be. Success will not, however, come from simply looking dapper. You must also be constantly adding to your success toolbox by gaining new knowledge every day, by reading, by listening to audio-books, by speaking with people that you admire and find interesting, or any other way that adds to your knowledge. Armed with a thorough understanding of what it is that you seek to accomplish in life, along with sound knowledge on the topic, innovative ideas, and persistence, you will be ready to put your positive energy into the universe and watch it work for you. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of exuding positive energy, and how much it can influence how others treat and react to you. One of the greatest, if not the greatest, asset that you can have in your professional life is your network and your professional connections. The people that you come across every day may be a few degrees of separation away from the person who offers you the opportunity that you have been dreaming of, introduces you to your future business partner, or finds you a great investment deal. By appearing knowledgeable, inspired, confident in yourself and your abilities, and ready for success, you have all the power to make these connections work in your favor. Being positive is only a matter of your mindset, and you can start by doing one simple thing—smile at everyone that you encounter in your daily life, and see just how many smiles you can get back!
Neill, K., Stork, S. (2011). Hypnotherapy: expanding health education. Health Education Monograph Series.