This column is by leadership & startup consultant Benjamin Hardy
“Your subconscious mind works continuously, while you are awake, and while you sleep.” — Napoleon Hill
Your subconscious never rests and is always on duty because it controls your heartbeat, blood circulation, and digestion. It controls all the vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answers to all your problems.
What happens on your subconscious level influences what happens on your conscious level. In other words, what goes on internally, even unconsciously, eventually becomes your reality. As Hill further states, “The subconscious mind will translate into its physical equivalent, by the most direct and practical method available.”
Consequently, your goal is to direct your subconscious mind to create the outcomes you seek. Additionally, you want to tap into your subconscious mind to unlock connections and solutions to your problems and projects.
Here’s a simple routine to get started:
Ten minutes before going to sleep:
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” — Thomas Edison
It’s common practice for many of the world’s most successful people to intentionally direct the workings of their subconscious mind while they’re sleeping.
Take a few moments before you go to bed to meditate on and write down the things you’re trying to accomplish.
Ask yourself loads of questions related to that thing. In Edison’s words, make some “requests.” Write those questions and thoughts down on paper. The more specific the questions, the more clear will be your answers.
While you’re sleeping, your subconscious mind will get to work on those things.
Ten minutes after waking up:
Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while you slept, making contextual and temporal connections. Creativity, after all, is making connections between different parts of the brain.
In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, Josh Waitzkin, former chess prodigy and tai chi world champion, explains his morning routine to tap into the subconscious breakthroughs and connections experienced while he was sleeping.
Unlike 80 percent of people between the ages of 18–44 who check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up, Waitzkin goes to a quiet place, does some meditation and grabs his journal.
In his journal, he thought-dumps for several minutes. Thus, rather than focusing on input like most people who check their notifications, Waitzkin’s focus is on output. This is how he taps into his higher realms of clarity, learning, and creativity — what he calls, “crystallized intelligence.”
If you’re not an experienced journal writer, the idea of “thought-dumping” may be hard to implement. In my experience, it’s good to loosely direct your thought-dumping toward your goals.
Consider the “requests” you made of your subconscious just before going to bed. You asked yourself loads of questions. You thought about and wrote down the things you’re trying to accomplish.
Now, first thing in the morning, when your creative brain is most attuned, after its subconscious workout while you slept, start writing down whatever comes to mind about those things.
I often get ideas for articles I’m going to write while doing these thought-dumps. I get ideas about how I can be a better husband and father to my three foster children. I get clarity about the goals I believe I should be pursuing. I get insights about people I need to connect with, or how I can improve my current relationships.
To be sure, you’ll need to practice this skill. It may take several attempts before you become proficient. But with consistency, you can become fluent and automatic at achieving creative and intuitive bursts.
“A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.” — James Allen
Mental creation always precedes physical creation. Before a building is physically constructed, there’s a blueprint.
Your thoughts are the blueprint of the life you are building one day at a time.When you learn to channel your thinking — both consciously and subconsciously — you create the conditions that make the achievement of your goals inevitable.
You are the designer of your destiny. This simple routine will help you crystallize where you want to go, and how you will get there.
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