Napoleon Hill once said, “The reason man may become the master of his own destiny is because he has the power to influence his own subconscious mind.”
Your subconscious mind is a funny thing. On one hand, it wants the best for you. On the other, its definition of “the best” sometimes qualifies as self-sabotage.
You see, your brain’s on the same mission it’s been on since your ancestors were fighting off saber-toothed tigers and huddling in caves to stay warm; it wants to keep you as safe as possible - even if that means taking risks that could eventually foster your success.
Your subconscious mind doesn’t care if you spend your life in a comfort zone. It’s perfectly happy if you never challenge yourself, or say yes to that dream job in an exotic city, or make that investment your gut is telling you to make, or work out 4 times a week for that sizzling beach body.
To your well-meaning subconscious mind, all these pursuits are a threat to your safety - just like saber-toothed tigers. Here are some things your subconscious mind does to protect you - along with some ways to avoid these common mistakes so you can be more successful and stop fearing failure:
1. Your Brain Stops You From Questioning Your Own Beliefs
Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and noticed that almost everything you see is a reflection of your interests, beliefs and people you like?
Facebook has an algorithm to show you content that it thinks you’re going to like - and your subconscious mind does the same thing to your life by drawing you to opinions, people and places that match your own belief system.
The problem? It also blocks out anything it considers a threat to your comfortable worldview - which in turn, stops you from discovering alternate perspectives about life, work, love and everything that matters to you; keeping you trapped in a restrictive ‘Reality Bubble’.
Solution: Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with a variety of opinions and personalities, and stay open to evolving your own beliefs over time in a way that serves your higher needs.
2. Your Brain Makes You Lazy
You know what I’m talking about: Procrastination, jumping to conclusions, not finishing what you started, stereotyping people and situations without giving it much thought, etc.
There are many ways your brain takes sloppy shortcuts to try and save its computational power - but often at the expense of the greater good.
In trying to preserve its energy, your brain also robs you of the opportunity to maximize your productivity, learn new skills, understand others on a deeper level, and do work you can truly be proud of.
Solution: Create systems that encourage your subconscious mind to avoid shortcuts.
Reward yourself when you finish a book, for example, and practice daily rituals that prevent procrastination. As you keep doing this, your brain will build new neural pathways for your desired behavior, making it more and more effortless as time goes on.
3. Your Brain Will Blame Anyone But You
One of the hardest things in life is admitting you were wrong. Why?
Because this forces you to take an honest look at yourself, knock down your ego a few notches, and adjust your behavior or beliefs so you don’t make the same mistake again.
Your brain would rather not put in this effort, and would much prefer to point to another person, situation or outcome as the source of the mistake. Just so you can dust your hands off and say, “It wasn’t my fault!”
Solution: Constantly remind yourself that mistakes are normal and can even be healthy stepping stones towards a better you. Making a mistake doesn’t disempower you; what’s disempowering is when you handle that mistake in the wrong way.
4. Your Brain Traps You In Busywork
Life coach Brian Tracy often reminds people that the secret to maximum productivity is to start your day with your most challenging and impactful task. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, tries to make you do the opposite - which is to set aside the uncomfortable high-impact tasks in favor of the easy, but ultimately meaningless ones.
If you’ve ever found yourself putting off that crucial presentation or phone call until the end of the day, then you’ll know how easy it is for this to become a bad habit.
Solution: Keep thinking about that lingering sense of dread at the back of your mind, when you know you’ve still got that one big task to finish at the end of the day - and how much better you’d feel if it was already done.
Your subconscious mind’s a smart one, so you’re going to need deeper tools and strategies if you want to get it consistently working for you instead of against you…
And to do this, you must first identify what is blocking you from success. Success blockers can happen any time in life - some of them can even stem from limiting beliefs you had as a child. These limiting beliefs can be extremely damaging as they often poison your subconscious mind by developing negative, harmful habits.
Oh! And if you have any other tips on how to re-train your brain for success, please share them with our community in the box below! :)