When I mountain bike, I pick the line in front of me and then I look away, up the trail, to the next bit I’ll be covering. This is the trick all (still-living) mountain bikers use. By looking at the line, you give marching instructions to your subconscious mind — that precocious five-year-old that drives the motor processes of your body with astonishing precision. By tearing your eyes away and further up the trail, you get out of its way so it can do its job without interference.
It’s a good metaphor for being the in the world in general. The conscious mind, the part of you that feels like you, picks the experience you want to have, and the subconscious mind, the part of you that harbors about a gizillion subroutines for most everything, usually figures out the best, fastest, smartest way to get there, as long as you’ve made your request in a way that it understands.
There are lots and lots of ways to communicate with that smart five-year-old. One way that often makes it into Lifehack articles and Facebook memes is to make your bed every morning in order to send the subconscious the signal– and thus launch the subroutine — of discipline and industry.
Another way is to employ body language. Stand up like you’re Wonder Woman, with your hands on your hips, your chin up and your chest out, and you’ll feel empowered. People who do this before walking into job interviews perform better and come off as more confident in the interview. Which of course they are, due to having launched the confidence subroutine by way of body language.
This power is everywhere: in Loving Kindness Meditations, heart-centered breathing, 12-step programs, gratitude lists, yoga, and tithing, to name just a few. The trick, really, is to establish a ritual with a significant visual or kinesthetic component. This can be pragmatic, straight-laced and serious (“Yes sir! You can bounce a quarter off that bedspread!”) or gossamer, magical and light-hearted (“I made a vision board with fairies, unicorns and rainbows. To, you know, attract a Lexus IS300″*).
Despite the goofy, woo-woo overtones that comes with a system that embraces muscle testing, I’m very fond of PSYCH-K for how quickly and effectively it builds a communication and action link between the two minds. But, and here’s the point, far from being the only way, it’s one of many, many ways, one of many small, fun miracles that make being alive on this planet a little less mundane and often a little more fun.
If you have favorite subconscious-hacking tips, feel free leave them in the comments below. As a means of enticement, the person with the best pro-tip gets a glitter-covered puppy and a sparkle wand.
* Fairies and rainbows notwithstanding, taking action, and usually, making a car payment, is usually necessary in order to own a Lexus. Though once I feng shui’d the crap out of my living room and got both a brand new laptop and hefty bag full of designer clothes for my trouble, so who knows?
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