The Power of the Subconscious

I’ve written before about one of my favorite books, Arthur Koestler’s The Act of Creationand what it says about the subconscious mind being the key to scientific discovery, artistic expression, and other eureka moments.  Koestler describes a common process where those trying to solve a problem or create something new consciously wrestle with the ideas so much that they seep into the subconscious.  After some time away (sleeping, a vacation, a walk, other pursuits) the solution emerges from the subconscious into the conscious mind when least expected.

A friend was telling me recently about a similar observation Napoleon Hill made about those who write down and read or recite their goals regularly.  The goals, after being absorbed and repeated over and again, seep into the subconscious.  That’s when the real stuff happens.  The subconscious takes over, works on the goals, heightens your awareness to ideas and opportunities that move you towards them, and sends out a kind of invisible signal to the world that attracts people and things that assist you in the achievement of the goals.

This need not be interpreted as a mystical phenomenon.  How many times, after learning a new word, do you begin to notice that word everywhere?  How many times, after naming a child something unique, do you begin to hear that name regularly?  Once your subconscious has material to work with, it alters your perception and enables you to tune in to the things that best resonate with whatever is bouncing around in there.

This means that, whether or not you’re deliberately putting it to work, your subconscious mind is working.  What is it doing?  What problems is it solving?  What opportunities is it making you attuned to?  In what ways could you put it to work for you more effectively?