A couple of recent experiences inspire me to write about that wise – and quirky – adviser we have with us at all times, the unconscious mind.
The first came from reading that some business owners are hiring, but refusing to hire any applicant who is currently unemployed. I get dizzy trying to make sense of that policy. The only thing that clears my head a bit is my strong suspicion that the policy is carried out with no dialogue between the conscious, rational mind and the deeper unconscious mind that is our best guide to doing the “right thing.” If anyone can convince me that in 2011, the right thing to do is hiring only people who already have a job – well call, write or e-mail, and I promise to listen.
The second bit of inspiration came from David Brooks’ March 8 column in The New York Times. He writes about data emerging from researchers from many fields whose results remind us that the unconscious parts of the mind “are most of the mind, where many impressive feats of thinking take place.”
Brooks suggests that this body of scientific research is leading us to a different view of human capital.
“Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion.”
He lists these talents as: attunement, equipoise, metis, sympathy and limerence. Some of these terms are undoubtedly unfamiliar. You can read this column of David Brooks online for a brief explanation of each of these terms. Or read his new book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement.”
The talents being studied involve a deeper awareness and trust of the unconscious mind.
You are likely already tapping into your own unconscious mind in many ways. The more awareness you bring to that practice, the richer the benefit. One gift from my unconscious that I pay attention to is that nagging little voice that says I’ve forgotten something as I’m on the way to my car. This danged feeling is nearly 100 percent correct and I end up silently thanking my unconscious as I trudge back into the house to retrieve my cell phone, sunglasses or whatever.
We must quiet the yakking of the conscious mind (capable of designing an intricate piece of neurosurgery as well as being filled with inane ramblings) in order to access the deeper wisdom within.
Some people find that being in a natural environment helps open communication between the unconscious and conscious minds. The beach works wonderfully for me, especially during yoga.
Other routes to that sort of dialogue are meditation and hypnosis (with an experienced and certified guide).
I find that many people have a fear of their own unconscious mind, fantasizing a dark pit filled with demons. The scientific research that is bubbling about the world should put those fears to rest and encourage us to tap into our rich inner resources. We have the opportunity to learn and keep learning about who we truly are and how we want to live.
Your unconscious can become a great friend and co-counselor with your busy conscious mind.
By giving credence to the hunches, emotions, nudges – those gut feelings we all experience – each choice we make will fit better.
In your business life you make choices throughout each day. If you consult your rational mind and that deeper (and I believe more intelligent) unconscious mind, you will often end the day feeling and thinking “that was the right thing to do.”
What a nice way to begin your evening.