#108 - Understand the supercomputer under your Cranium
The brain has always been the primary vehicle of achievements and growth both in life and business. It is even more so in today’s intellectual economy driven by knowledge, → creativity and → innovation. If you want to be able to manage your mindset, it helps to understand something about what’s going on inside your head. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or neuro-scientist to be curious about the contents of your skull. The human brain is the most complex thing in the universe and you get to own one – how amazing is that?
Let me explain some of how it works. (Bear in mind that this is a very simple explanation. The reality is far more complex.) you have a computer in your head that controls everything you do. Your brain your cranium is the hardware – that’s the physical box. Your brain has all the power connections, wiring, storage, memory and processing power you need to function as a human being.
If your brain is the hardware, then your mind is the software. It’s the operating system that gathers, stores and manages information, using the massive processing resources of your brain. Your brain contains around 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, that make up your central nervous system. These neurons transmit and receive electro-chemical signals, which are basically your thoughts, emotions, actions and the automatic functions of your body. But your brain, despite being packed with 100 billion neurons, only weighs 3 lbs and is about the size of a cauliflower. It consumes 20% of your food sources.
Subconscious vs Conscious
Conscious mind - your conscious mind makes up less than 10% of the mind’s total operational power. Your conscious mind is responsible for:
• Gathering data
• Assessing and processing the data you’re collecting
• Finding patterns and makes comparisons
• Making decisions and gives orders
• Enabling you to respond thoughtfully to situations (rather than reacting in a knee-jerk way)
• Controlling your short-term memory
• When something is in your conscious mind, it’s deliberate and you are ‘aware’ of it.
Subconscious Mind - Your unconscious mind is immensely powerful.
• It runs most of the workings of your body – e.g. breathing, digestion, sleeping, heart rate, temperature control – all without you having to lift a finger (and it controls that too).
• It protects you by trying to maintain the status quo, which is why you sometimes feel uncomfortable when you are trying to make a change. Your mind wants to steer you back to what is familiar and therefor ‘safe’.
• It’s the seat of your emotions.
• It’s where your imagination and creativity stem from.
• It’s also where your habits are created and maintained
• Your subconscious mind obeys instructions from your conscious mind.
• It causes you to react automatically when something threatens you – you might run or freeze or as your fight or flight response kicks in.
• It stores and retrieves longer term memories.
when looking at self-talk, your unconscious mind isn’t rational. It doesn’t make judgements and if can’t distinguish between right or wrong, good or bad. Is simply accepts what it is told or shown as the truth, regardless of the veracity of the information. You then automatically think and feel and behave in a way that is consistent with that truth
So why is it important to understand how your mind works?
Because, ultimately, that knowledge gives you much more control over how to use the combined power of your conscious and unconscious minds to think in a more healthy, flexible, resilient and goal-supporting way.