“You know how they say we only use 10% of our brains? I think we only use 10% of our hearts.” -Wedding Crashers
I agree. Here are some tips on using the rest.
Doing actions with no effort
Sometimes when I’m driving somewhere and thinking deeply about something, I find I arrive at my destination without remembering how I got there. It feels as if I did it without even thinking about it consciously. This only seems to happen with place I’ve been regularly, like home or work.
We do other things automatically as well, like brush our teeth, take a shower, prepare common foods, etc. The interesting thing I’ve discovered is that we can put our minds in this “automatic” mode without the usual distraction of being lost in thought. It’s quite handy as it greatly lowers the perceived exertion of the action. And it’s kind of a kick
Let’s try it out!
- Pick a physical task that you do often. Food prep, hygiene or just walking somewhere.
- Set a deep intention by saying to yourself “I want to [do the task]“
- Relax your mind as if you are a spectator at a game.
- Let your body act of its own accord.
Did it work? Sweet. I know it’s a bit goofy. Here is where it gets helpful though!
Now repeat with a common physical task you dislike. Say, washing the dishes, folding laundry, making the bed, etc. Set the intention, relax and let your body move.
Personally, I’ve found this is a handy way to get minor annoying tasks done when I’m low on energy. With practice it can be expanded to more complex tasks and used to more easily enter flow states.
A similar technique can be used to very quickly, mostly accurately answer questions. In <2 seconds answer:
How many lights are in the room you’re in currently?
How many lights in your bedroom growing up?
Did you feel the number come up before the specific thoughts about each light? If so, you’re doing it: sending your unconscious a question and quickly getting just the final answer.
These gut-feel responses aren’t always exact. But if you take something that is difficult to know in the first place (“How many houses on my block?”) or personal (“Which piece of furniture do I like most in this room and why?”) they can be helpful and are, at minimum, quick.
Getting people’s advice without them there
Have you ever gone up to someone to ask a question, only to realize the answer just before they started speaking?
I believe this happens because, as we approach the person, we activate the parts of our brain that knows how that person will likely respond. The same effect can be created by imagining walking up to the person and guessing their response. This is particularly handy if the person isn’t available right now.
The CEO & the Workers
I like to think of the conscious mind as a CEO and the unconscious as the workers. Delegate, trust-but-verify, and connect regularly and you’ll be amazed what you can do and learn.
This post has some of my deepest/wackiest thinking so far. I would very much appreciate your feedback.