How to Build Your Subconscious


Build your subconscious; build your life.


The subconscious is the part of your mind that is outside of your awareness. It controls what you think (and how you think it), what you do (and how you do it), and what you say (and how you say it).

It is your personality. It is your character. It is your God.

Good thing there’s an extent to which you control it. You do not have complete control over it—if you did, you would do exactly what you wanted to do, in the way you wanted to do it, all the time. But in a certain context, you do control it.

Think of your subconscious like you would a Formula One car, and you are the team leader. That car determines how well your team does throughout the year, but you can build it to your own specifications. And if you come in last place like those Eastern European teams always do, then you can learn what you did wrong and rebuild for next year.

You don’t want to end up with an Eastern-European psychology. It’s gothic and pale, and you’ll greet your guy friends by kissing them on the lips. So here’s how to build your subconscious mind the Western way.

1. Figure out what you want
There’s no such thing as a “best” subconscious. A subconscious is as useful as it is built for what you want it to do. There is a best doctor subconscious, a best fiction-writer subconscious, a best salesman subconscious—but all these subconscious minds will be different. If you’re building a car, you can either give it high top speed or quick acceleration, but not both. It depends on what you want it to do.

The only bad way to build a subconscious is to have it do too many things at once, or nothing in particular. You cannot build a subconscious to be funny, and also build that same subconscious to get along with your mother-in-law. And if you build your subconscious to “like, be famous and stuff,” you will end up an Uber driver.

2. Focus
Once you know what you want, you need to direct what goes into your subconscious to get what you want. This is done by your conscious mind, which is you, the team leader. Your conscious mind is nothing more than what you’re aware of. It can only hold five to nine bits of information at once, which averages out to be simpler than a Nintendo. So if you can focus well enough to beat Mario Bros, then you can focus well enough to build your subconscious.

3. Fill your subconscious with good information
Part of what it means to focus is to learn all the time. Constantly. Forever. If you want to be a journalist, learn everything you can about writing, politics, psychology, and the world. Good information is out there, though probably not at journalism school. What is at journalism school, however, is other journalists. People are wealth. This is the only extent to which college is useful, but it’s an awesome extent.

4. Think in essentials
Filling your subconscious isn’t enough—you need to build it, after all. This entails grouping information together. Your subconscious is built well when similar bits of information are grouped together. What determines whether two pieces of information are similar? Their essentials. When you think in essentials, your subconscious will be much more useful—you’ll be able to retrieve the information you need easier and better.

Let’s say you’re building your subconscious to become a doctor. It would be more advantageous to group “syringe,” and all you know about it, with information on “medical equipment” as opposed to “Mexican beach jokes.”

5. Use uncomfortable feelings for growth
Your uncomfortable feelings are the parts of your car from last year that didn’t work. So you need to look into your uncomfortable feelings, most notably anxietyanger, and shame. Unpack them, see what’s in them, and learn from them. This is the only way you can free your mind of them, and so free your mind of obstacles. You’re never going to build a new fuel injector around an outdated fuel injector. Sure, that old fuel injector may have served you well for a while, but there are new goals this year, and so new specifications.

6. Take action
The best way to put information in your subconscious is by acting. Information is more than your perceptions, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings. Information is action; action is information. Thus, “learn by doing.”

Life is most difficult when we feel like we’re out of control. We all feel like this sometimes because, for the most part, we are out of control—but only in the short-term. In the long-term, if you know how to build your subconscious, you will be amazed by how much you are in control.

PsychologyMark Derian