To understand the mind, we can divide it into two parts: conscious mind and sub-conscious mind. We use conscious mind when we knowingly think or do something. Some function like working of our heart is not under conscious control. It is the power of the sub-conscious mind that makes our heart beat about 72 times per minute regularly for up to 100 years.
Beliefs and your subconscious mind
Psychologists have found that we can consciously be aware of only 7+ 2 items at a time. But our sub-conscious mind can be aware of a large number of items at a time. For example, at any time, the sub-conscious is aware of many body functions including blood pressure, heart beats, body temperature, chemical balances, blood flow, taking care of emergencies, etc.
The subconscious mind is not under our conscious control. The sub-conscious mind functions on the basis of information stored in it. This is the basis of mind programming. Mind programming means that if we can put information in a person’s subconscious mind, then we can modify that person’s behavior.
The main difficulty is the conscious mind, which does not let us put information in the sub-conscious mind. Actually the conscious mind analyses the information, and discards all that it considers false or non-useful. For example, someone who is not confident, says to himself “I am confident”. The conscious mind analyses this sentence and decides that this sentence is false. And it does not put this information into the sub-conscious mind.
Power of Beliefs
A belief is an idea that we accept to be true. It can be a fact, a guiding principle, an opinion, or a faith in someone or something. We can have faith in our teacher or doctor, in the value of being honest or good, in the value of exercise for good health, in our ability to succeed, or in the value of reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
A belief can be conscious or subconscious. Conscious beliefs mean that we know that we believe something. Subconscious belief means that we do not even know that we believe something.
An example of subconscious belief is that we accept to be true what we see on the TV, what we hear on the radio, and what we read in the newspapers.
Beliefs are powerful. Here are a few examples that illustrate how beliefs affect performance.
Elephant and rope
When an elephant is a small baby elephant, it is tied with a big strong chain. It tries hard to escape from the chain, but it can not escape. As the elephant grows, the trainers replace the big strong chain by small rope. Surprisingly, the elephant still remains tied to the rope. It probably thinks “There is no point trying … I know … I have tried before and failed … I am tied with the rope … I can not escape”.
How some new world records were created
In the first half of this century, athletes and trainers believed that human body could not run a mile in 4 minutes. Then, in May 1954, one runner ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. In June of the same year, another person did it again. Since then, hundreds of people have run a mile in less than 4 minutes. It shows that the belief in impossibility was in the mind only.
In weight-lifting it was believed that 500 pounds was the limit for the human body. Many could lift 499, but none 500 or more. Then the trainers fooled a Soviet weight lifter Vasily Alexeev: the actual weight was 501.5 pounds but they told it was only 499. Vasily Alexeev lifted the weight. Once the belief was broken, many other weight-lifters were able to lift more than 500 pounds.
The magic of sugar tablets
The magic of sugar tablets (also called the placebo effect) is well known to the medical doctors. In some placebo studies, patients were given sugar tablets that contained no medicine. But they were told that they were getting some powerful medicine. Many people got cured by sugar tablets. They got well just by believing that they were getting some real medicine. This example shows how the mind affects your body.
Students get high marks because of teachers belief
In one study, educational researchers divided students of equal IQ into two groups. Teachers were told that one group had a high IQ and should get high marks. The other had a low IQ and should get low marks. What do you think was the result? The group which teachers expected to get high marks, really got high marks. The other group got low marks.