In this blog I delve into the mysteries of the subconscious mind and how we may be unintentionally self-sabotaging our business success.
You’ll learn about the RAS and confirmation bias and strategies for counteracting their effects, so that you can transform your negative thoughts and empower yourself with more positive beliefs that will enhance your confidence and self-belief.
#subconsciousmind #beliefs #negativeselftalk #confidence #coaching
The subconscious mind is a complex and fascinating beast and is capable of processing vast amounts of information, making complex decisions and forming opinions based on what we see, hear and experience in the world around us.
The human mind is hugely powerful and can be likened to an operating system found within a computer. However, much like with technology, it can come with its limitations and biases, which can affect and influence how we perceive and interpret information. One such bias I want to bring to your attention is the confirmation bias.
This is influenced by the Reticular Activating System (RAS), a network of neurons that runs between the brainstem and the thalamus. The RAS is responsible for regulating our levels of consciousness and mediates our behaviour by filtering out unnecessary information we receive from the world around us.
As the mind takes in hundreds of thousands of pieces of stimuli each day the RAS helps us focus on the most relevant information in our environment, so that we can focus on what we need to pay attention to and ignore the rest. For example, imagine for a moment you’re in a noisy cafe and you’re trying to have a conversation with your friend, your RAS will help you filter out the background noise so you can hear what your friend is saying.
Now you may be thinking this is really helpful for many situations and it can be, but it can also contribute to confirmation bias. You see the confirmation bias works based on a tendency to seek out and interpret information that supports our pre-existing beliefs and opinions, while ignoring evidence that contradicts them. This makes it harder for us to consider more positive and empowering perspectives and beliefs.
For example, you may have a client who is all ready to sign up to your coaching services then you get an email from them to say they’ve had an unexpected bill in and they need to wait a couple of weeks before they can invest in your services. At this moment your RAS might actively seek out evidence of other clients who said they would sign up and then didn’t, reinforcing the belief that this client doesn’t want to work with you after all, that you’re not good enough and that she has found a better coach.
This is all done while dismissing or ignoring information that has a more positive perspective i.e. she needs to pay a bill and will start in two weeks. This is when confirmation bias starts to create unfounded stories in our mind and dismiss information right in front of you. Your RAS is scanning evidence to support your long standing beliefs, many of which are negative and have been playing on repeat since your childhood years!
Confirmation bias can cause us problems as it can lead us to make decisions or hold onto beliefs based on incomplete, outdated or biased information, which makes it harder to filter out fact from fiction.
So now we know a bit about the RAS and confirmation bias, let’s explore some solutions to counteract the effects. Below are a few strategies that you can adopt…
1. Look at different types of evidence to support or dismiss your beliefs and challenge your assumptions about what you believe to be true so you can shift your perspective from perception to reality
2. Practice empathy and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider it from their perspective, even if you don’t have all the facts. This can help you be more open minded and less likely to dismiss alternative views and beliefs
3. Be aware of your own biases and be willing to change your own assumptions and beliefs. Consider how your own life experience and background might be influencing your perspective
4. Stay curious and ask questions when you come up against disempowering beliefs. Ask questions and challenge your perceptions. This can help you stay open minded and move stop you from overthinking
By being more aware of the potential effects of the RAS and confirmation bias, you’re in a much stronger position as you have the power to take the steps to shift your perspective. When you use these strategies it will help you transform your thoughts and empower you with better resources to navigate the external information and the beliefs you’re running on autopilot.
To receive support with creating more positive and empowering beliefs make sure to download my confidence guide and book in your free clarity call today to find out how my coaching services can help you.