07/06/2013 02:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What If Our Big Brain Isn't That Different

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

In her powerful TEDTalk, Louise Leakey shares that we are big brained, upright and walking hominids. It's that big brain that differentiates us from our homo erectus brothers, including the chimpanzee and great apes.

Our human conscious mind is the largest contributing factor to our big brains. This is where our logical analysis, thoughts and behaviors are accomplished.

Our unconscious mind has been portrayed as the dark place where our inner animal still lived, where our lizard brain lurked. Indeed, traditional psychology and coaching have focused on managing our unconscious mind with the power of our conscious selves.

Are We Really Conscious?

Leakey's father once said, "We are the only species that makes conscious bad choices." But are those choices really conscious? I'm not so sure anymore.

Neuroscience is discovering powerful insights into our minds. From the way we filter and select the data that represents our world, to the way we respond to that data, what we call reality.

These discoveries suggest that we aren't as conscious as we've been led to believe.

We're learning that our unconscious minds are much more powerful and have more control than we thought possible. For example, we've discovered that our unconscious mindware programs drive up to 95 percent of our behaviors and beliefs. Read that again... it's a very important concept.

Our unconscious can and does act as the master of our conscious minds in certain circumstances. Did you know that it's our unconscious mind that processes and filters all of the sensory data we take in during every second of every day?

It gets even better. As part of that unconscious process, we demonstrate quantum theory up, close and personal.

Our Quantum Minds

We're discovering that our unconscious minds are the perfect quantum machine. Here's why.

Quantum mechanics theorizes that at any point in time we have multiple potential streams of reality in our path. We each select one of those realities as our own and act upon it.

Guess what? Quantum biologists have discovered that's exactly how our unconscious minds work.

Our unconscious minds take in over 11,000,000 bits/second of sensory data. We then select a tiny amount of information from that enormous stream, approximately 126 bits/second. (That's .00001222 of the total information for you math lovers.) The selected information is then passed to our conscious minds for processing, analysis and response.

The data our unconscious mind selects to pass along is the basis of what we perceive as our reality.

So much for that big bad conscious brain.

Defined by Our Unconscious

Our reality is defined by a data filtering and selection process that's managed by our unconscious mind. As you can imagine, it's a complex process. But here it is in a nutshell.

Our unconscious mind selects the data that forms our specific reality based upon:

  • Our focus and attention at any point in time,
  • Our expectations for our reality, associated with that point in time,
  • Our instinctual mindware programs. These include our survival and herd instincts, programming to look for the problem/threat, preference for repetitive patterns, status quo bias and more.
  • Our personal mindware programs. We each define these programs based on specific experiences and lessons in life. We now know that we can and do continue to create these programs throughout our life.

Basically, our unconscious mind selects our unique reality based on what we think about.

We really are what we think.

The Bottom Line

I think the implications of the above discovery are revolutionary. Why?

We are conscious beings at some levels. We're also very much unconscious beings. Our powerful unconscious minds define our reality, even as they direct the majority of our behaviors and beliefs.

Using modern neuroscience practices, we can literally rewrite the unconscious programs that direct our behaviors, beliefs, reality and our highly touted Big Brain. We can change the reality that we give to our conscious mind for action. We can change our lives and our reality.

I know that we humans are on the cusp of stepping into the ultimate potential of our conscious minds. What's ironic is that we can and will get there by harnessing the power of our unconscious selves.

For more information on the 'Quantum Mind' concept, see Rebel Brown's post here.

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