We spend most of our time unconscious. We barely operate from our conscious mind. Do you remember your drive to work this morning? What about every spoonful of cereal you had for breakfast? Do you remember brushing your teeth?
These are things we do all the time. The neural pathways have been used enough that our subconscious is able to take control of these actions. While the above examples pose no issue to us, there are many instances at work and in life where our subconscious programming does more harm than good. You can read more about that in this post. To avoid these issues, you need to be conscious.
A conscious use of self is being aware and awake. People who are conscious know they possess subconscious programming and how it’s triggered. They work to respond to those triggers and prevent them from occurring.
We are currently working with a company in Silicon Valley with a team of retiring executives. The people who are set to take control of the company showed up to one of our meetings with a large list of things the retiring executives did wrong. They felt that they were recipients of the executives’ poor planning, bad behavior, and lack of clarity. We asked if they had ever communicated their issues to their bosses. Their jaws dropped. “That’s not our responsibility.” One person insisted. “They need to be better.” The others all nodded in agreement.
What’s the problem here?
The problem is these people weren’t communicating what they needed. They weren’t explaining what their triggers were or what made them less productive or what was causing them to feel burnt out. They weren’t responding. They were reacting. People who react are often fighting, defending, complaining, and justifying when they are triggered. They don’t realize they have a problem. People who respond focus on recognizing and fixing the issue. They simply expected their executives to see the problem and take the necessary action. You can’t expect your boss to read your mind. If you have a problem, communicate with them. A conscious use of self involves understanding and communicating what you need to be happy and effective. If you’re the executive, you need to work with your employees to get them to understand themselves so that they can tell you what they need. Self-Awareness is key. If that’s something you struggle with, check out our course to retrain your brain and develop high levels of self-awareness so that you understand what your triggers are and how to control them.
It’s time to wake up. The first step towards being conscious is being aware that you aren’t. Take the time to analyze your behavior. What triggers you? What subconscious behavior is holding you back?
Once you know that, you need to start responding to these things rather than reacting. That is the essence of being conscious. That is the change you must make to have a conscious use of self.
There are three things needed for change:
1. Time – Different amounts are needed depending on the person, but any change takes time. Don’t rush. If you put in the time, change will happen.
2. Recurrence – Discipline is a must. If you’re not consistently practicing something, you won’t get better at it. To be conscious, you must be able to recognize your subconscious behaviors and triggers and snap yourself out of them. Focus on being present and developing new neural pathways. Develop habits. Practice meditation or yoga. Keep a journal of your moods and feelings. Take a walk in a forest, on a beach, or down the street. Understand the best way to approach it for yourself. If you’re disciplined, the change will come.
3. Environment – Being in an environment that supports learning and growing is crucial. Surround yourself with people who are striving to be conscious as well. It is hard working alone to adjust your behavior. We need to be around like-minded people. Take blue zones as an example. They are areas of the world where people consistently top the age of 100. Part of the reason for that is that the people living there support and promote behaviors that lead to better aging. This behavior rubs off on others, leading to communities of like-minded people who all age extraordinarily well. Environment matters. If you want to be conscious, live and work in an environment that promotes it.
A conscious use of self goes beyond individuals too. The health of an organization comes before success and achievement. If people are in a conscious use of self, the organization and the people within it thrive.
Here's to conscious living,
The Keen Alignment Team
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