How your unconscious mind works

How we learn and how we recall information is all a function of our unconscious mind. You see, our unconscious minds are like a huge, dis-organised library, with memories, information, feelings and all sorts of experiences littered around. There is some poor, overworked librarian running around working to retrieve information at the right time for you, and sometimes she (well, mine is a she) doesn’t always come up with the goods. The solution? Sack your unconscious mind librarian of course! No. The solution is to understand your unconscious mind. Because when you do, it will make learning, recalling information and life in general SO much easier.

Why understand my unconscious mind? unconscious mind 2

Because it will make learning, recalling information and life in general SO much easier. I just said that! And it’s so much more than that. Your unconscious mind is a powerful tool. Imagine having control over one of your greatest assets. Because the more control you have, the better control you have over the environment around you. Let’s look at my favourite three top things your unconscious mind does for you, and how you can use these attributes to your advantage.

Memory Storage and Organisation

Your unconscious mind stores ALL your memories. Yes, everything is there. And it stores it in two ways:

  • Temporal (in relationship to time)
  • Extemporal (not in relationship to time)

This is why some things feel like they happened a long time ago when really they were recent and vice versa. And some things you have no idea when they happened. Although, when you think about your life as one big, long timeline with your future stretching out in one direction, and your past in another, your memory stores significant events as “gestalts” – and they will be like little bumps on your timeline. Some of these will be positive, some negative. If there are any unresolved emotions or memories, the unconscious mind will choose a time for you to resolve them (or not). This is why you might suddenly feel emotional but not know why. Your unconscious mind is helping you resolve something by either repressing a memory (you are not ready to resolve it) or presenting it (yep, time to make them rational, resolve and release). It doesn’t always pick the most convenient times… So, when things do come up, simply check in. What is my unconscious mind trying to tell me? What do I need to resolve?

Preservation of the Body

We don’t see everything in our world. At every second there are billions of bits of information available for us to take in. The unconscious mind uses filters to decide what we need to take in. While there are a number of filters (and we’ll go into them in a separate blog), the unconscious mind’s most important task is to keep you safe. A trainer of mine once told a story about how she couldn’t find her earrings. She looked everywhere, including the pocket of her handbag, where she swore she left them last. As she was searching the house madly, she stopped and checked in. She knew that the earrings were a bit hard on her ears and they were getting sore. But she loved to wear them as they looked amazing and she felt so good in them. So, she sat down and had a chat with her unconscious mind: “okay, I know they are hurting my ears, but I love them and I promise to take them out as soon as I get home and look after my ears” (or something like that). She then went back to the pocket of her handbag and there they were. Her unconscious mind had chosen for her NOT to see her earrings because it was trying to keep her safe.

So, next time you are looking for that lost item and it doesn’t seem to be ANYWHERE, check in. What’s going on? What could you be inadvertently protecting yourself from? I love this one as it totally explains why it took the good part of the day to find my passport before I flew to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Trail…

Enjoys serving

Yes! Your unconscious mind exists ONLY to help you and assist you in getting ANYTHING you want. The problem is, it’s very literal. I like to think of my unconscious mind as a caring, loving five year old child with the best intentions just rubbish execution at times. You see, your unconscious mind cannot process a negative. So, when you tell a child: “don’t slam the door”, what normally happens? Yes! All the child hears is “slam the door!” And the same thing goes for telling your unconscious mind what you want. Thinking things like “I don’t want to be fat”, “I don’t want to be tired”, “I don’t want to be broke”… Guess what your unconscious mind it doing? Acting on your directions! So, make it really simple. Be really clear about what it is you want and put it into positive language. Remember, perception is projection – believe something, and your unconscious mind will start finding evidence that it’s true. And it’s great at finding evidence, so for goodness’ sake, make sure you’re thinking about awesome stuff!

If you want to learn more about these attributes and the many others that exist, research Prime Directives of the Unconscious Mind. Google, research, learn, implement, share! And let me know how you go. I’d love to share your learning journey.


  1. […] to find it easier to say what they don’t want, rather than what they DO want. Remember, the unconscious mind cannot process a negative. So, while it might be very easy to say “I don’t want my next […]