In several emails and most recently in email 26 and email 27, I
spoke about the need to offer incremental learning to the subconscious
mind. In this email, I will offer a simple example that demonstrates the
minds automatic desire to return to a path of least resistance (aka cow
path) and encourage you to look
at the process involved in creating a simple change.
- Imagine that your favorite chair has been sitting in a right corner of the room for quite some time.
- Imagine that you decide to reorganize your living space and move your chair to the left corner of the room.
For a period, most people will find that they automatically enter the
room and turn right, to where the chair used to be. Our bodies have
developed a cellular memory that compels us to move to the right and
this happens without conscious thought. Clearly, over time we have
developed numerous associations with the chair being in a particular
It takes a moment to register that the chair is not longer where we are accustomed to it being.
Once we become aware that the chair is not there we are reminded that it
has been moved. Only then do we consciously navigate to the new
It may take many instances of redirecting ourselves before we naturally
enter the room and turn left to settle comfortably in the chair.
Eventually we begin to build a pattern of turning left, without conscious thought, and think “ah-ha I have finally got it.”
Then the day comes when we enter the room, and without thinking, we
automatically turn right. This day comes when: we are feeling tired,
hungry, overwhelmed or out of sorts.
When this day comes our response needs to be “well, that’s ok. I
supposed that I have yet to fully associate with the new position of my
chair and my subconscious mind is simply still in learning mode.”
This simple chair example demonstrates the subconscious minds stubborn
but often lazy refusal to consider something new and improved.
I encourage you to try this simple exercise. Experiment and be curious about the process involved.
Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW