Three Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior

by Stephen Mills on January 1, 2012

Note from Stephen:  This is a guest article from Dr. Sean Sullivan.  Dr. Sullivan has a book and online course available called “The Mind Masters Silent Journey” which I am currently evaluating.  I will be writing a review of them when I’m finished.  The last part of this article is an excerpt from his material.

As a psychologist who spends his days focused on researching and teaching (and living) the characteristics of “peak performance,” studying the influence of the “unconscious” on our lives is a primary area of my work.

To properly honor with this year-end guest post I’m giving a nod to a most popular post from the beginning of this year. Not surprisingly, Stephen’s article Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior, and the 3 influences below in particular, attracted me…


People exposed to stories about moral indiscretion are twice as likely to choose cleaning products as gifts as those exposed to stories of moral virtue. It seems they feel the need to “clean up” (Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior).

Ring a bell about any holiday gifts you gave this year? I bet there are some funny stories out there. Leave me and Stephen a Comment if you have a good one!

The somewhat ironic-sounding trend of the unconscious part of our minds getting a lot of conscious attention in our best scientist’s labs lately seems only to be gaining momentum. Each passing year, cutting-edge science demonstrates with increasing clarity that our unconscious processes account for even more of our behavior than previously thought.

Beyond controlling all of the vital functions necessary to allow us to remain alive, for example, scientists are bringing to light new details of our unconscious world. These details suggest that the unconscious aspect of our lives is actually ushering real materiality into our lives…


“People ate 69% more jelly beans when all the colors were mixed together than when they were separated by colors.  Along the same lines, presenting 10 colors of M&Ms instead of 7, increased consumption 43%” (Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior).

Now, that’s a fairly literal example of the unconscious creating actual “materiality” in our lives (i.e. our bodies).

Thankfully, we can apply all this emerging knowledge to our advantage as well. By better understanding the unconscious mind we are also learning how we can make conscious decisions to prime our unconscious mind to behave in ways that benefit us. Take a look at the following example of how you can make use of the power of your unconscious mind by consciously priming it to grow your “material” life in ways that you desire…


Reading stories about money making will actually improve your performance on tasks where you can earn money” (Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior).

Simply acknowledging that we are being influenced by the stimuli we encounter each moment helps us recognize the importance of making conscious choices about how and where we focus our attention.

During my latest explorations while writing and creating The Mind Master Journey, I discovered my newest favorite examples of how our unconscious mind ushers materiality into our lives. It turns out that how much we influence the people we are in direct contact with is difficult to overstate.

It is now clear that our choices about exactly who we choose to spend our time with, and exactly how we spend that time, has a undeniable influence on our material lives.

The piece that follows comes directly from The Mind Masters Journey. It describes exactly how our relationships often have a significant impact on how long we live. The piece is a great reminder of how intertwined our lives are with others.

I hope the segment inspires you to honor the importance of your relationship to yourself and to your loved ones this holiday. It certainly does for me. From my family to yours, here’s to hearing, reading and most importantly, writing your own story of health, happiness and wealth in the New Year!

Where Your Inner and Outer Worlds Collide

Today, the view that your inner world is separate from your outer world, or that your inner world functions independently from the inner worlds of the people you are surrounded by, is as scientifically bunk as the notion that the earth is flat. Over the last several decades, our growing scientific understanding of the scope of influence that the invisible dialogue occurring within you has on your outer world has been complemented by an explosion in our scientific understanding of the impact of the invisible communications that occur between individuals and groups.

As it turns out, your story and your body, and other people’s stories and bodies, are so intertwined and interdependent that scientists have now identified and documented a broad range of physiologically based, empirically documented health benefits associated with the non-material transactions that occur in a type of relationship that researchers call an “empathic relationship.” An empathic relationship is a relationship in which at least one person in the relationship experiences and mirrors the emotional state of the other.

We now know that being involved in an empathic relationship provides a range of benefits to your body that extends way beyond simply “feeling good.” The value of an empathic relationship extends well beyond having a vital influence on your emotional development. Researchers have now demonstrated over and over that empathic relationships play a significant role in physical health improvements ranging from better immune function to shorter post-surgery hospital stays to a stronger response to placebos to fewer asthma attacks and even to experiencing a shorter average duration of the colds we catch.

The physical health impact of the non-material transactions that occur in any one of your relationships does not tell the whole story, though. It turns out that the web of relationships you maintain may be the most significant predictor of your future health. The social web that your inner world inhabits, and your outer world manifests, has a direct effect on the duration of the life of the cells that comprise your vital organs. Hopefully, it goes without saying that you require the health of your vital organs to live a long, healthy life!

Even if you experience a good deal of daily stress, having a network of people you can turn to for your emotional needs mitigates the risk of your stressful lifestyle. Conversely, if you don’t have a web of dependable people in your life (and in your head), the emotional stress can profoundly raise the likelihood of your death as compared with people who lead a calm life. Your social web is a vital aspect of your non-material story that determines the health of your materiality—the cells that comprise your body.

Dr. Sean Sullivan is a performance psychologist who teaches how to clearly see the details of your “inner world” by creating your own Mind Map. Dr. Sullivan has written and spoken for ESPN properties. His work has received endorsements from top performers including USA TODAY’s David Weiss and NFL Quarterback, Mark Sanchez.

The Mind Master’s Guided Journey is a 21-day online course that details step-by-step how to create a precise personal map of your “inner world” to follow to becoming an expert creating at whatever “outer life” you choose. “Once you can actually hear and see your “inner world” with clarity, you can’t help but to create and follow your own map that will lead you to the “outer life” you choose to live.” – Dr. Sean Sullivan


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Fevi January 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

This is really very inspiring and I think I have to share this to my friends too…Great job here!!
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Sean January 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Glad you liked it!
Sean´s last blog post ..Mind Master Blog Day 7: 
Working on Your SELF


Charlene January 5, 2012 at 2:16 am

You really a great job..Thanks for sharing I really inspire I need to share this to my friend also..
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Khriscia January 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

I hope this is a help for me for my family too…
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Shalani January 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Very nice article, I learn so much about influence of the “unconscious” on our behavior. I will love to share this with my family.
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ezragrant January 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Sean!!Thank you for letting us know about this post beause for sure, this is big help then…
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Sean January 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks for the kind words everyone.
Sean´s last blog post ..Mind Master Blog Day 7: 
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JennyGreyson January 13, 2012 at 1:19 am

I think “Unconscious Influences on Our Behavior” has take a big place in explaining the answer in every question runs on our mind..
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Sean January 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

There’s no doubt about it, Jenny. Although the source of influence is imperceptible by definition when it is “unconscious” to you, we do know of techniques that enable you to bring many of the unconscious influences on your life into your conscious awareness. There are also some techniques you can use to interact with your unconscious inner world in order to make changes to how your unconscious world will influence your future behavior and your future experience of life. I find all those tools fascinating and truly useful.
Sean´s last blog post ..Mind Master Blog Day 8: 
Working on Your SELF, Part 2


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Gail035 January 18, 2012 at 2:54 am

Why do sometimes even though you are aware of those things that can influence you, There still a times that you made it foremost.
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Evers January 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I learned alot from your post Sean. But do you also believe that tapping the potential of our unconscious mind can attract the forces that affect our surroundings?

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Sean January 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Good to hear, Evers. No doubt about it…our unconscious world has a real impact on how things turn out in our lives, even right down to our deeply rooted expectations. Our sometimes hard to identify beliefs about ourselves are constantly impacting how things turn out in our lives. But once we consciously define how we want to be in the world, and how we want to interact with and relate to our surroundings, we begin to experience real changes in how the world relates back to us. I love this work! 🙂
Sean´s last blog post ..Mind Master Blog Day 8: 
Working on Your SELF, Part 2


Pettina26 January 31, 2012 at 5:54 am

Consciousness in our environment is the best quality which we may acquire, but then we can’t control for some other time to missed it up.. Its brimg a huge help to inter-act with our environment.
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