What You Need to Know About Your Amazing Brain – Part I

by Stephen Mills on April 19, 2009

Brain Science

We are on the threshold of something truly great.  I’m so excited and optimistic about the possibilities of human potential.  Part of this is driven by the incredible progress being made in our understanding of the human brain.  Despite only beginning to understand the brain, the practical impact of these findings are going to be enormous.  The scientists have switched their focus from studying diseased brains to studying healthy brains.

Below I share some of these findings with you.  You need to know them.  They will impact your future in a big way.  You may know some of these already and in that case they should serve as a reminder to act on your knowledge.  You can choose to rise above the crowd by acting or you can choose to be left behind.  It is totally up to you.

The following facts are based upon science.  They have been discovered because of new machines and tools that allow scientists to directly observe the activity in a living brain.  They can watch what happens to your brain while they control your activities.

Many of the below relate to your non-conscious brain.  There are many others but I chose these because of how important they are to high achievement.

1 – The Human Brain is the Most Complex Entity in the Known Universe

Your brain is an organ of staggering complexity.  I love this stuff, don’t you too? Some of the numbers thrown around are unimaginably large.  For instance, one author claimed that the number of potential connections in the brain was a one followed by zeros for the length of six million miles!  I have found various other mind-boggling large numbers.  Whatever it turns out to be, it is so large that nobody will ever approach their maximum capacity.  It is for all practical purposes unlimited.

Here are some numbers you may be able to comprehend.  Your brain is believed to have approximately 100,000 miles of capillaries and it can grow more.  I’ve heard the same number for the whole body too.  Your brain has 100,000,000,000 cells.  It also has 100,000,000,000,000 to 500,000,000,000,000 connections between those cells.

What This Means to You:

No matter where you are at in your own brain development, you haven’t even begun to use a tiny fraction of 1% of your capacity.  WOW!  We can do anything! Never, ever stop learning.  Your brain will use everything you learn to make you master of your universe (more on this below).  It’s an upward spiral.  Get on that spiral and soar.

2 – Your Non-Conscious Thinking is 5 Times Stronger Than Your Conscious Thinking

This is an incredible discovery.  Your brain thinks in six different areas at the same time.  You have six parallel processes going on at once.  Only one of these is your conscious process.  It’s important to know that when I speak of the non-conscious brain, that I am not referring to those automatic functions being performed by your limbic system like your breathing or heart beat.  What I refer to as your non-conscious brain is a thinking brain.  It is 5/6 of your thinking power.  Actually it is more than that because of other reasons that we will get to later.

You should also know that these are different areas of your brain that are not accessible by your conscious mind.  You conscious mind doesn’t switch between these six processes.  You have a different set of neurons that comprise your conscious thinking and you cannot directly access your non-conscious thoughts.

What This Means to You:

You have a powerful friend or foe in your non-conscious brain.  It is 5/6 of your thinking power.  Learn to master the non-conscious part of your brain and you will have the key to unlocking a very bright future.  Because you cannot directly control or access your non-conscious brain, you have to work at some techniques that will help you control it.  The power of your non-conscious mind makes it a “no-brainer” decision to pay the price to achieve that control.

3- Your Non-Conscious Brain Sees, Hears, Smells, and Touches.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of subliminal pictures.  Your conscious mind cannot perceive a picture that lasts for less than about 1/50,000 of a second.  However it can be proven that your non-conscious mind does see it and does remembers it.  What’s even more incredible is that scientists monitoring your brain activity can tell what picture your non-conscious brain saw by observing the firing patterns in your brain when one of these pictures is flashed in front of you. They are conscious of what you saw even when you are not!  Oh my this is weird and also a little scary when we consider future implications.

What This Means to You:

This is very, very important.  Your non-conscious mind is aware of everything that is going on around you.  It is drinking in the world to a much higher degree than your conscious mind.  Just because you are not aware of it at the conscious level, does not mean that you are not thinking about out and reacting to it.

This is good in that your brain can process a lot more data without you consciously focusing on it.  However it has a down side.  If you think that shutting something out of your conscious mind or attention means it won’t affect you, you are  making a grave mistake.  Be very careful what you expose yourself to as far as external stimuli goes.  You are being affected for the good or for the bad in ways you have no conscious awareness of.  Turn off that damn TV!  Stop watching commercials and reading people magazine.

4 – Your Non-Conscious Brain Treats Everything as Real

Notice how when you are watching a scary movie, you actually get scared?  You react emotionally even though your conscious mind knows it is not real.  The same thing is true for happy or sad movies too.  That is because your non-conscious mind is watching the movie to and it does not have the ability to have the pictures it sees and the sounds it hears be tempered by your conscious knowledge that it is not real.

Burn this fact into your conscious brain: Your non-conscious mind believes everything it thinks, sees, hears, etc. is real.  It cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy or between the truth or a lie.

What This Means to You:

Whoa, is this a big one.  This is the power to do harm or good to yourself with exponential power.  You are sad after a sad movie because your non-conscious mind made you sad.  If you watch violent movies and play violent video games they do affect you.  Remember I said video games are good for your brain?  Well they do stimulate your brain, but be careful what you play.

The flip side of this is that you can lie to your non-conscious brain and it doesn’t know you are lying.  That is why you can visualize something your conscious mind believes you cannot achieve, and yet your non-conscious mind will continue to work at it anyway.  It doesn’t know the difference.  This is a key to your future.  Hold on to this key because it will unlock the door to the power you seek.

5 – Your Non-Conscious Brain Operates at Full Speed 24 X 7

When you go to sleep, scientist monitoring your brain can see one of the six lights go out.  But the other five keep on working.  They are like the Energizer bunny; they just keep going and going.

What This Means to You:

This is one of the reasons that your non-conscious brain is actually more then 5 times as powerful as your conscious brain.  It thinks when you are sleeping.  It thinks when you’re are awake.  It knows when you’ve been good or bad so be good for goodness sake.  OK, that was lame, but my non-conscious brain came up with it while I was writing this.

The abilities of you non-conscious mind are something you can use to powerful advantage, if you choose to learn how to do it.

6 – You Don’t Lose Your Memories

What actually happens is that you cannot recall them.  They are still there.  A very few rare individuals can actually access these memories with their conscious mind, but they are very rare.  It is miserable for them to live with their memories flooding into their conscious mind all the time.

Scientists can stimulate the brain with electricity and trigger the recall of these “lost” memories.  It is quite incredible what can be produced by this method.  Some people claim everything you have ever stored is still there in perfect form.  I don’t know about that, but it is quite clear that at least most of what you have ever learned and experienced is still stored in your brain.

Here is the real kicker however.  It appears that your non-conscious brain does have access to your entire memory bank.  Holy crap!  I don’t know about you, but that amazes me and gets me pumped up.

What This Means to You:

This means that you should drink in experience and knowledge like you are drinking from a fire hose.  Learn, learn, learn.  Even if your conscious mind loses access to that experience and knowledge, your non-conscious mind can use it.  This is one reason why you need to trust your intuition.  Your non-conscious brain is far more powerful and has access to far more information than your conscious brain.  Better information yields better decisions.  You still need down time but don’t worry about doing something you won’t use or do again.  Your non-conscious brain will use it.  Experience life.

7 – Your Non-Conscious Brain Sets Goals

You are not even aware of these goals and they can hamper or help you.  I thought this was strange but when I heard about an experiment it made sense.  Participants were frustrated for months afterwords and they did not know why.  It was because their non-conscious mind had set a goal that was impossible to achieve.

What This Means to You:

You must learn to control what your non-conscious mind is doing so that you can ensure that this incredibly powerful machine in your head will work for you and not against you.

8 – You Can Grow Your Brain

I addressed this in a recent article: Top 10 Ways To Grow Your Brain.  So here I just list the most important ways to grow your brain.

  1. Exercise
  2. Eat Blueberries
  3. Take Anti-depressant Drugs
  4. Learn, Learn, Learn
  5. Meditation
  6. Take Care of Your Brain
  7. Avoid Caffeine
  8. Avoid Stress
  9. Restrict Your Calories
  10. Take Ibuprofen

To Be Continued…

This article is getting too long.  I have more to say about this but I need to put it in another article.  I will eventually be sharing the techniques you can use to control your non-conscious mind, but it is important to get a background understanding of how it works first.  Great things await you and your amazing brain! Stay tuned…

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger | A Content Life April 19, 2009 at 9:06 am

Great post! I like the fact that you back up everything you say with science.

I liked your point #3. I think one downside is that the unconscious brain makes it hard to focus on the present moment because of the large amount of filtering it does.

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Mike King April 19, 2009 at 9:16 am

Love it and looking forward to the continuation of both this article, and the whole series. Awesome stuff!

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Robin Easton April 19, 2009 at 9:52 am

Hey Stephen! This is exciting stuff. I LOVE reading about things like this. I have known for many years, since living wild that we have a second brain. I found out purely from feeling it. Awhile back I learned that when I felt and knew in the rainforest does indeed exist and is called the Enteric Nervous System. Although you are writing about something a bit different. I find it all very exciting.

You were talking about memories “flooding into”. When I lived so remote and wild, when I let go all the social conditioning and was so far off the map living only with nature, the barriers toppled and I was able to access this “Non-Conscious” part of the brain and reunite it with the rest of my brain, the rest of ME. When this happened I was flooded with constant memories, day and night, for months. I didn’t want to stop it, no matter what came to light, but even had I wanted to stop it, I couldn’t have. It was then that I realized we only consciously use a tiny portion of our brains. I came to the conclusion that our brains are infinite in their reach and connect us to the Universe, to everything that exists and beyond. In this way we can access all information, healing, creativity, wisdom, and so forth. We are creating our world (the “dream”) as we go, turning energy into matter (which is still energy), but appearingly more “formed” energy. But from this place we can do this consciously, hence choose what we create.

I know this sounds hokey and whoo whoo, but I don’t at the moment have the better words for it. I also learned that my brain is not just in my head. It is a source of energy that not only pervades my whole body (I now think with my entire body) but it extends outward and is part of a much larger nervous system (or brain).

Please forgive my “mad scientist” ramblings here, but I could not contain myself. I was just at Jonathan’s site and then your page came next and now from reading you both and replying I am totally HIGH!!! LOL! WOW!! What a way to start my day. My two favs right off the bat! Thank you for inspiring me and drawing me out in such a remarkable way. :) )

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills April 19, 2009 at 10:02 am

Stephen, WOW, this is without a doubt one of the most interesting, compelling, and down right fascinating articles I have ever read. I am already looking forward to the next one – thank you!

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Jay Schryer April 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

This is some really great stuff! I especially love how you’ve blended the science with the practical application of the material. I think my favorite realization that came to me from reading this is that there are a lot of good, solid, scientific reasons for listening to your intuitions. I think that will help a lot of people (including myself) feel more comfortable with trusting their “gut feelings”. Thank you!

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Stephen Mills April 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

@Roger, Good morning and thanks for the comments. I think that is something you can practice. The more you practice being in the moment the easier it becomes. There is no free lunch with the brain. There is no quick fix. But with patience all good things will come.

@Mike, thanks for your comments once again.

@Jonathan, thanks for your kind words. It means a great deal to me to see this kind of reaction to something I wrote. :-)

@Jay, thanks for stopping by to chat. They have done some studies on the power of intuition and I need to review the latest again. But basically it turns out that despite what we may think, continuing to analyze something doesn’t usually yield better results. They’ve known this for a while, but now they can understand why.

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Stephen Mills April 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm

@Robin, Wonderful thoughts my friend! :-) ))

Your comments are so kind and inspiring! Your experience sounds wonderful and deeply spiritual. It is something I think we all need to experience; must experience. Maybe this is something that we can gain partial access to with meditation or some other form of higher conscious practice. I have only begun meditating recently and so I’m a rookie right now. While I would love to let myself go in the rain forest, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I am deeply awed by rain forests and I have not spent much time in them to this point. Just some small excursions. I need to go deep into one before it is too late – for the rain forests that is.

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Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com April 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Whoa!
I want to master the non-conscious part of my brain.
Resources please! ;)

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Dennis Dalton April 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Fascinating stuff! It makes me want to go back to univeristy and be a student again. The physiological basis of behaviour was my favorite topic in school, and now you’ve made me I miss it! Lots of things came into my mind while I read your post; Feng Shui, martial arts, meditation. These studies and more have their roots in non-consciouness I’m sure. Nice work.

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Miky April 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I really like that. Keep up the good stuff :)

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Michael April 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm

How fascinating! This is great stuff, Stephen.

The Human Brain is the Most Complex Entity in the Known Universe… We can do anything! Never, ever stop learning. Your brain will use everything you learn to make you master of your universe…

It’s mind boggling how advanced we are. I wrote a post last month entitled The Next Big Thing. In it, I argue that the only place for us to evolve from here is grow bigger hearts rather than bigger brains. I think your post confirms this.

I think the best way to make use of our brains is to start making better use of our hearts.

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Stephen Mills April 20, 2009 at 6:43 am

@Alik, They’re coming, I need to get it all organized first.

@Dennis, I know how you feel. I sometimes would like to go back to school too. For me that would be WAY back though :-)

@Miky, Thanks! I appreciate you stopping in to comment.

@Michael, thanks a lot! I think you have a good point there.

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Dragos Roua April 20, 2009 at 6:44 am

I’m fascinated by these articles. Several years ago I discovered that the brain cam actually be shaped and rewired and you don’t actually lose neurons for good as they used to believe. From that time till today I read everything that came in my hands about that and I’m still doing it. Thanks for sharing these, I found some very interesting gems here, like the fact that the non-conscious brain is setting goals of itself.

Keep those posts coming :-)

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Karl Staib - Work Happy Now April 20, 2009 at 7:50 am

Our brains are amazing organs. I like the fact that we can actually access every memory we’ve ever had. It seems a little much, but then again I’m constantly amazed by what our brains can do.

I’ve been trying to access more of my unconscious thinking through meditation. It’s an eye opening experience. A memory or feeling will pop up from years ago. When this happens I can process this emotion. 99% of the time it makes me feel better.

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Marc and Angel Hack Life April 20, 2009 at 9:31 am

The brain is powerful. Great insight here. ;-)

Stumbled.

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rosa April 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm

WOW, this makes me feel so good, this post just reminds me that we can do literally ANYTHING WE WANT, i love posts like this, can´t wait for the next one

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Marj Galangco ¦ thewayofmoney April 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Interesting info here, Stephen. Marvellous how the brain is very powerful and complex. It’s both exciting and sad how most of us haven’t been taught how to completely master this part of ourselves, or how to consciously use 100% of it.

Have you read “Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor? That was really interesting. Basically she had a stroke which damaged her brain’s left hemisphere. So the functions she was left with all had to do with the right hemisphere, forcing her to make do with only right-brain functionalities, which incidentally is all about BEING IN THE HERE AND NOW. Talk about forced enlightenment! You can watch a TED video where she shares her amazing experience by clicking here.

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Maja April 21, 2009 at 5:52 am

I am very interested in the topic you wrote about.
When would be your next article about the techniques we can use to control our non-conscious mind?
I can’t wait! :)
I like you site.
All the best,
Maja

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Giovanna April 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Hi Stephen,
It’s amazing to think about how much non-conscious mind is aware of everything that is going on around us. The informatione you provided is very interesting as well as informative.
Giovanna Garvia
Imperfect Action is better than no action

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Tracy April 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Wow, it’s amazing what our brains can do, isn’t it? I don’t have anything profound to add, just wanted to let you know I’m enjoying this series and thank you for writing it! My goal is to make my unconscious brain my friend!

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Stephen Mills April 24, 2009 at 8:29 am

@Dragos, That is the most exciting thing to me – that we can continue to grow new brain cells throughout life.

@Karl, meditation seems like the one thing everyone agrees on is a powerful path to your non-conscious mind.

@Marc and Angel, Thanks for your support!

@Maja, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

@Marj, no I had not read that book but I have looked at it before. I’ll get it now and add it to my ever growing pile of must reads! I’ve got the TED talk tab open now and will definitely watch it. I love those!

@Giovanna, hello! I’ve heard that there are a few rare people who can actually think about two things in their conscious mind at the same time. This is not multitasking put parallel. Maybe someday we will all learn how to access all six thinking areas at once in our conscious mind.

@Tracy, it never ceases to amaze me.

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Kaitlin Mills August 25, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Great info. I have read this information about the non conscious brain before but it always just passed over my head. Seeing this again has helped it click in now.
Thanks, though the huge headache that I have now is not so great.

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Ehsan December 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I seldom leave comments on blogs, unless it is of vital matter to me.
I agree for the most part, except with 8 – You Can Grow Your Brain.
More specifically, #’s 3 and 8.
Take Anti-depressants?!
Honestly, that is (pardon my language) ignorant (and by ignorant I denote ‘lacking knowledge of’ in a non-derogatory fashion) of one to say.
Unless of course it is meant ‘natural’ Anti-Depressants. If so, please disregard
my crude comment.
Anti-Depressants cause more harm than good, MUCH more harm than good.
I know this because I am a cognitive Neuroscience major.
Also, it has been proven, in the long-run, one will certainly experience
an imbalance of neurotransmitters. Causing dependence and
certain personally disorders (or personality changes, if you will).
This is a thorough, and nonetheless an informative and uplifting article.
Thank you and have a nice day!

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Chris September 6, 2011 at 4:15 am

It all makes sense’s ! ” you are what you say you are “….Nice intuition :)

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