More mental signal, less mental noise

More mental signal, less mental noise

Some days, your mind is clear, sharp, focused and effective. You breeze through your tasks with a smile, as if you had all the time and energy in the world.

You even relax in a focused, effective way.

Other days, your mind is foggy, distracted and undisciplined. You keep having to guide your attention back to whatever’s in front of you. Even the simplest tasks suddenly seem five times more complex.

Some days, your mind is all signal. Others, it’s lost to the noise.

You don’t have to leave it to the whims of chance, though.

You can take control of how strong your mind is.

Consider the cocktail party effect:

The idea is simple and relatable enough. You’re having a conversation somewhere with a lot of background noise, like a cocktail party. Even if the person you’re speaking to isn’t the loudest voice, you can still hear them by paying attention to what they say. When you do this, other noise fades from your awareness.

But your mind doesn’t delete the noise. If someone mentions your name, that sound jumps into conscious awareness.

So even though you’re not paying attention to the other conversations, your unconscious is.

And it’s automatically sorting relevant from irrelevant, interesting from uninteresting, valuable from useless.

Your brain processes millions of sensory channels at once. ‘Touch’ isn’t one sense – every part of your skin can sense pressure, texture, temperature and pain. As the cocktail party example shows, hearing isn’t one channel either.

Your brain processes every scrap of data it receives.

But you only become aware of what gets promoted to your awareness.

But how does your mind know what’s signal and what’s noise?

Part of it is instinct. A lion’s roar would get your attention on a deep, genetic level for obvious reasons.

What about a gunshot – something our ancestors never heard, therefore never evolved to prioritise? You learn early on that it means ‘danger’… and the old instincts on how to respond to danger are still strong.

But it’s not all scanning for threats. Someone saying your name at a party is (probably) not a threat to your life.

Your unconscious learns what’s important to you. You’re training it every day by what you do, think and pay attention to.

Which is why it’s so important to deliberately train your mind, too. If you stumble through each day without ever seizing the mental initiative, you learn whatever your environment teaches you.

And society is full of bad influences.

Everything from sociopaths to emotionally manipulative family members to ads from malicious corporations.

And more subtle stuff, like the news telling you the world is only full of death and fear. Or social media saying everyone’s life is better than yours.

Most people don’t pay attention to what they’re teaching themselves to promote from noise to signal. They spend their lives following other people’s plans, fearing what everyone else fears and never finding out who they are.

If you take the time to learn what your unconscious prioritises…

Then take more time to retrain it to focus on opportunities, your health and happiness…

Then you start to change quickly and easily.

There are many tools for probing your unconscious. Most of them are slow, awkward and poorly suited to changework.

Then there’s self-hypnosis.

You can learn the basics in moments.

And it’s perfect for teaching your mind what to pay attention to and what to let go of.

Here’s the only guide you need to go from step one to mastery:

Photo by
Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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