Accepting New Ideas

Much of the time when a new idea comes to us, we handle that idea and move on, without ever becoming consciously aware of the process. During the times when we are consciously aware of the process of handling a new idea, we often reject that idea without understanding why we rejected it, or sometimes without even understanding that we did reject it.

How can this be?

To understand this, lets briefly review the mechanics of how our minds work. When a new idea comes to us, it comes into our conscious mind. It can be as a result of our own thinking, or it can be from an outside source. Immediately, and sometimes before the new idea is even properly formed, our sub-conscious mind starts to evaluate that idea.

Now this evaluation is happening in our sub-conscious mind. That means that we are not consciously aware of it, but it is happening anyway.

So how does our sub-conscious mind evaluate an idea, sometimes before the idea is complete, and without us being aware that this is going on. To understand this we need to understand a characteristic of our sub-conscious mind.

Our sub-conscious mind has no ability to reason. If that is so, how can it evaluate a new idea? Well one way is to ask itself, does this new idea fit with what I already 'know'. If it does, then the new idea will not be immediately rejected. If it doesn't then the sub-conscious mind will send a message to the conscious mind to say that this new idea doesn't fit. Usually at this point, the conscious mind will believe what the sub-conscious mind is saying to it, and reject the idea.

There are a number of problems with this. What if the information that the sub-conscious mind is evaluating the new idea against, is wrong?

A common example of this is when a new idea comes into our conscious mind, and our sub-conscious mind starts to evaluate it. The sub-conscious mind says, 'I already know that'. Now that 'I already know that' message is sent to the conscious mind, and what happens then?

Often the conscious mind stops considering the new idea at that point, and moves on to something new. But did the sub-conscious mind really know that it knew that? Maybe sometimes, but often the new idea is not even properly formed yet, so how could the sub-conscious mind be sure that it 'knew' that.

Unfortunately when the conscious mind gets the 'I know that' message, it usually stops receiving or processing the new idea, and that means the opportunity to learn something new is lost.

What can we do about this? How can we interrupt our sub-conscious mind so that it does not stop us learning from new ideas, when we are exposed to them. I suggest that there are two easy ways.

Firstly, when we hear our sub-conscious mind saying 'That doesn't fit', or 'That can't be right', or something similar, we can simply say to our sub-conscious mind 'Thank-you for that information'. This means that we have decided not to act on the message that our sub-conscious mind was sending. Our conscious mind is then free to continue considering, reasoning and thinking about the new idea.

The second thing we can do is ask our conscious mind to think about the new idea in a way it may have not done before. Usually our conscious mind thinks 'Is this idea right?', or 'Is this idea wrong?'. Instead of those questions we could ask 'Could this idea change or improve my life in some way?'.

This allows us to look at a new idea in a completely fresh way, without being influenced by all the things that we have learnt before, or that we already 'know'.

It was Will Rogers who said many years ago that "it's not what people don't know that hurts them. It's what they do know that just ain't so."

Tony McGlinn runs personal development programs, writes and is a personal coach and consultant. You can visit him and subscribe to his newsletter at http://www.MyPowerfulMind.com

In The News:

Is Psychology Broken?  Psychology Today
After Psychology  Psychology Today
The psychological tolls of the coronavirus pandemic  West Orange Times & Windermere Observer
Why Psychology Matters  Psychology Today
Psychology's WEIRD Problem  Psychology Today
The psychology of an epidemic  ETBrandEquity.com

The Undeniable Power of Suggestion

How exactly is the Human Psyche effected by the trivial... Read More

Gay Men Psychology

Gay men are said to be usually third or further... Read More

Balancing Brain Lobes - Mutras

When does consciousness exist? Will the sentient robots being created... Read More

What is the Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

How do we treat bipolar disorder? Specifically, how do we... Read More

Creating A Winning Mindset

Do you know anyone who always wins? Sure you know... Read More

What?s the Problem: Introducing Solution Focus Pt 2

Again, many of us think we listen, yet we don't... Read More

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is Not Related to I.Q.

It's important to know that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and... Read More

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) At a Glance

Most narcissists (75%) are men.NPD is one of a "family"... Read More

Hypnotic Myths

Even though hypnosis has been around officially since the 1700s... Read More

Self Hypnosis or Shelf Hypnosis?

Self hypnosis is usually thought of as a person listening... Read More

Its Never Too Late

First of all, a bit of background: A high school... Read More

Dredging the Truth

To seek and find truth requires that we communicate within... Read More

Four Cognitive Skills for Successful Learning

The word "cognition" is defined as "the act of knowing"... Read More

We are in the End Days; Oh, Really Now?

Some think the world is coming to an end, they... Read More

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Who is a Malignant Narcissist?

QUESTION Number 1 - Who is a Narcissist?Dear Dr. Vaknin,I... Read More

Jack the Ripper

At around 3.40am on August 31st 1888, a carter named... Read More

Animal Cruelty: The Key to Serial Minds

What makes a common person a Serial Killer? According to... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 1: Biological Basis

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on the... Read More

Animal to Animal Telepathy

There has been much study on Telepathy in the animal... Read More

The Cyber Narcissist

To the narcissist, the Internet is an alluring and irresistible... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 2: Cultural Influence

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences developed as he worked... Read More

HypoManiacs Often Misunderstood

Are you a Hypomaniac? If you are you have some... Read More

Are All Dementias Alzheimer?s?

I'm surprised when some patients and caregivers confuse dementia and... Read More

The End of Psychotherapy

In two articles entitled "We Are Not Our Personalities" and... Read More

Psychological Tips for Effective Studying

STUDY STRATEGIES* Revise regularly- Revision should be continuous if you... Read More