top of page

Power of Rational Thinking

There is a widely accepted fallacy that rational, logical, conscious thinking has no power over unconscious processes or mechanisms, and that to change negative beliefs, feelings, or behavior, it is necessary to dig down and dredge up material from the unconscious mind.

Our Automatic mechanism (unconscious mind) is absolutely impersonal. It operates as a machine and has no “will” of its own. It always tries to react appropriately to our current beliefs and interpretations concerning environment. It always seeks to give you appropriate feelings, and to accomplish the goals that you consciously determine. It only works on the data that you feed it in the form of ideas, beliefs, interpretations, and opinions.

It is conscious thinking that is the control knob of your unconscious machine. It was by conscious thought, though perhaps irrational and unrealistic, that the unconscious machine developed its negative and inappropriate reaction patterns, and it is by conscious rational thought that the automatic reaction patterns can be changed.

The present and the future depend on learning new habits and new ways of looking at old problems.

The fact there are, “buried” in the unconscious, memories of past failures, unpleasant and painful experiences, does not mean that these must be “dug out, exposed or examined, in order to effect personality changes.

All skill learning is accomplished by trial and error, by making trial, missing the mark consciously remembering the degree of error, and making correction on the next trial, until finally a hit, or successful attempt, is accomplished. The successful reaction pattern is then remembered, or recalled, and imitated on future trials. This is true for trying to lose weight, singing, driving a car, playing a sport, get along socially with other people, or any other skill.

It is also true for all other memories of past errors, failures, painful and negative experiences. These negative experiences do not inhibit, but contribute to the learning process, as long as they are used properly as “negative feedback data,” and are seen as deviations from the positive goal that is desired.

These memories of past failures do not harm as long as our conscious thought and attention are focused on the positive goal to be accomplished.

Our errors, mistakes, failures, and sometimes even our humiliations, were necessary steps in the learning process. However, they were meant to be means to an end, and not an end in themselves.

When they have served their purpose, they should be forgotten. If we consciously dwell on the error, or consciously feel guilty about the error and keep berating ourselves because of it, then, unwittingly, the error or failure itself becomes the “goal” that is consciously held in imagination and memory.

Memories of past failures can adversely affect present performance, if we dwell on them and foolishly conclude. “ I failed yesterday; therefore, it follows that I will fail again today.”

However, this does not prove that unconscious reaction patterns have any power in themselves to repeat and perpetuate themselves, or that all buried memories of failure must be eradicated before behavior can be changed.

If we are victimized, it is by our conscious thinking mind and not by the “unconscious.” For it is with thinking part of our personality that we draw conclusions, and select the “goal images: that we shall concentrate upon.

The minute that we change our minds and stop giving power to the past, the past with its mistakes loses its power over us.

Hope the above helps.

Coach HB

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page