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.