Subconscious Beliefs – Part 1

Who’s Calling the Shots?

The potency of our subconscious beliefs about ourselves.

Putting a USB connector into its corresponding slot, I get it wrong 95% of the time and have to then flip it over so it will go in. Why? My understanding of probability — albeit limited — is perpetually blown to shreds when this happens. I don’t spend any time thinking about it and simply flip the plug over. In it goes and I move on with whatever task required the connection. But wait. Why did that happen? Why does it happen most of the time? I’ve tested it and, yup, I’m usually wrong. It’s based on our subconscious beliefs.

I’ve actually now started employing a workaround.

I delude myself that I’m going to put the plug into the slot correctly up to the last millisecond. At the last possible moment when the plug is only a couple centimeters away from the slot, I spring. I turn the tables on my subconscious and flip the plug over before it can realize what I’m doing. Hah! Got you, you little bugger! That works a surprising (and disheartening) amount of the time. Not allowing for my perverse little mind game, why does this happen? To arrive at an explanation that incorporates my belief that I, as a man, am in inegrity and accountable for my actions, I have to lay out my options and really look hard at them.

Is it just physics?

One option includes that the plug, slot or some other physical aspect of the scenario is somehow influencing the outcome. This would be similar to the Buttered Toast Experiment that says that when buttered toast falls, it will usually, if not always, fall buttered side down. It’s an explanation that is wholly focused on the physics of the event. If the butter on one side of the toast did affect how the toast falls through the atmosphere, that dynamical asymmetry would explain why the buttered toast falls butter side down.

It’s not physics.

This was ultimately disproved by Robert A J Matthews in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science in the University of Aston, Birmingham in his famous 1995 experiment. In our USB problem, there is no physical influence. Thus this Bayesian view is ultimately not helpful in our USB problem. It is limited and therefore we have to dismiss it here.

Is it spooky woo-woo from a distance?

Another option is that the event is controlled by some mysterious force yet unknown. Spirits, universal energies, God, and Thor are just a few examples within the voluminous list of mechanisms we’ve devised to explain that which we don’t understand yet. I don’t ascribe these kinds of happenings to the workings of my spiritual beliefs. It just doesn’t make sense to me so I’m going to discard it as an option here. If you choose, you may stop here at the door of confusion and assign the improbable to your belief of choice. It’s not enough for me. So, if you’re still reading, let’s move on.

Is it Murphy’s Law?

Next, let’s consider the idea that shit just goes wrong. This expands on the “laws” of Sod, Finagle, and his majesty, Murphy that state that in general, if something can go wrong, it will. These laws are the result of flawed conventional wisdom. Not always wrong but usually. Mr. Matthews states it well: “Such estimates lend credibility to the widespread ‘orthodox’ answer to the tumbling toast question: that it is essentially a coin-tossing process in which only the bad outcomes are remembered.” (That last word explains so much. So satisfying.) I don’t think this explains it though and the pessimism inherent in the proposition that shit just goes wrong isn’t satisfying.

It’s me … all me.

Finally, after looking at the above as well as other options I don’t feel apply, we arrive at an option that incorporates physics, optimism, accountability, integrity, and human neurology. This option sounds well integrated.

Let’s unpack it!

We need to understand our subconscious beliefs about ourselves and how we as men affect outcomes in ways we aren’t aware of. Outcomes that affect something small like our USB example or outcomes that emanate out from our personal experience on grand scales, and everything in between. If I sabotage my conscious goal of getting the plug in the slot correctly, then it’s possible I sabotage myself in an argument or frustrating situation, or even the vector of my whole life and my baseline happiness.

Optimism and integrity are the potentiometers.

Optimism is the way we see opportunity in difficult situations or problem-solving. It’s one way of looking at the world that allows for enthusiasm, creative problem solving, engagement, and purpose. Optimism also is built into, and encouraged by, integrity. If I am in integrity, I have control. If I have control, I can change my experience (for good or bad), If I can change my experience, there is hope, and if that is all true, I am more optimistic. Optimism and integrity have an integral relationship.

We have more than one goal.

If we understand that there is more than one goal, if what we think we want is not the only want we have, then understanding our subconscious beliefs, exactly what that hidden want is and how to bring it into our awareness is key. At the times when we habitually just let the program run in the background, is when we might be helped by bringing those hidden wants into our awareness and adapting to make better decisions consciously. These decisions might be those that make us healthier, happier, more engaged, and better prepared to cope with adversity. The benefit of self-awareness can’t be understated.

Those hidden little buggers will get us every time.

This hidden want that’s created by our subconscious beliefs is far more effective at actuating goals than the higher consciousness. All the things we’ve experienced have shaped and programmed the lower consciousness to create patterns, habits, and behaviors that are designed to keep us safe. That’s a good thing. Where problems arise is when those hidden programs no longer suite our needs and in fact, are counter to our overall happiness and effectiveness.

This is the first part of a 3 part series.

The next release will be on April 5th. If you are subscribed to updates for MensGroupTalk.com, you’ll be notified when the next release is posted.

I like you! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

I Like You. Big Hug For You Brother/Reader.

I like you. Other people would really like you too. I want you to be seen and I want other people to hear your thoughts on things. Your insights certainly keep me thinking.

I love that you get me laughing when I’m getting too serious. You really are funny as shit. Like “laughing too hard…gotta stop bro…can’t breathe…” kind of funny. I don’t know where you get that from but it’s a gift man.

I know you feel strongly about some important things and that always gets me thinking about those things. I don’t always get why you’re so cranked about some things but,

if it’s important to you, then it’s important to me.

I feel bad if I’ve been a prick and I’ll work harder to understand your perspective. Promise. I may not always get it right but you always tell me you want me to not beat myself up about it. Yes, I know you want me to forgive myself more often and that’s so awesome but easier said than done sometimes.

If I get busy today and don’t run into you, just know I’m thinking about you and I have your back. I can’t wait until we can grab a coffee so you can catch me up on what’s been going on for you lately. You have such a cool life. I’m a little jealous 🙂 Don’t be a stranger. Have a great day good friend!

The Door of Confusion

When you start wandering back through the connective issues, the point at which you get confused, or cannot answer the question, is the point where the problem lies. It’s a conflict. If you allow yourself to be questioned and commit to not allowing diversion, eventually you may arrive at the door of confusion (epic music here).

At the point you feel confused is a door you can’t open. On the other side of that door is the person really driving the bus. Figure out how to open that door ’cause he got some ‘splainin to do.

For me, it often happens when someone starts going down the road of “why can’t you assert yourself?”. Through the maze of questions that I have no difficulty answering I feel confident that I’ve got this nailed. Back and back …” well, why can’t you drink your coffee with sugar?” somehow arrives at something like “so what is it that makes you drive too fast?”. Strange twists and turns but at every turn, I’m still fine. I still got this.

But then after some time we arrive at a question I can’t answer.

It should be something I can answer but there’s just confusion. It’s not a question about string theory or photomodulation effects on mitochondria. It’s something simple like “do you like your potatoes boiled or baked?” Logic and rationality tell me I should be able to answer it but I can’t.

It’s that moment that often “something happens” that keeps me from having to answer it.

I “accidentally” drop a fork, or crack a joke, or I decide to take up electroplating at that very moment (that actually happened). Anything to keep from opening the door. Somehow the question doesn’t register and at times it’s like – midconversation – someone is speaking in a language I don’t understand. Other times it’s like someone just gave me a riddle that is not solvable or a logical paradox.

I feel a little untethered and anxious and that tells me that I’m at the door of confusion.

That’s why we need things like men’s groups. Others – outside our minds – don’t have the same avoidance and can purposefully guide us to the door if we’re willing. They can see the look on our face when we get to that point of confusion. That’s the moment they sit up straight, then point at us and say “That’s it! Right there! That’s where the issue is.” They don’t have the answer’s to the problem. They just helped us find the problem and that’s consistently the biggest hurdle. Once we’re at the door, the big strong adult can take it from there.

It will take trust. You may have to enlist other’s in your men’s group for support or you may be able to work it out yourself. Either way is okay but at least you now have the option to work on it, or not, instead of just letting someone else drive the bus.

What You Can Do

Allow yourself to be led by the hand by someone you trust unquestionably. For me, it’s the men’s group. Allow a man or men to walk you through the building of your mind. Let them know that you want them to be focused on you. Let them ask questions about something that’s bothering you. Open doors and enjoy some of your memories with them. Feel the feelings as you open door after door going deeper into the building. Some rooms have good things, others have not-so-great things but nothing you can’t tolerate. It’s all good.

Allow yourself to be led until you, and your posse, get to the door of confusion. While you and your posse stand there in front of the door, make a decision, you make it alone, about what you want to do there. If your posse is a bunch of flakey self-absorbed boobs, don’t open the door (and, btw, get new friends). If you trust them and they will support you, maybe you want to, or maybe not just yet. Your call.

An Introduction

My first post.   Hmmm … intimidating yes … but kind of exciting too.   Of course, I haven’t made this public yet so no one is here yet to talk to.   Soooo …

A meaningful Conversation with My Umbrella

Talking to my umbrella

Umbrella, what if the world didn’t come crashing down around you if you were to disclose personal information on the internet? What if the government didn’t start following you and controlling your life covertly if they knew some personal information about you? Perhaps all the bullies in your life — past and present — wouldn’t care because they’re too caught up in their own shit-show. Your siblings, gloves, and sunglasses, certainly don’t give a shit. Is it possible, umbrella, that I can be authentic and honest out here and still be safe?

I say fuck it! Let’s find out.

I’m a 54-year-old father, son, husband, friend, brother (literally and within the context of this forum), IT Director, sailor, photographer, and casual designer. Being an umbrella, I imagine you don’t have the same kinds of interests. Still, you strike me as being a good listener.

The Winter makes me sad and I have difficulty expressing that. I grew up in a rural area in Central New York in a divorced home. My mother is a sadist and my father and brothers wanted nothing to do with me. I am artistic and use humor to circumvent real emotional work but in lieu of having those skills honed, I feel it’s a more workable alternative, if even temporarily.

I fashion myself as decidedly cynical but, in truth, I’m very deeply connected with others. I trust habitually, with the exception of people who seem to not know themselves very well, but use the inevitable occasional betrayal that happens in life as a means to justify my cynicism. I’m hurt easily but the flippant irreverent demeanor protects me — or so I think.

I Covet the Empath who can talk to Klingons with ease

deanna-troi-and-worf

I covet the empath who can connect to others without hesitation but fear — or perhaps distrust — my own inherent fine-tuned skill in that regard. Do you find that to be true for you, umbrella? I’m conflicted in a number of meaningful ways that offer endless opportunities to study myself and others.

Humans and social psychology fascinate me though I’ve never endeavored to understand it beyond my own experience to any depth.   I value my curiosity about behavior and use it to understand things better. This is, again, for protection. I suppose I spend a good amount of my life in fear of … something. Something yet undefined but still monumentally influential in my conclusions and assessments.

I am very uncomfortable around men who are confident in their presentation.   I’m intimidated by confidence in others and it triggers me to be defensive but I’ve learned to see that trigger and reroute it.   I have difficulty trusting people who have an obvious blind spot and I expect they will hurt me with their absence of self-awareness.

My wife and I have been married 31 years this year and we love to travel though we haven’t done so in the last few years due to serious medical issues with her. My son is 25 and works at the State Senate. He just returned to Graduate school which was an emotional challenge for him. He and I have always had a healthy relationship and I want to think I helped him with that decision.

I’m overweight and have hypertension. It’s unclear to anyone if it’s a result of the weight or the ineffective stress response I’ve habituated over a lifetime of unmet expectations.   I love lists and bullet points. I mean I REALLY love bullet points. They clear up confusion when getting a concept across.

I have been the IT Director at a Science and Technology Museum for 20 years this year.   It’s become more routine than it used to be and the transformative challenges just aren’t there anymore but I continue because I’m both very much passionate about our mission and also afraid of financial insecurity. In light of my recent interactions with my son who is evolving nicely, I’ve concluded it is completely worth it to start this site if I’m to be authentic. To those ends, I’ve decided to start reaching out to others in a number of ways to connect and relearn what it means to be integrated into a broader motivation than my own again.

Don’t upset your umbrella

I've upset my Umbrella

Clearly, I’ve upset my umbrella with this post.   The take away here? No fucking clue.   I can help, but you’ll have to come up with something on your own.