Change ThinkingThe four functions of the conscious mind are perception, association, evaluation and decision.


PerceptionThe conscious mind uses the five senses to record information, but only the important information gets noticed. The conscious mind can only focus on a limited number of things at a time, so it selects the important things and ignores the rest.

This feature of the conscious mind keeps you from going crazy.

It is why you rarely notice the hum of the refrigerator.

It is also why city people don’t notice sirens and country people do. The conscious mind of the city dweller is only concerned with sirens that directly involve them while, because sirens are more rare in the country, every siren is noticed by the country dweller.

We must also understand that we only perceive with our eyes, ears, noses, tongues and nerve endings. We interpret these signals with our brains. This is why I hate coconut and my husband loves it. Our interpretation of that taste varies even though the substance is the same.

The conscious mind stores important information in the subconscious.


The conscious mind also looks to the subconscious for interpretation of an event. It asks the subconscious mind “have I seen anything similar before?” Notice that I emphasized the word similar. The mind generalizes events to make it function more efficiently. This is why we can open a door that we have never seen before because it is similar to other doors.

This gives us a sense of certainty about the future. “I am certain that I can open that door because I have done it in the past.”

The conscious mind compares what it currently perceives with what is stored as reality in the subconscious.

It makes an interpretation based on the reality stored from our past experiences.


Now the conscious mind asks “what is this leading to?”

The answer will be based on information stored in our subconscious.

If we interpret this as leading to pleasure, we will seek to repeat the experience. Likewise, if we interpret this as leading to pain, we will avoid the experience. In case of a tie, we will avoid pain.

This system was designed to protect us from danger. We learn what a tiger looks like and that it will eat humans, therefore we will avoid the pain of being eaten. Not only will we avoid a particular tiger, we will avoid every tiger and every animal that is similar to a tiger as well. Our precious brain protects us.

BUT… our evaluation of new situations is based on past experiences. Sometimes our interpretation of these experiences may be wrong. What if the first time we encountered a house cat, it just happened to hiss at us and scare us? That negative experience with one naughty house cat may prevent us from the joy of owning a cuddly kitten in the future. Our past can be limiting our future.


Finally, the mind decides whether to seek or avoid the behavior, based entirely on the past, not the future.

The problem is that we cannot change our past negative experiences, we cannot roll back the hands of time and make that house cat stop hissing at us.

We can, however change our interpretation and how we store our previous experiences.

I will show you how to do this in later posts after we learn the basics of how this stuff works.

For now, you can use small rewards each time you change your behavior to a new habit. These small rewards will cause you to repeat desired behavior.

Related posts

About living4bliss

Mental Health Food is the place to stop to get your bliss on everyday. I give tips, hints and sometimes a little silliness to help you navigate the challenges of life. We have a great community of positive bloggers that keep the bliss going all day every day. Make sure to visit their blogs, too. Mental Health Food is a product of Believing Life Is Setup for Success, Inc. (B.L.I.S.S.) in Thornton, CO. We have been in the business of teaching success since 1991. We provide workshops, consulting services and now videos that help people just like you start and maintain successful businesses and personal lives using what you already have. Enjoy a daily dose of Mental Health Food; nourishment for the mind.

7 responses »

  1. Great post, Saundra!! I was with you all the way!!

  2. tovah11 says:

    That really makes sense!

    You know, I never understood my mother’s great fear (no exaggeration here) of dogs. I mean, she is terrified…even of my 9 pound shi-tzu. You can actually see her start to tremble.

    I’ve asked her if she’d ever had a bad experience with a dog or been bitten? She always says ‘no’. Yet, I believe (especially now after reading your blog) that something did happen that she just doesn’t remember.

    Anyway, another great post!

    • living4bliss says:

      I agree with you. She was probably frighted by a dog and now her brain says that dogs should be avoided. This was a primative mechanism that we used to avoid being eaten by lions in the caveman days but unfortunately, it can sometimes really hold us back from great things in life.

  3. […] RAS Lesson 3 – The Conscious Mind ( […]

  4. […] RAS Lesson 3 – The Conscious Mind ( […]

I'd love to know what you think. Please share a comment with us.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s