How Core Beliefs Become Learning Behaviors

By Brian Walsh in Beliefs on July 30th, 2007 / 2 Comments

Enriched learning is all about the effective absorption and integration of new material. The more you know about the concepts, the more you will find out things unknown to your parents, to teachers, and even to neuroscientists just a decade ago.

For instance, ninety-five percent of your behavior reflects patterns and habits mostly acquired when you were very young. Because our educators and caregivers didn’t know any better, most of us grew up with ineffective study habits. Countless hours have been wasted in classrooms and in home study, and have often yielded frustration, self-limiting beliefs, and low self-esteem. However, there’s no need to take it anymore! No matter what your age, you can learn successfully and with delight.

Freud popularized the concept of the subconscious (or what is sometimes also called the unconscious or the non-conscious). Although your conscious mind plays an important role, learning has much more to do with non-conscious processing than with conscious thought. Remember that, as you learn how to nourish and develop it, your mind’s chief responsibility is your protection; in fact, your survival.

Let me use an analogy to explain the power of the subconscious mind. If your feet are flat on the floor, the area under your feet corresponds to the processing ability of your conscious mind. The floor area in the room not covered by your feet represents the power of your subconscious mind. Your conscious mind operates at around 126 bits per second, and your subconscious mind is 10,000 times faster. Clearly, the power is really in the subconscious.

As a therapist, I have found that most issues that adults present to me originate in their first seven years of life. This imprint phase of social development is at a time when the conscious mind is not yet fully developed, before growth of a vital filter to assess incoming information’s validity, the so-called Critical Faculty. Well aware of this, advertisers use the term Critical Faculty Bypass when weighing the effectiveness of advertisements. If the advertising message gets through to the emotional subconscious mind, then the likelihood of purchase increases. What does this have to do with learning? Quite a lot. Read on.

If life-long patterns are set in the first seven years of life, then it’s important for parents, older siblings, coaches, teachers, and any other influencers to be extremely careful with their language, both verbal and non-verbal. If a parent says, “You’re just like your father. You’ll never amount to anything” or “It’s a good thing you’re cute, because you’re not very smart”. The messages go directly, in the absence of a strong Critical Faculty, to the subconscious where accepted as valid, they begin to form patterns and beliefs. Subsequent fractured self-esteem and self-doubt results.

Elephant trainers use an interesting control technique. When an elephant is still very young, the trainer attaches one end of a strong chain to one of the elephant’s legs, and the other end to a stake. This allows the animal the freedom of a very defined circle, and, harnessed day after day, the elephant learns that this circle is its only territory. As the years go by, the chain is progressively exchanged for thinner and thinner ropes. The trainer knows that the elephant could walk away at any time, but the elephant doesn’t catch on, and so remains within the defined circle. Important questions for you from this are: What’s your circle? What are your self-limiting beliefs?

About the Author
Brian Walsh PhD, author of Unleashing Your Brilliance, is an international speaker based on Canada’s west coast. He holds a commerce degree and a Ph.D. in Clinical Hypnotherapy. His web site is:

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2 Responses to “How Core Beliefs Become Learning Behaviors”

  1. Jeffrey Baer Says:

    I have been an underachiever since I graduated from high school, where I was at the top of my “game” in athletics, academics, popularity, female companionship, etc. I have a controlling and critical father and I allowed him to over ride my decision for college, and instead, went to one that he felt would give me an “ivy league” type of experience. I have really never recovered from that experience, as I flunked out of the “ivy league” experience and have had many major failure cycles since. I did get a college degree in psychology, but never went on to post grad work and have gotten jobs that have come to me, rather than me going out and getting a career. It bothers me to see high school peers, who were almost invisible, being very successful. I am 59 and still feel that “someday” I will achieve the lofty goals I once used to entertain. I am a fairly accomplished musician, yet I feel I still need to be more accomplished before I start performing in public again. I was born left-handed, but my father kept switching things to my right hand till I “became” right-handed. Does this mess up the right/left brain identification and create indecision regarding self analysis of talents, skills, and abilities?

  2. Joe Martinez Says:

    Wow, I just can’t relate enough to Jeffrey’s story. I’m 56 and just started to take school seriously last year as a psychology major. I have a long dreadful history of an unconscious fear of success and self sabotage. My father too plagued me with verbal abuse and instilled in me that “you’ll never amount to a damn thing.” I went on to trash my adolescence and young adulthood with alcohol, but will hopefully have 18 years of sobriety next month. I’m presently burdened with major post divorce and family issues not to mention the death of my oldest child a year ago in June. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far except for the grace of God. All I have is today. Thanks for sharing.

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