- When you’re not achieving your goals, don't rely for logic to lead you.
- Be curious, explore, and contemplate to activate detail-oriented parts of your brain.
- To amplify goal and strategy signals, connect with the consciousness matrix that is universal.
- When you make curiosity and exploration inform your logic rather than the other way around, your goal complexity and accuracy will increase.
When you’re not achieving your goals, you might try to re-examine what they are or change your strategy. But what if your goals and strategy are mental events whose lucidity and complexity depend on something outside your brain? Can you clarify, amplify, and channel the “goal” and “strategy” signals from the outside into your brain?
The limits of “thinking through” goals and strategy
Successful people usually account for their success by explaining that they are goal-directed or determined. Yet goal direction1,2 and grit3 have been shown to have small impacts on success.
Nisbett and Wilson have demonstrated that when people give reasons for their actions, they make up a story that sounds plausible4. It’s a kind of made-up logic that sounds sensible but is not.
Also, scientific evidence shows that your brain has already decided to act before you reflect on what to do5. When you state a goal, it’s a way of making sense of what your brain has already decided.
When you only focus on a goal, the information and detail you receive are superficial. When you relax your focus, a network of brain regions kicks in to hand you the subtle information you need to act on a worthwhile goal6.
While neuroscientists who prefer material information tend to look for neural explanations of goals and intentions, an increasing body of information suggests that the brain can connect much further than the immediate environment if you’re tuned in to it7.
The essence of these theories is that, metaphorically speaking, in the same way, avatars who talk to each other in the metaverse are channeling the consciousness of the person they represent, we are all like avatars channeling consciousness from outside of us. These researchers would contend that “intelligence” is widely distributed through visible and invisible spaces as “consciousness,” and your ability to reach your goals may have more to do with amplifying and refining your goal signals by “tuning into” this consciousness matrix.
Clues to transcending the brain’s signals exist in the phenomena of intuition and premonition. Sometimes people can sense or feel things before they happen. Indeed, one paper reported nine experiments with 1,000 participants that supported this8.
Other formulations of how to connect with “consciousness” have subtle differences. For example, Federico Faggin posited that to go from “potential” to “actual”, an idea or goal will manifest when we are connected to this oneness9. You often hear of sudden realizations in oceanic boundlessness when people use psychedelics10 or cannabis11, or during experiences of artistic creativity, literary poetics, religious mysticism, psychoanalysis, and meditation12. In that sense, one could infer that the “right” strategy requires being in this state of oneness. This is a prolonged feeling that exists non-invasively alongside your critical faculties.
Donald Hoffman explained that what we perceive is simply an interface to interact with the world. Like a computer screen, it does not expose the real workings behind that screen. And analytic idealism suggests that the physical world as we see it is made up by our brains, much like how we believe we are in an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment. Our actions in this world are an illusion; what controls those actions is somewhere else. These and other models have been elegantly summarized in a paper by Wahbeh and colleagues13.
Implications for your goals
Don’t just follow your logic. Lose yourself in it. See where your mind leads you rather than leading it. Stop from time to time to summarize the intelligence that is emerging. Then, hold onto this summary as a symbol as you allow yourself to explore other avenues.
You don’t surmise what is happening in this approach and start directing the process yourself. You’re always letting go but able to move on because your periodic reflections have been stored as manageable summaries. Metaphorically speaking, the summaries are like a buoy or a rest point before you begin your immersion again.
To get started, ask yourself what is truly moving you. Introspect. Go for a walk. Take a shower while asking this question, but don’t succumb to following logic. Make this kind of exploratory process inform your logic rather than the other way around. If you do, you’ll likely discover a path to success you may not have seen.
(1) Boyatzis, R.; Smith, M.; Beveridge, A. Coaching With Compassion. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science2013, 49, 153–178. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886312462236.
(2) Huang, J. Y.; Bargh, J. A. The Selfish Goal: Autonomously Operating Motivational Structures as the Proximate Cause of Human Judgment and Behavior. Behav Brain Sci 2014, 37 (2), 121–135. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X13000290.
(3) Credé, M.; Tynan, M. C.; Harms, P. D. Much Ado about Grit: A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Grit Literature. J Pers Soc Psychol 2017, 113 (3), 492–511. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000102.
(4) Nisbett, R. E.; Wilson, T. D. Telling More than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes. Psychological Review 1977, 84, 231–259. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.3.231.
(5) Bargh, J. A.; Morsella, E. The Unconscious Mind. Perspect Psychol Sci 2008, 3 (1), 73–79.
(6) Sormaz, M.; Murphy, C.; Wang, H.; Hymers, M.; Karapanagiotidis, T.; Poerio, G.; Margulies, D. S.; Jefferies, E.; Smallwood, J. Default Mode Network Can Support the Level of Detail in Experience during Active Task States. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018, 115 (37), 9318–9323. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1721259115.
(7) Grau, C.; Ginhoux, R.; Riera, A.; Nguyen, T. L.; Chauvat, H.; Berg, M.; Amengual, J. L.; Pascual-Leone, A.; Ruffini, G. Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies. PLoS One 2014, 9(8), e105225. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225.
(8) Bem, D. J. Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect. J Pers Soc Psychol 2011, 100 (3), 407–425. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021524.
(9) Consciousness Unbound : Liberating Mind from the Tyranny of Materialism 9781538139431, 9781538139424, 2020047784, 2020047783. dokumen.pub. https://dokumen.pub/consciousness-unbound-liberating-mind-from-the-tyra… (accessed 2023-04-20).
(10) Roseman, L.; Nutt, D. J.; Carhart-Harris, R. L. Quality of Acute Psychedelic Experience Predicts Therapeutic Efficacy of Psilocybin for Treatment-Resistant Depression. Front Pharmacol 2017, 8, 974. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00974.
(11) Earleywine, M.; Ueno, L. F.; Mian, M. N.; Altman, B. R. Cannabis-Induced Oceanic Boundlessness. J Psychopharmacol 2021, 35 (7), 841–847. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881121997099.
(12) Saarinen, J. A. The Oceanic State: A Conceptual Elucidation in Terms of Modal Contact. Int J Psychoanal 2012,93 (4), 939–961. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-8315.2012.00620.x.
(13) Wahbeh, H.; Radin, D.; Cannard, C.; Delorme, A. What If Consciousness Is Not an Emergent Property of the Brain? Observational and Empirical Challenges to Materialistic Models. Frontiers in Psychology 2022, 13.