Overwhelm – Underwhelm

Understanding overwhelm and underwhelm
  • Understanding overwhelm and underwhelmYou have set your goal….
  • You have written out your goal….
  • You have seen yourself achieving the goal….
  • You can hear people congratulating you on achieving your goal….

But sadly, nothing actually happens. Nothing happens for a very long time and you start to ask yourself….”What’s gone wrong?”

At this point you are likely to be feeling quite overwhelmed. The magnitude of the goal seems so big that you just don’t know where to begin. It all seems too much and you now think that you won’t able to complete it…..so what happens? You just don’t start.

We’re now going to examine this issue in more detail and consider what be done to get back on track.

The process of becoming overwhelmed

Consider how we think. We think in images and words are secondary to images. I use the word images to imply imagination and the using of all the senses.

You may have heard someone say, “You’ve blown it out of all proportion.”

Let’s explore the process. You start thinking about your goal and it becomes formed in your mind. You then add more and more detail to the goal and become excited. Then as you start to consider all the things you need to do, the image grows and expands. Now this is OK at this point, but then it continues to grow even more and before you realise what’s happened, it’s become way too big.

Now there’s too much to do – it feels too big – you’re overwhelmed!

So why would this happen?

What is your brain thinking?

Here’s what I think is happening.

Your unconscious mind processes millions of bits of information according to Dr Julian Jaynes  (see his book: The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind).

The magic number for the number of items your conscious mind can hold is 7 (+ or – 2 bits of information, i.e. storing between 5 and 9 at any one time). This is based on the work of G Miller (1956) 

The job of the conscious mind is to give us focus. The unconscious mind does the processing.

So here is what I think is happening when we become overwhelmed:

You are glimpsing just a part of the information that your unconscious is processing.

This is too much information for the conscious mind and it becomes overwhelmed.

Now that we know what is going on, could we use this to our advantage?

Paradigm shift in achieving your goals

The accepted process of goal setting is relatively straightforward:

  • Write your goal out.
  • Write a detailed plan of how you are going to achieve your goal.

I am a fan of this type of goal setting and recommend it for certain projects. However, could we tap into the natural ability of the brain? Could we program the breathtaking ability the unconscious mind has to achieve goals?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

  • We use the conscious mind for focus, so clearly write out your goal.
  • Hand it over to the unconscious mind.
  • Take action every day.

You will need to trust your unconscious mind, so let’s explore how the unconscious mind will communicate with you:

  • You will feel like doing something – do it.
  • A thought will pop into your mind. To call someone, read something or go somewhere. Follow through, even if it seems to make no sense.
  • Do the thing in front of you. It does not matter if it is putting a stamp on a letter. Small actions build momentum.

A technique I have found useful in stimulating the unconscious mind is to ask it questions. Here are some fundamental examples I have found to be useful:

  • What can I do today to move myself closer to my goal?
  • What next?
  • What would (insert name of person you admire here) do?

Can we find examples of this in action?

Building a Chapel for the lovers of the world.

It was a warm sunny morning in Austin, Texas when I was chatting with my colleague Roy Williams (*). We sat overlooking the beautiful Chapel Dulcinea, which Roy had built as a gift for all the lovers of the world. You can get married free of charge at this picturesque Chapel. He tells me that 3 weddings are held here each day for the 355 days it is open during the year. I asked him how he had accomplished such a major achievement.

Roy said, “I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to give a gift to the lovers of the world.”

I leaned forward as he went on: “All day I kept thinking about acquiring a bell from a church. Then, in the evening I came across a bell for sale online, so I bought it. I now had this bell and I thought to myself, what could I do with it?”

This was when Roy shared the insight into his goal setting methods. “Early on in my life I discovered that if you do the thing in front of you, the next step appears.” Roy went on, “I just took that step, but never planned the journey.”

We talked for an hour about how everything seemed to fall into place, how he would meet just the right people at the right time. This continued until the project was successfully completed. You’ll find some wonderful photos of the Chapel today via this link: http://www.chapeldulcinea.org/photos-of-the-chapel/

Enthusiastically he then started to tell my about the symbolism of Dulcinea, however, that’s a story for another time.

We have started to worship the conscious mind, we want to control everything consciously and yet we become tired because of it. Are you ready to unleash your unconscious mind?

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, relax and ask yourself, “What one thing can I do right now?” This simple approach will start to create a wonderful natural balance between your conscious mind and unconscious mind.

Next Step:

Set your goals. If you find that some of them are a little outlandish, then you’re our brand of crazy.

Are you ready to hang out with like-minded people? Are you ready to learn about some of the most powerful tools available to access your unconscious mind? Are you ready for a fun learning experience? Then you’re ready now to book on to our NLP Practitioner course via this link:

(*) Roy Williams – Best-selling author and marketing consultant. Aka ‘The Wizard’. Best known for his Wizard of Ads trilogy. Founder of the Wizard Academy institute.

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  1. It is strange how, when you begin to think about something, you can see it everywhere. Bit like buying a car. You didn’t see that type of car on the road. Then suddenly there are loads. Funny how our minds focus like that. The collective unconscious, I find, is fascinating too.