This month, in Unbeatable Mind Advanced Training, we are studying “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Nobel Memorial Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman.
Kahneman poses a question that many of us ask ourselves time and time again:
How much are we actually in the driver’s seat with our thinking AND how much control do we actually have over our minds?
The author’s findings refer to two modes of thinking described as System 1 and System 2. Here’s a quick breakdown:
System 1 is the subconscious mind; fast, instinctive and emotional:
- Accessing System 1 is not something we “think about” rather something that happens naturally to us beneath the radar (unless we have trained to access and direct it).
- System 1 is constantly monitoring the environment and inner mind, forming quick impressions, probing for information and seeking threats and opportunities.
- System 1 has been shaped by evolution to provide a continuous assessment of the main problems that an organism must solve to survive…situations are constantly being evaluated as good or bad, requiring flight or encouraging contact.
- If nothing crucial to survival of the individual or propagation of the race is detected, System 1 remains calm. However, when the mental map of order and balance is torn apart by a threat of survival or opportunity for pleasure, System 1 goes into overdrive and recruits System 2 to support it with cognitive processing to solve the newly pressing issue.
System 2 is the rational mind; slower, deliberate and logical:
- When we weigh options, deliberate them and come to a judgment we are using System 2, the conscious and reasoning part of the our self (incidentally when we think of ourselves objectively we are also in System 2 mode).
- We are confident that our thinking in System 2 is free from control.
What the author found in his research was that the two systems don’t operate independently, but rather System 1 is constantly influencing System 2.
While we may no longer rely on the quick and simplistic impressions that System 1 provides for survival as much as we did in the paleo-lithic era, our brains continue to churn out these impressions just as frequently as ever.
In the next blog, we will take a high-level look at how these unsolicited impressions from our subconscious System 1 can trip up our decision making in System 2. We will also look at some ideas for how to improve the situation to our advantage.
Until then, train hard, stay safe and have fun!
– Coach Divine