In my best Rod Sterling voice…
“Imagine if you will, a future where humans have off loaded more than 95% of their daily tasks to machines. Using artificial intelligence they’ve taught machines to do most of the routine activities that are mundane and seem like time wasters. In many respects it’s a glorious era because humans now have more time to devote to the activities and people that are most important to them.
But wait, as they said in the movie Apollo 13, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ The humans have forgotten how to program their machines! What seemed to be utopian ideas when AI was first developed are no longer the best courses of action but they cannot change course. And to make matters worse, the machines have taken the original learning and developed new programs that aren’t serving their masters well either!
Suddenly people began to realize they weren’t devoting time to the things that really mattered. Compared to their ancestors humans had become lazy and self-indulgent but they couldn’t bring about the changes necessary to regain a sense of control and autonomy. They were trapped by their own doing! Welcome to the Twilight Zone.”
Is it Science Fiction?
Of course that’s just science fiction. Or maybe not. What if I told you we’re already living in a similar futuristic state? No, we’re not in the matrix but we’re in something close. You see, the machines are us…our brains and bodies! Ahhhh!
According to science, your subconscious processes about 11 million bits of information per second but your conscious mind only deals with 40 bits during that same second. In other words, you’ve off loaded more than 99% of your thinking to the machine we call your subconscious brain.
This isn’t limited to your brain. Your body has a memory of sorts, a great reward system, that works in conjunction with your brain. Once you learn something through bodily senses your brain puts that learning on a tape that’s always running in the background.
For example, if you ate a certain type of food and got sick, you don’t have to think about whether or not you like it because the sight, smell, or mention of it might involuntarily make you convulse.
It’s Not All Bad
Before you get too worried, let me assure you, it’s not all bad. Your mind and body are actually working as designed most of the time. They’re intended to work together to help you make decisions to stay alive while conserving precious energy.
Energy is precious because you can’t take in enough calories to fuel your brain to consciously process every thought or decision you face on a daily basis. Consider how tired you feel after a long day at the office even though you may not have been physically active.
The Problem to Overcome
Most people know much more about navigating their smart tv (and many struggle with this!) than they do about how their brains and bodies work. At least your tv came with an owners manual.
While you weren’t given an owners manual at birth for your mind and body, the good news is there have never been more resources available to learn from.
If you want to construct the kind of life that gives you the best chance at success, happiness, and overall health, then you need to learn a little about the machine that’s been running your life.
Unlike the Twilight Zone scenario I laid out, you can program and reprogram your machine…if you learn how. Below are a handful of resources I’ve learned from over the years. They helped me so I’m confident they can help you too.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, PhD
- Welcome to Your Brain by Sandra Aamodt
- Before You Know It by John Barg, PhD
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, Brian helps clients apply influence in everyday situations to boost results.
As one of only a dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world, Brian was personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His latest book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable designed to teach you how to apply influence concepts at home and the office.
Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!