Archives for posts with tag: Consciousness

I’ve blogged before about how we learn a new language or adapt to the local language. First, we pick up the vocabulary associated with the language or the locality. Then we adopt the syntax, the word order or phrasing of the people we interact with. Finally, we pick up the accent itself, and start sound like – or something more approaching that of – the natives.

I think too that a lot depends on how much of a linguistic chameleon we are. Does the chameleon choose to adapt skin tones to the surroundings, or is it subconscious, an automatic thing it has no control over?

After 11 years straight in the same country, I’m starting to properly lose the engrained English accent and take on the accent of Irish-English speakers. For some people it might happen earlier, for some it might almost never happen. How many people have you met who’ve been living in a foreign country for twenty years and still speak with a hugely noticeable foreign accent? Some of them must not want to change, some of them must be incapable of it.

There’s a strong element of consciousness to how quickly we adapt to the language or accent of the place that is not native to us. It says a lot about us as people. Do we want to stand out as different? Do we want to fit in, empathise, be one of them, because it’s good to make an effort but also makes it easier to get things in our favour? Or do we not care either way?


We’ve all heard the statistic that we use about 10% of our brain’s total capacity, the inference being that, to the precious few and perhaps some of us mere mortals too, additional unfathomable powers are at our fingertips, or rather at our synapses.

One of the first lessons I learned on those graduate work programs was the power of positive thinking and, specifically, the self-fulfilling prophecy. If you go into a situation with a certain frame of mind, then that’s the result you will probably end up getting. Go in thinking you will lose and you will, go in thinking you will win and you will. What is unsaid in all this is whether you can influence the actual outcome with the power of your thought. Perhaps we’re tapping into the 90% at that point?

I’ve always liked the idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy and I’ve used it myself, pretty successfully, before major events like sales meetings, prize-givings and so on. You can even use it for micro-events, like wanting to hit the treble twenty at darts or the outside corner with a tennis serve. If you imagine it clearly, and see it happening, it has a far better chance of happening. I’ve never found it works with gambling though…

The other day I was working away when an email pinged in with the results of a competitive bid process. My stomach did a small flip, as the bid was important to me. I relaxed, took 5 minutes to clear my other emails and then got to the award results email. I had a 1 in 4 chance of winning. Before I opened it I imagined reading the email awarding me the contract, and I even said the word ‘win’ a number of times in my head like a mantra.

I opened the email and found that I hadn’t won the contact. Just kidding! I had won, which was nice.

What is also interesting is that on the occasions when I have not been successful with the self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s because I have allowed doubt and negativity to intrude into my thoughts. Suspecting I might not have won was enough to poison the positive thinking.

Disclaimer: this does not mean you will win the lottery if you think positively as you buy the ticket or as each ball drops into the chute…