How to Make Big Decisions Consciously – Instead of on Auto-Pilot

It is an insult to tell anyone living that they make their most important decisions non-consciously. Homo sapiens pride ourselves on behaviors using logic and reason, math and science, right?

Neuroscientists until 2008 concluded our consciousness (reason, logic and thinking) was
the basis for western civilization and its progress. Imagine an executive at Apple being told
his conscious mind is almost an illusion, and all their success is the product of non-conscious
(auto-pilot) decision-making. Ridiculous.

In the journal Nature Neuroscience, April, 2008, distinguished scientists submitted hard evidence that almost all serious decision-making is a product of the unconscious mind (non-conscious mental activity). This seminal work was hard, tangible evidence, done at Charite University Hospital, using computational neuroscience. They are located in Berlin, Germany.

Professor John Dylan Haynes, lead author was NOT taken seriously for years. Why? It was
too horrible to believe that humans did their best and most important work without being
conscious of WHO makes their major decisions.

Will Power

What happened to will-power, freedom of choice? Forget math and science, and 2,500 years of
planning using logic and reasoning? Was all that experience an illusion and urban myth?

The latest research using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery) in 2011 has
scientists successfully predicting our decisions 7-8 seconds prior to the decision becoming conscious to the person making it. In brain science that is a huge amount of time.

How Come

Conscious decision making is too damn slow for evolution. If we have to decide whether
a stick-like item lying in front of us is good for a game of stickball or is in really a poisonous snake considering us for dessert, we need an instant decision. If we draw two columns of pros and
cons to decide, it will be too late. Goodbye to our descendents, right?


You already know our brain is divided into two halves, a left (conscious) hemisphere, and a right
(non-conscious, automatic) hemisphere. Specialization begins in our mind.

Our conscious mind has a broadband capacity of just 16-40 bits of information per second, which is exceedingly small. We do not easily multitask because of our limited brain power. Yes, really. But what about Righty (Non-consciousness)? It has available broadband capacity of – get this: 11-millions bits of information per second. That is more like it, right?

Non-consciousness can simultaneously control our blood pressure, heart rate, eye movement,
respiration, and mobility et al. It makes decisions using historical experiences and long-term
memory before Lefty recognizes the existence of a problem.
What For

Nature's reason for dividing our brain into two-halves, left hemisphere with consciousness,
and right hemisphere with non-consciousness – is to unburden our left brain with its slow
consciousness from being OVERLOADED with simple routine tasks. How? Put in on auto-pilot.

So What

The fact that scientists can use fMRI scans to successful predict from brain signals
decision-making, is considered astonishing. Why? Because western culture and science
are still convinced the secret to human progress is will-power (free-will), logic and reasoning.

Remember, science and math are left-brain skills dependent on consciousness. All technology
is still considered a left-brain skill, not some mumbo-jumbo intuition. Only Einstein differed.

Imagination ia more important than knowledge. One fades into obscurity in five years, the
other connects to the cosmos.” Ein said all his relativity theories came to him in imagination.


Micropatterns of activity in the Frontopolar cortex are predictive of the ultimate decision
up to 7-8 seconds before the thinking person has (conscious) awareness they had decided.
This means our non-consciousness prepares ahead of time, and controls decision-making.


Our will-power (free-will) consciousness has a VETO power over implementing the decision.
Remember – left and right hemispheres work together, as does consciousness and non-con,
as well as logic, and reasoning works with emotion and feeling (Limbic System). It is never
either/or, but both functions acting together. But, Consciousness (left-brain) can still change its mind and decide not to implement the decision.

Importance Beyond Vanity

Homo sapiens are great learners, therefore they are easily programmed and conditioned by
other people and experiences. Some call it brain-washing, others use this instinct to influence,
persuade and convince voters, buyers and negotiate treaties. Advertising is based on the power of programming the minds of viewers, readers and listeners.

How to Avoid Programming

Programming and conditioning are not illusions or myths. Strengthening our decision-making
is a basic strategy and easily learned. When we use the Ben Franklin Close to decide, we take
control over our non-conscious mind. Draw two-columns, one with all the Pro reasons for deciding yes! Now list all the Con reasons for deciding No!


Add up the number of each column, and give weight to the more powerful reasons, and decide.

You have taken logic and reason to another level. This permits input from both left and right
hemispheres for balanced thinking. You maintain your veto power to resist the power of
our non-conscious mind to go on auto-pilot.

The power of programming is repetition and a desire not to be responsible for a decision.
You and I are always responsible for all our decisions. The more research we do before deciding,
permits us not to play follow-the-leader, even if the leader is our own brain and our past experience.

Experience is Same-Old, Same-Old

Times change, people change, and what worked in the past is not guaranteed to work today.
U.S. unions contained almost 35% of factory employees up to the 1950's. Today they contain
under 10%. The past is no guarantee of future success, right?

Fact: what we believe as a culture about will-power and left-brain consciousness aint true, so
let's do a reality check. Imagination and intuition create our ideas and technology, and
science and math given them reality. It is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Fact: our conscious mind has the power to program and condition our non-consciousness
or accept it as a full, working partner. Science requires a working partnership.

See ya,

Final word: speed reading is a right-brain skill, while snailing – how we all read – is a left-brain
technology. You need both skills. Would it help your career to read and remember three (3) books, articles, and reports in the time you and all your peers can hardly finish one?

We have just 36 speed reading reports to offer our readers. Free, no strings attached.
Contact us at to score a copy. It will change your life and career.

Copyright 2011 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's. Business partner
of Evelyn Wood (1909-1995)creator of speed reading, with 2-million students,
including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-