The two minds (subconscious and conscious) also cooperate in acquiring very complex behaviors that can subsequently be unconsciously managed. Remember the first day you excitedly sat in the driver’s seat of a car, preparing to learn how to drive? The number of things that had to be dealt with by the conscious mind was staggering. While keeping your eyes on the road, you had to also watch the rear and side view mirrors, pay attention to the speedometer and other gauges, use two feet for the three pedals of a standard shift vehicle and try to be calm, cool and collected as you drove past observing peers. It took what seemed to be a long time before all these behaviors were “programmed” into your mind.
Today, you get in the car, turn the ignition on and consciously review your shopping list as the subconscious mind dutifully engages all the complex skills you need to successfully navigate through the city—without even once having to think about the mechanics of driving. I know I am not the only one out there who has experienced this. You are driving and having a delightful discussion with the passenger sitting next to you. In fact, your consciousness gets so caught up in the conversation, that somewhere down the road it dawns on you that you haven’t even paid attention to your driving for five minutes. After a momentary start, you realize that you are still on your side of the road and steadily moving along with the flow of traffic. A quick check of the rear view mirror reveals that you did not leave a wake of crumpled stop signs and smashed mailboxes. If you weren’t consciously driving the car during that time, then who was? The subconscious mind! And how well did it do? Although you didn’t observe its behavior, the subconscious mind apparently performed just as well as it was taught during your driver education experience.