Don’t Underestimate the Influence of the Subconscious

Mon 27 March – Sun 2 April 2023

Something happened early last week and it made me think how much of what we do is based on our subconscious without us knowing. A friend contacted me on LinkedIn to say that he thought my last blog ‘In Pursuit of Purpose’ (read it here) was about his book with the same title.

The book is by Ken Banks and you can find details of it on Amazon here – obviously other ways to purchase it are available. Fascinating that I have actually bought his book and look forward to reading it but have not actually done so yet. However, the title must have been in my subconscious when I was looking for a catchy blog heading.

How many of my other actions are directed by my subconscious?

It made me wonder how many things I do in my life are based on what I think is a conscious decision but that is not the case? And how hard is it to break free from these hidden constraints that restrict us? I have written previously about not being bitter, not taking onboard the baggage of the past, and identifying purpose in our lives. And yet so much of that is fashioned by what is deep inside of us that we probably don’t even realise is there.

Waiting for answers

Older does not equal wiser

This is partly proven by an online argument I had this week. Basically I made a comment on LinkedIn about how we should listen to young people more. I genuinely believe this; their views are massively under-represented and drowned out by older people. A baby boomer started sprouting his conscious and subconscious line that older people must be wiser through their greater number of life experiences. There is no evidence that older people are wiser than younger people. Our conversation ended with me pointing out that old, white, straight, able-bodied men always think they have the answers.

โ€œEvery person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.โ€

Arthur Schopenhauer

Health and Efficiency

How much of my drive around going to the gym or doing jog-runs is based on a subconscious attempt to make up for the fat kid that I was? Or to fit in on a gay scene that idolises youth? Or simply a way to try and put off old age followed by death? Perhaps it is all of these things as well as my conscious desire to try to be more healthy as described in my previous blog.

Gym but only two sessions

  • Listened to my body on Monday and did a shorter session focused less on legs (remember I had to skip my Sunday jog-run partly because of problems with my Achilles and knees) and more on general stretching.
  • Then another session on Wed. Went easy on my legs (again) but did a good upper body workout. 3 other guys in the gym and I did the alpha male of making clear what machines and weights I was using.

I had expected to go on Friday but felt too ill – see below.

32 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = ยฃ15.50 per session.

Jog-run but only one session

Really had to think on Thurs whether to go for it or not as my right knee had been hurting since Tuesday. Strange because I did an ‘easy on the legs’ gym workout on Monday but it obviously did have an impact. I do wonder if I subconsciously compensate for my right knee by putting pressure on my left Achilles (or vice versa) so causing ongoing problems?

For the jog-run, I decided on the option ‘if in doubt, push out’. Went OK but a slow one and less distance covered compared to the previous two. Knee and Achilles felt OK afterwards though a wee bit tender. But I was really knackered, far more than usual. So I ended up having to sleep for 2 hours in the afternoon and then I was very ill the next day.

animation of a fat man running

Illness: the importance of listening to your body

Despite my afternoon sleep on Thursday, I had a very bad night’s sleep – felt hot, aching, and nauseous. Woke on Friday morning and got ready to go to the gym but felt shit. Sometimes you have to listen to the little voice inside you which gives the best advice even though it’s not what you want to hear. So abandoned the gym and my plan to see the brilliant movie ‘The Hunger’ at the Prince Charles.

Went back to bed and slept through till lunchtime when I crawled out to watch a bit of TV. Then back to bed for another couple of hours. Not hungry in the slightest and went for a short walk with Dave to get some fresh air. Then an early night.

Felt better on Saturday (the transformative power of sleep) but still delicate. This carried through till Sunday and I decided to leave off doing a jog-run. Main thing to note during this period of illness was that I ate very little. Basically problem was that I just felt if I had eaten anything then I would have been sick.

when only bed and rest can help

Weight: good news but with a reason

There is definitely a bit of me that subconsciously thinks I am still the fat kid I was. That was definitely reinforced by an ex-partner who told me I would be perfect if it wasn’t for my jelly belly. And last week saw a big drop in my weight to under 13 and a half stone. Purely down to my illness on Thursday which basically stopped me eating for several days.

Family and Friends


Spent a lot of time with mum last week. Perhaps subconsciously I am making sure I do because she won’t always be there. She is definitely getting better and even going out more under her own steam. That’s great. I am happy to take her out for mundane stuff like shopping and going to the library. But it’s also great if she can do those things on her own. Dave came over to see mum as well on Saturday and that always perks her up.

The never-ending window repair

Chased the Housing Association about this on Wednesday. Apparently there are problems sourcing the part required to mend the winding mechanism that will enable us to open the kitchen window again. Interestingly when the fault was first inspected in October, the inspector checked and they did have the spare part in stock. Oh well, suppose in the intervening 6 months someone else has taken it. Apparently I am going to get an update by phone next week but I ain’t holding my breath. Mum, meanwhile, is really pissed off but there is nothing more I can do.

Head in hands

Dave: not a great week

Poor Dave didn’t have a great week with lots of work stuff to be done and me being ill. Plus he had some bad news from his Housing Association but hopefully things will sort themselves out. I think like me, he is also subconsciously trying to deal with the negative side of getting old. That feeling where you are in your 50s and 60s but feel like you are in your 20s and 30s. One of the problems with old age is reconciling your physical and mental ages.

Where will we live in the future?

One of the things we are both realising will have to be dealt with at some point in the future is this issue. My flat has problems – cold and no outdoor space. Dave’s is small. And neither of us wants to be beholden to the dictates and inefficiencies of a Housing Association. We will live together one day but where? Dave wants a house and a garden but I don’t think we can afford that in London. The future looks challenging…

Emma cancelled

Was supposed to be meeting my mate Emma on Thursday. She is over from Australia for a few weeks and was coming up to London to meet me and Dave for lunch. But then she tested positive for Covid. ๐Ÿ™ Hopefully there will still be time to meet before she goes back on the 26th April.

Catch-up with Phyllis

Had a phone catch-up on Thurs afternoon. He’s in Torremolinos and reporting that it’s like summer in terms of the weather. Great but the reservoir levels are still low and the forest fires have already started – the impact of global warming. Philip himself is fine and the scene is starting to get busy with Easter marking the start of the arrival of the tourists. I am definitely planning to visit later this year.

Sun with glasses

Art and Culture

‘Tristana’: great modern European cinema

In the rain to the cinema on Tuesday afternoon for this quixotic film at the Prince Charles cinema. Made in 1970, directed by cult film-maker Luis Brunuel, and starring Catherine Deneuve. The lunchtime showing was not too busy giving me the chance to sprawl out again. And really nice that the film was only an hour and a half long. This fits with my last blog (read it here) where I outlined the problems I have with films over this length.

Tristana is set in Spain in the repressive 1920s/30s. Basically it follows the life of a young woman who is taken advantage of by her guardian after her mother’s death. Things follow on through to the death of the guardian. Based on a book, it’s reminiscent of a stage play though the sense of time passing doesn’t always work. But the settings are great and it’s in French so good to practice my language skills again. Overall, recommended and you can read more about it here.

‘The Hunger’: classy horror but missed

Had a plan to go and see this at lunchtime on Friday at the Prince Charles Cinema. It’s a film I love. A stylish vampire movie that oozes the early eighties it was made in. And starring Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, and David Bowie – what a line-up. But my day of illness (see above) put paid to that. You can read more about the movie here.

Christopher Lee

Books and Reading

‘Doctor Who Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas’

Only one book finished last week. And it was this ‘Short Story Anthology’ edited by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright and published in 2007. That was just after the big Dr Who revival started on TV and these are stories featuring only the different regenerations up to Paul McGann (‘Classic Doctor Who’).

I am pretty sure that the ongoing appeal of Doctor Who is the subconscious draw of nostalgia. I hate being stuck in the past but we all have things from our childhood that reassures us and acts like a comfort blanket.

Suppose it’s ironic to be reading a collection of short stories based on a theme of Christmas in the run-up to Easter. And to be honest, it’s a collection really only for Dr Who fans. All the reliable Doctors and their companions are present but the book is lacking in old enemies. A shame but all the stories are whimsical being based on Christmas. And that is the problem, nice stories but nothing that really goes for the jugular.

Dr Who

Personal Development

Another case for improving on what I was bad at when young?

Lessons done every day on Duolingo though normal activity dipped a bit on my ill days. Main focus was Spanish. I wonder if my desire to develop my language skills is based on a subconscious need to make up for my failings with languages when I was at school? Particularly now that I understand how languages ‘work’ in a way that I just didn’t get then. There is definitely a similarity in my love of exercise and languages now that just wasn’t there when I was a boy.


I simply want the next generations to have a good life

My passion for tackling climate change is based on logic in that the overwhelming evidence says we are heading towards ecological disaster unless we take action fast. However, I also love nature. I love cities and don’t want to live in the countryside but I want to avoid environmental armageddon. Perhaps the subconscious element is that I want the generations coming after me not to suffer.

I have never wanted children, I’m too selfish. And I suspect the world would be a better place if more people were as honest about this as I am. But I don’t want my niece, nephew, or the children of any of my friends to have to live shit lives because of me. And it makes me so angry when I see other smug Baby Boomers and Generation X people who don’t give a toss. They live a life those after them won’t enjoy. Tomorrow’s people won’t indiscriminately fly everywhere nor indiscriminately throw away stuff. Instead they will be worrying about rising temperatures and water levels.

The Week Ahead

  • Feeling recovered so I plan to get 3 gym sessions and 2 jog-run sessions done. My plan is that I will simply carry on as normal despite it being Easter weekend.
  • Mum wants to cook yummy pancakes for me and Dave next Saturday as she was too ill to do this on Shrove Tuesday
  • Me and Dave are taking out Patrick and Frances for Easter lunch at the Union Jack Club on Thursday
  • Me and Frances are planning to go to the Royal Academy on Tuesday to see the exhibition ‘Spain and the Hispanic World’
  • Carry on with the Chinese sci-fi book I am reading: ‘Waste Tide’ by Chen Qiufan
  • QPR lost again 1-0 to Wigan. Preston at home on Good Friday and West Brom away on Bank Holiday Monday. Suspect we will lose both. I seriously think we are going to be relegated.

And Finally…

A week of depressing news. The death of the brilliant Paul O’Grady. And another school shooting, this time in Nashville. ๐Ÿ™

America is a crazy place

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