• Thomas A. Wilson

Dude on the Couch

The subconscious mind in an underliving person can be likened to an overweight dude sprawled on a couch. In our analogy, he’s disheveled in a sleeveless tee-shirt complete with nacho cheese stains on the front. He shares this apartment-of-the-mind with his conscious roommate.

The conscious mind, having decided to turn over a new leaf, to adopt a new way of life, comes home and makes an announcement. “No more such-and-so!” he says. “This time, we’re going to apply the principles I learned in group, or at church, or from that book.” The conscious mind makes a good show of it—but to a careful listener, a line from Hamlet comes to mind. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Mr. Subconscious looks on with bemusement at his pontificating partner. At the end of the speech, these two exchange a long look, then Subconscious pops open a beer, turns back to the TV and sneers, “%$@# you!” In less than ninety days, the conscious mind ends up back on the couch, next to his domineering roomie—defeated once again.

The Man School affirmation process gives the conscious mind a tool to help motivate the subconscious. Affirmations (personal, positive, present tense pieces of artisan self-talk) can be likened to a cattle prod. When said two to four times a day, in a way that produces a vivid mental picture and a corresponding positive emotion, the subconscious gets a motivational jolt.

“Yelp!” he protests. After a bit of grousing and pouting, he settles back into his well-worn spot. If the affirmations stop, then everything settles back into the familiar routine. Things are as they’re “supposed” to be. But if the conscious mind persists with the prodding, then the subconscious starts to get the message. There’s a new sheriff in town—and he means business.

Then, Mr. Subconscious gets up off the couch and starts to exercise. He loses weight and takes a shower. He finds new, clean, clothes. Then an amazing thing happens. Subconscious and Conscious start to work together. They harmonize and collaborate as the apartment-of-the-mind gets a remodel.

Later, when it happens (and it happens to everybody), Subconscious watches his roommate’s back. It, of course, is that day when Conscious is hungry, angry, lonely, tired, stressed out, or bored. On that day, Conscious is vulnerable. Old Subconscious used to say, “You deserve a dose of feel good. It doesn’t matter anyway. Go for it. To h*ll with the rest of the world.”

But now, new Subconscious has a different narrative. In shape, clean, and clear-headed, he says, “You’re not like that. You used to be, but not anymore. No way you’re bringing that junk into our apartment! And deep down, I KNOW you don’t really want to. So, let’s call a friend, work out, meditate, or review Man School principles.” And the conscious mind does.

They may not live happily ever after, but they’re not in hell anymore, either.


The affirmation process changes desire, no matter if the desire is for sex, drugs, booze, or power.

Affirmation of the Week: I faithfully review and apply Man School principles every day.

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