Ants, Elephants, and Dreams

This week here at Forging Fortitude we have a guest blogger. He is young, successful and I recently listened to a lecture he gave on the following topic and asked him to write a short post on it. Enjoy!

In this post, I hope to be able to share with you a bit about how your mind works, why it is important to become friends with your mind, and finally some tools you can use in your daily lives to achieve your dreams.

Generally speaking your mind is split into 2 sections:

1. The conscious mind, it deals with the thoughts you think.

2.The subconscious mind, it deals with the images you see in your mind.

In his book The Ant and The Elephant, Vince Poscente likens the conscious mind to an ant and the subconscious mind to an elephant.

He uses this analogy because of a speech given on November 12,1992 by Dr. Lee Pulos on the areas of psychology and personal growth. Dr. Pulos stated that in 1 second of thinking the conscious mind uses 2,000 neurons while the subconscious mind uses 2,000,000,000 neurons.

With these staggering numbers in mind, Vince Poscente uses a parable about an ant who finds out he has been living on the back of an elephant his whole life. The point being that no matter what direction the ant (conscious mind) thinks he is going or wants to be going, it is ultimately up to the elephant (subconscious mind)  where he ends up. The subconscious mind usually becomes “programmed” between the ages of 2 and 12 years old.

The two ways it gets programmed are:

1. Repeated Suggestion

2. Intensity

Throughout childhood we are bombarded with all kinds of new situations both repeatedly and intensely. These become the paths our elephant walks on over and over, and guides us for the rest of our lives. Unless we change them!

I want to share with you a powerful tool to use in your lives to change the paths your elephant is taking so that you can reach your goals and achieve your dreams.


The most important tool I use on a daily basis is what I call the dark and light journal. In order to know how to change our thinking we have to be aware of it. On average the human mind thinks about 60,000 negative thoughts a day. This tool helps you become aware of those thoughts.

Take a notebook and on a page draw a vertical line down the middle. On the right side of the line write 10 negative thoughts you heard during the day.  On the left side of the page write 2 positive thoughts for every negative thought.


I’m great at piano and play awesome!  |  I’m terrible at piano.

The reason you want to use two positive thoughts for every negative is that you start the day out at a certain level and when a negative thought comes it drops you a level. If you only replace it with one positive you will only be back where you started. If, on the other hand, you replace it with 2 positives you step up to a higher level.

After you have written both negatives and positives you can rip the negatives out of your notebook and throw them away or burn them.

Burning works really well because your subconscious sees that and remembers it.

I hope this has shed some light on how you can, on a daily basis, clean up your elephant and start to get it on the right paths.

I am humbled to be able to share this with you and wish you all that your dreams come true. Through applying this and by the grace of God they will come true. God bless.

Mike Harrison


My name is Michael Harrison and I am 25 years old. I am one of the owners of a pizza restaurant (The Hub) in Enoch, Utah, as well as a member of a leadership and personal development company called LIFE (Living Intentionally For Excellence). I am grateful to John for giving me this opportunity to share my insights with you.


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