If you do not have to think about it, you are not THINKING about it.

If I ask, “How much is 2 + 2?” You respond automatically with 4, if you have memorized your addition, .

Is it possible that you create neural connections in your brain that are triggered without “thinking?” Are those connections similar to the wiring of a computer? I believe there is ample evidence that we can program our brains for responses that do not require our continuous control.

Perhaps you have heard of the stages of competence. The unconscious incompetent person cannot do something but is unaware. An example is tying shoe laces. A child who has never seen shoe laces is unconscious incompetent when it comes to tying shoe laces. She does not know that she cannot do it.

When the child sees someone tying shoe laces, the child realizes that she does not know how. She becomes conscious incompetent. She is aware that she cannot do it.

Once she is taught how to tie shoe laces, she can perform the task with effort. Concentration is necessary. She becomes conscious competent.

As an adult with years of shoe lace tying experience, she can tie shoes while thinking about something else. She is now unconscious competent. She can tie shoe laces without thinking.

Neural programming seems to be an easy explanation for how our brains work. Ever head home and intend to stop at the store along the way, but find yourself passing the store while thinking about something other than going home or going to the store? You start the “go home” program and let it run.

How much of our lives are the result of programming that occurred in the past and we respond without thinking? We have accepted as “truth” things that we were told. Our prejudices, our politics, our religion, everything that we tend to argue about without questioning might be neural programs that need to be questioned and changed.

If you do not have to think about it, you are not THINKING about it. Think about it.