Toastmasters International is nonprofit educational organization focusing on public speaking and leadership. It has millions of clubs all over the world, including the US and China. I spent quite some time at a Chinese bilingual club in California. Now everything moves online and below is a speech I gave recently.‍

Learning with Subconsciousness

When we study math, physics, languages or philosophy in school, we are learning logical thinking. Logical thinking is learning to become clear about what we know and what we don’t know, to derive new concepts from old knowledge in a very rigid systematic way, and to doubt everything which doesn’t have a solid foundation.

However, is life so obvious and simple? Have you seen people who read a book and say nothing, but start working very hard several days later? Have you heard of people who happen to solve a problem in their dreams? Have you witnessed people who get poor grades in literature classes, but suddenly start to write a lot of articles and even poems?

This tells us that, other than the consciousness we can talk about everyday, there is a huge world of subconsciousness, which helps us to learn deeply in our mind and make some magic moves in our lives.

Dear president, fellow toastmasters, today I am going to share with you my experience about learning with subconsciousness.

Toastmaster club

A vivid example is this toastmasters club.

My wife always tells me that the meeting only takes one hour and a half each week, and it will be very helpful for me. She says I should come here.

I totally agree that this club is very helpful, especially for people like me who need a lot of improvement in terms of pronunciation, accent, gestures, face expressions, eye contact, grammar and many other aspects. I can envision what I will get by attending this meeting regularly. Also, I see the difference in the progress made by regular attendees and occasional visitors.

But it is not always true that we only spend one hour or two hours each week, at least not for me.

If I need to give a speech, I usually write it at least one day before the meeting. My writing is very fast. I can write any speech within one hour. However, during all the time before the meeting even starts, I cannot keep myself from thinking about my speech. I think about how I am going to present, what message I want to convey, and how the audiences will feel. Even after the meeting, I would still be thinking about my performance and all the discussions we had in the meeting. The words from everyone would spin around my head for days.

This is not bad for me, but actually a very good thing. It means I really learn a big deal from every meeting and from all the members. If I attend meetings regularly, I will make progress not only on my speeches, but also on many other great things, such as the way I communicate with other people and how I view my life and the world.

When I saw the evaluations given by those young members in our last English meeting, I saw not only confidence from their fluent speeches, but also recognition and encouragement to the speakers. These personalities are great, and are hard to be described by words. One can say it is learning by doing. But I would also attribute it to learning by subconsciousness.

This is a very wonderful club. I always enjoy it, and I am always with you physically or mentally. Every time I come to the meeting, I feel attacked by the greatness and kindness I experience here. I learn so much that I can no longer defend myself from not attending it. It is unfortunate that I currently can not afford a day long each week, but I will find time to attend at some point.

Physics

Another example of learning with subconsciousness is about physics.

At the age of 28, I am still a student, with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and almost a PhD degree, all in physics. If you ask me why I can get along with physics for so long, while it usually scares others, I am not going to talk about any experiences in my graduate school, but only a short period during my middle school.

When I was in eighth grade, I became very interested in physics. Every night, after dinner, and after finishing all the school work, I would sit in front of my desk. At that time, all the distractions were gone, and I would pick up a physics reference book, read it, and think through every part of it. Although I enjoyed it, I was so slow in the beginning. It took me a while to go through each single question. After one semester, I finished the whole book and I realized that I became fast when thinking about physics. I could usually give an answer to the question right after I hear it, without using any draft paper.

I am sure I learnt more than just formulas in that semester. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it just did the magic for me. Since then, I no longer suffer from physics like others do. I can handle the big picture of the physics world, do well in classes, and apply it to many parts of my life.

In short, something grew very strongly in my subconsciousness. It got into the state where everyone can notice it.

Right now, I still enjoy this method of learning with subconsciousness. I think about everything happening in my life, including every toastmasters meeting I attended. Everyday I have to spend some time on meditation. This doesn’t make my life busier, but simplifies my life. I appreciate all the things that happen in the silent background, which may change my life in the future. When I stop thinking, that is where all the complexes start. I will lose my meaning of life, and even no longer be able to make a good decision.

Frankly, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Many people just do things without thinking too much and live their lives with a different philosophy. Here I just shared my personal experience of the world of subconsciousness. If you are interested, you can use your curiosity to find it out.