How To Use Incubation To Solve Hard Problems

How To Use Incubation To Solve Hard Problems by Charles Sledge

Your mind is more powerful than you can imagine. I know that’s usually used at the wind up for some half baked new age book or seminar but it’s also the truth. Great men throughout history have used the powers of their mind to accomplish great things (as well as basic things that just seem to pester them). Great industrialists, thinkers, philosophers, and everyday men have used their mind to solve their problems when they could not come up with the answer themselves.

Something that many people forget is that their mind was created to help, not hinder, them. However the mind like any other tool can only be of use if it is being used properly. Now the proper use of something as vast and complex as your mind cannot be summed up in an article (though a book is a good start). Here I am to address a method of using your subconscious mind to solve hard problems that you may be having. You know problems that no matter how hard you wrack your brain and from what angle you look at it you just can seem to come up with an answer.

The Subconscious And Your Mind

Your subconscious mind is always at work, it never rests or takes a break. Our subconscious mind takes up the majority of our mind and is where most of our behaviors come from. Our conscious mind is not the one running the show, rather it simply functions as a gatekeeper. It decides what goes in and what the focus of the powerful subconscious mind is on but it ultimately does not run the show.

Another way to think of the conscious mind is like the rudder of a ship. The rudder is no where near as powerful as the ship itself yet it does direct where it goes. So I don’t mean to say that your conscious mind is not important it certainly is. But when it comes to solving problems it can often come up short. Whereas your subconscious mind has a nearly unlimited supply of knowledge upon which it can pull from. There are multiple ways to make use of it, the incubation method is one of the best (as is this method).

Steps To Incubation

First things first you have a problem that is bothering you. It doesn’t matter how large or small it is your subconscious mind can figure it out. It could be something as simple as what to do for your father’s birthday this upcoming weekend or something as big as business plan’s to make you millions. The point is it’s a problem and you can’t figure it out. The size does not matter. Nothing is too trivial or too large for this method to work.

Step One – Gather The Information

The first step requires to use of your conscious mind. What you are going to do is assemble all relevant facts in regards to the problem you are having. The end goal that you would like, some options you think may help, any information that you feel is relevant to the problem. You are not trying to make sense of it you are simply assembling it.

Once assembled you are going to review over it. Try to see some connections and figure things out. You’re not going to otherwise you wouldn’t have used this method in the first place. Simply attempt to make some last minute brain wracking to produce something. Get it all out and get it all together. It may be helpful to do this in solitude. You want to exhaust the resources of your conscious mind at this point. Ask all the questions and look at all the angles.

Step Two – Write A Letter To Your Subconscious Mind

The next thing you are going to do is write a letter to your subconscious mind. Write down all relevant information. Imagine you are sending it off to a master at whatever your problem is but you need to make sure you adequately describing it so the master knows what to do with it. Free write until it is all out. Make sure to put down all relevant information and most importantly what you want the end result to be and when you want it by.

So for example you would finish you letter with “Your mission is to find the solution to the problem by tomorrow morning” or whenever you feel is enough time. Don’t underestimate your subconscious mind. I’ve gotten answers to complex questions with sleeping on them one night. You have to remember to put this in the letter don’t free write out everything then not give what you want to do explicitly. Imagine giving directions to a child, you want to make sure the directions are explicit and cannot be misunderstood.

Step Three – Forget About It

This was always the hardest part for me. Now that you have it all out and on paper and explicit instructions have been given to your subconscious mind it is time for you to let go of the problem. If you hold onto it your subconscious mind is not going to take it. It may be more powerful than your conscious mind but your conscious mind is still the boss. You have to forget about it…at least temporarily. Push it from your mind, don’t nitpick, don’t add to the letter, don’t even think about it.

Completely forget that the problem even exists for the time being. This is extremely important. I know it’s hard. It drives me crazy to give up control and not be in the fight but it’s needed for the process to work. Do whatever you need to do to forget about it. Work on another project (you should always have a project you’re working on), go out with friends, have some fun, work out, do whatever as long as it gets your conscious mind away from the problem and out of your conscious awareness.

Step Four – Open The Letter Once The Requisite Time Is Up

Whenever the amount of time you specified in your letter is up. Regardless if it was the next morning, two days, a week, or longer you open up the letter and go back through it. Usually the answer will be right there, however it may help to reread through the letter.

In the unlikely event that nothing pops into your mind you simply go to the bottom of the letter and write “let me know the minute you solve this” and then repeat step three. Completely forget about the problem. Have faith in your subconscious mind that the answer will be brought to you and it will be, trust me.


I know it can be hard giving up control, at least it is for me. But sometimes it’s the best option and we do nothing but wear ourselves out and down by sticking with a problem. We need rest and to let the incubation process have it’s intended affect. Your mind is always at work, it’s always up to something. Which is one of the many reasons mindset is so important.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect, even if you forget a certain piece of information that was critical you subconscious mind will be aware of it. Remember it’s aware of everything you conscious mind is and much much more. Trust it, it knows what it is doing. Better than you do in fact. Trust me your subconscious mind was made to help you and it will do so. Trust the process and give your conscious mind a much needed break.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it.

-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge