The Oscillating Nature Of Consciousness

Good people make bad decisions. Why? Because even “good people” aren’t always operating at a high level of consciousness.

Similar to our mood, our consciousness is constantly oscillating between higher and lower level frequencies. Highly conscious people may spend more time at higher levels of consciousness, and have a higher range of consciousness, but they’re also going to spend some time in lower levels of consciousness occasionally.

On an average week I may only spend an hour randomly wasting time on the internet, but when I’m at my worst I may spend 10 hours in a single day wasting time. Similarly, someone who’s riding a high streak of consciousness may eat a completely clean diet, but if they’re going through a tough time that same person may eat a diet consisting of almost entirely junk food.

99% of the time I may take positive actions, but because of the oscillating nature of consciousness I’m going to make poor decisions that are completely uncharacteristic of me 1% of the time. The key is to be aware that you’re going to be susceptible to making poor decisions and prepare yourself for those situations.

Preparing Yourself For Moments Of Lower Consciousness

1. Make your decisions during moments of higher consciousness. The worst time to make a major decision is when you’re depressed, or frustrated. Why? Because once you exceed a certain level of stress, or dip below a certain level of base happiness it’s nearly impossible to access your highest level mental resources.

At some level of stress or unhappiness your mind shifts from logical thinking to instant gratification thoughts seeking to alleviate your current situation as quickly (though often with no regards to sustainability) as possible. Making your decisions when you’re thinking clearly will allow you to make the best decisions you’re currently capable of.

2. As a general rule of thumb, don’t make major decisions while in your lower levels of consciousness. This rule may have to be broken if your life is in a state of perpetual lower level consciousness, but generally sticking to the decisions you’ve made during your moments of higher consciousness is a good guideline.

3. Discover what triggers your moments of lower consciousness. A big one that few people consider is sleep deprivation. When you’re low on sleep you’re operating at a lower level of awareness, and your will power decreases as well. Also consider people that bring out the worst in you, major causes of stress/negative emotions, and circumstances that particularly tax your will power.

If possible eliminate or limit the people or things that lead to your lower moments of consciousness, and when not possible make your major decisions during times away from those people or things. After those circumstances occur also be aware that you’re operating at a lower level of consciousness, and thus your judgements will be less accurate than they normally are.

4. Develop, and commit to a lifestyle that increases your range of consciousness. You’ll always experience lower levels of consciousness to some extent, but you can greatly reduce their frequency, and greatly increase the average level of consciousness you operate at.

This is what the majority of my blog, and other personal development resources focus on. By eating a good diet, exercising, meditating, reading good books, developing a social life, constantly challenging yourself, etc., you’ll be able to operate at a much higher level of awareness, and greatly decrease the frequency and severity of your lower level moments.


Wasn’t able to articulate my thoughts quite the way I wanted to here, but I hope you’re able to take some value from this post anyway.

I captured this post’s picture at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

[grwebform url=”” css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]