The Back 98™: A Blog Series about Your Nonconscious Brain


Welcome to a blog series I call: The Back 98.™

What does that phrase refer to?

The phrase refers to the nonconscious parts of your brain, your most fantastic, untapped resource at work. I'll offer a series of posts on how to use parts of it to improve your performance at work.

Why do you call it "The Back 98"?

Folk lore says we control about two percent (2%) of our brain neurons when conscious compared with 98% that we do not control. Exactly how much of the brain fires up due to our "conscious" effort is in dispute.

Why 98? Are you sure 2% of our brain supports consciousness: did you just make that up?

Again: folk lore and not much science hints that consciousness takes up about 2% of our brain; leaving 98% as nonconscious. Whether 98%, 90% or 0%: we might as well start somewhere. I choose 98%.

What's the point if you don't know the right number?

We can agree we don't control our entire brain (good news for most of what happens, true?). Still, can you actively control parts of your nonconscious brain? Should you? I'll explore those questions in this series.

Have at it: are there specific parts of the back 98 I should control?

Yes. That question highlights the point of this series. Breakthroughs in neuropsychology and business management hint at how we can better manage our brains. Better brains mean better performance and better results at work.

Why manage my brain; isn't the problem managing and leading other people?

You're not suggesting another book about leadership! Compelling evidence mounts: manage yourself better and you will manage and lead others better. The ancient advice still rings true: know thyself.

Aren't you just describing emotional intelligence, mindfulness, 5th level leadership?

Yes: all of those apply. Stephen Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People does too, as do insights from Deming, Drucker and other management gurus. Jung and fellow psychologists explored these truths and of course, millions are guided by spiritual leaders including Jesus Christ, Lao Tzu, Buddha and others. The focus of much brain research for the moment is on the self. This is good news, as brain science continues to describe in ever more precise detail what happens when we think and feel and do things.

You mean focus on self never left our cultural conscious: it's an ancient preoccupation?


It's just different now because of breakthroughs in brain science?

Quite right.

And you'll discuss how to manage my brain to improve my work efforts?


Who else recommends a brain-focused approach for the workplace?

I am not alone in this effort: coaches, facilitators, and psychologists are joining forces to get the word out. This blog series will simply offer you my highlights: my 2¢. I intend for you to enjoy the experience.

What parts of The Back 98 do you have in mind to talk about?

Here is a starter list. I will consider these areas in this series:

1) Learning and the Brain (;

2) The Brain and Change (;

3) The Amygdala and Our Threat Response (;

4) Ego: Shrink Wrap for Our Selves (;

5) Brains in the Zone;

6) Social Brains, Social Needs;

7) Decisions and the Brain;

8) "Whole Brain," Whole Effort, Whole Benefit;

9) Catch the Fever: Goal Setting with the Brain in Mind;

10) Placebos in the Workplace: The Case for Leadership and Management Pills.

Are you going to say more?

Yes, just not right now. I look forward to sharing this exciting area of brain-focused, work-related information with you. Let's claim some of the precious real estate of our nonconscious brain; it's waiting for us in The Back 98.

Stay tuned,

Kevin Leahy, Founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC


The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily The University of Texas at Austin.

About The Author

Kevin Leahy

Communications Specialist and Founder, Knowledge Advocate

I learned my communications skills during 15 years as a trial lawyer. My background informs business consults where I passionately share the right...


#1 I always heard it was 80/20,

I always heard it was 80/20, but whatever number it is, the non conscious brain is very powerful. I can't wait until we learn more about it.

#2 Happiness is an integral part

Happiness is an integral part of emotional intelligence. As long as you are happy you have a better mindset of your personal goals in life.

#3 Very interesting subject. I

Very interesting subject. I would love to learn how to use more of my brain. I'll be watching for your posts.

#4 Very happy to see cognitive

Very happy to see cognitive science brought to bear in the business world. So much focus in business is on financial metrics and management as an institutional tool-- it will be refreshing to get some insights on personal growth and betterment that transcends the normal discourse.

#5 Welcome Kevin. I'm looking

Welcome Kevin. I'm looking forward to your series. I think I may be only charging with a Back 99.

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