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You don’t decide. 95% of your actions are subconscious

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

You are more influenceable than you think.

Are we just puppets? or are we in control of our actions? Most likely the first option is the correct one. Just think about how easy it is to manipulate someone close to you, so you can benefit from their actions. Do you remember the last time you convinced your loved ones to lend you money or a friend to buy lemonade from your lemonade stand or even to tell them to jump into an Uber, when people were still scared of getting into a stranger’s car? You are more influential than you think, but most likely these actions don’t originate from you, instead, they come from organizations or society as a whole. You must wonder, then what the heck do I decide, and my honest answer is very little. | Brain drawing | "You control 5% of your actions"

Most of our actions originate from the brain, which is very easy to target. Brands just need you to hear or read a specific sound that is familiar to you or read something that appeals to your emotions somehow. This is called emotion appeal, and it is key in manipulation. Just to give you a perspective, around 95 percent of our actions are taken by our subconscious (Szegedy-Maszak, n.d.) while we just think 5 percent of them through.

Understanding most of the time you are not directly in control of your actions is key in using it to sell either your personal or firm’s brand to others and therefore influence people’s actions. That said in addition to knowing people don’t own their decisions, our actions can be easily predicted before they occur since they are taken by our unconsciousness (Soon, Brass, Heinze, & Haynes, 2008), which means emotions can be targeted almost perfectly beforehand.

Just think about when you do a very exhausting activity such as endurance running. You might be in good shape physically, but your brain tells you to stop even though all your vitals and body perform just good. This is called mental strength and it’s something most people lack and can lead to failure. According to a study conducted by our parent organization,, 31% of young entrepreneurs fail or give up because of lack of motivation or not truly believing in your product/ service. Although, this can also be applied to marketing, since if you give up on acquiring a potential customer you will not get too far and as mentioned before it will lead you to failure. This may happen because of the limited or wrong use of the “95%” mentioned. If marketing is used well, meaning you target people’s emotions and their subconscious activity, then it can be very easy to acquire new customers based on your target audience.

Some actions you can use to get to your target customer’s decision making are:

- Talk directly to them. You can mention their name or make them feel identified with the story your are telling, then you get their attention since you are not talking about your product/ service but about them and how you will solve their problems.

- Depending on your target audience, you might decide to use news or a historical events that happened in a time and place when your prospect was present at.

- Nationalism is a rising force globally, which means that appealing to nationalism sentiments might be a good idea to get your prospect’s attention and therefore convert them into your customer.

- If you have access to data such as gelocalization, usage time, and user’s performance of you current user base (it can be gathered through Google Analytics), then you can use that not just to better target you adudience, but to predict when they might need your service, based on external open-source data like weather, and news. Then the magic happens when internal data and external data are mixed together and used to reach a goal.

Talking entrepreneurship, it is just like a competition game, you must play it wisely by trying to mitigate your “95%” and use it to influence other people. The issue is that marketers and entrepreneurs, are humans too and around 72% of them experience mental health issues throughout their careers, compared to just 48% in everyone else (Freeman, Johnson, Staudenmaier, & Zisser, 2017). The point here is that brains are easily influenceable directly and indirectly, so you as a marketer and/ or entrepreneur must, first of all, know yourself and your company in order to later influence potential and current customers, otherwise, these potential mental health issues can consume you and lead you to failure.

To conclude, people are way more influential than you think up to a degree in which they do not think things through since just 5 percent of our actions are consiouslly made. Therefore, this makes the path to acquire and keep customers much easier if used currently. Also, in order to influence people, you must know yourself and your product/ service good enough in order to get to your customer’s unconsciousness to play in your favour.


Soon, C. S., Brass, M., Heinze, H., & Haynes, J. (2008, April 13). Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Retrieved from

Freeman, M. A., Johnson, S. L., Staudenmaier, P. J., & Zisser, M. R. (2017). Are Entrepreneurs “Touched with Fire”? (pp. 1-34, Rep.).

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