Power of the Subconscious Mind

by Dilip P Naik
(Goa, India)

Group Size - Small

Group Abilities - All Abilities
Icebreaker Purpose - Teamwork
Preparation - none
Materials - a wooden broom handle or similar
Time - 10 minutes

Have your group of 4 or 5 people stand in two lines facing each other. Ask them to extend their hands, holding both palm together closed and their first finger out. Ensure all palms and fingers are in one line and level.

Place the wooden broom handle or light plastic pipe gently on the extended fingers, ensuring everyone is touching it and supporting it's weight.

Now comes the tricky bit. Ask the group to lower the pipe, but stress that their fingers must always remain in contact with the broom/pipe.

Everyone will be so focussed on keeping their finger on the broom/pipe that the group will not be able to lower it. Indeed, often the group will do the opposite and raise the broom/pipe.

This icebreaker demonstrates the power of the subconscious mind and how it can affect team work. You can ask the group to try again and come up with a strategy that allows them to successfully lower the broom/pipe.

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