A subliminal message is a message that passes under the radar. It is not intercepted en route by your conscious mind. To use Freudian terminology, it avoids the super-ego, which might otherwise criticise or reject it. Think of that super-ego as the little voice that keeps telling you things like "it won't work!", "you shouldn't do it!", "there are too many problems!", "yes, but ..." etc. If you can get the message in without allowing that voice to intercept it you have a much greater chance of succeeding.
Many people get quite nervous about the idea of subliminal messaging. They imagine all kinds of instructions going into their unconscious mind and then making them do things they have not chosen to do. They see it as something that could counter their free will.
The reality, however, is quite different. Research at the University of Warwick over 10 years ago showed that although subliminal messaging can influence your decisions and actions, it cannot do so in a way which is counter to your original intention.
This not only means you may need to re-evaluate your view on the "dangers" of subliminal messaging, but also need to think very carefully about how you are using it. If you are using subliminal messaging as a part of your personal development programme you cannot simply set up your subliminal software or listen to some music with underlying subliminal messages and expect this to work immediate powerful changes. Before you start trying to work subliminally you must first work on a conscious level.
For example, if you listen to a subliminal mp3 designed to make you give up smoking but have not made a conscious decision that you want to give up smoking, that mp3 is not going to be much help. Make the conscious decision first, though, and if it is well produced it can be very powerful indeed.
Many people leave out this important step, and then wonder why the change is not happening. Do not fall into this trap. Decide first on what changes you wish to make. Don't worry about how you are going to make them or even whether or not you believe they are possible, as if you start doing that you will be inviting your super-ego to sabotage your efforts. Just decide exactly what it is you want to happen. Once you have done this, use subliminal techniques to start the inner change process.
You can use subliminal messaging to achieve a very wide range of goals. These include improving your ability to study, improving your memory, quitting bad habits such as smoking, etc. It is by no means the "be all and end all" of personal development, but if you include it in an overall programme for change you should find it a great deal of help.
I would like to thank James Stapley (http://www.jamesstapley.com) for supplying the radar image used at the top of this article.