Signs everywhere show that a new worldview, along with the mindsets and beliefs that will help us make it real, are emerging all over the world. In fact, the experts who study these issues estimate that as much as 5 percent of the world’s adult population are already looking for ways to develop this new worldview and the new modes of thinking, feeling, and interacting that go with it.
If you’re one of this 5 percent, it’s probably because you want a clearer, more expansive view of life. You especially want to know how our society's most polarizing issues can be integrated in ways that bring us together rather than push us farther apart. And, you want to know how the issues that our leaders can’t yet quite fit together – like science and spirituality, technology and the arts, or conservative and liberal worldviews – can be either reconciled or integrated.
7 transformational Signs
If you’ve ever asked yourself “Where am I in all this?" read on. What follows is a description of seven signs that can tell you whether someone who want's to pursue your own transformation. Each of these seven signs suggest you’re at least interested in beginning to explore for yourself useful, manageable ways of discovering this century's more complex forms thinking, feeling, and acting.
Here’s a brief listing of the seven signs that will tell you if you are one of this 5 percent. Weigh each sign carefully; which one sounds and feels like you?
- Transformational Sign #1: You want to put into practice new skills that will help you become a more successful entrepreneur and/or effective leader.
- Transformational Sign #2: You want credible answers to important personal and professional questions; answers grounded in the very best leading-edge science and philosophy.
- Transformational Sign #3: You want to deepen your personal and professional perspectives in order to improve important but problematic relationships.
- Transformational Sign #4: You believe adults can grow and develop throughout their lives, and you want to learn how to make this real for you both personally and professionally.
- Transformational Sign #5: You want to work with other adults who value mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity -- those who will help you become more sophisticated and insightful.
- Transformational Sign #6: You want to learn how to learn how to encourage and support others who, like you, are working hard to fully realize their own development.
- Transformational Sign #7: You want a way to make sense of your life and a world that every year are becoming more and more complex, more and more challenging.
Which of these signs sound like you? What follows is a description of seven doorways you can use to initiate an exploration of these transformative signs. These seven transformational doorways described below will show you how to initiate, expand, and/or accelerate your own transformative efforts.
7 transformational Doorways
In my February 2018 blog, Lost in the 21st Century, I suggested that you, like others who are searching for a better understanding of today's complexities, may feel like you're wondering in the 'in-between wilderness' that's so characteristic of life in the 21st Century. Three decades ago Robert Kegan, in describing the first whispers of this conundrum, offered the proposition that few among us are truly equipped with the modes of thinking and feeling skills that we need to comprehend this new world. We all were, Kegan told us, "in over our heads." Here, in this blog, I’m expanding this proposition, suggesting that while many of us may in fact be in over our heads, it’s also true that we are nonetheless ready to explore the more effective, more complex modes of thinking, feeling and acting that are highlighted below.
So, what follows just below are seven doorways that, in my experience, are effective ways to initiate, deepen, and/or accelerate you own personal transformation. Take a look at each of these doorways; Which one(s) seem like they might open up a transformative path that would move you forward, either personally or professionally?
Doorway #1: Kegan’s Transformational Languages
Everyday, the assertions you offer your friends, the explanations you give your colleagues, and the stories you share with your loved ones are delivered using words that you’ve drawn from deep within. In his book, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, Robert Kegan shows how training yourself to talk in new ways about things like personal commitment, personal responsibility, and your family-of-origin assumptions will automatically reflect back on you, prompting significant changes in the soft-wiring in your brain and mind and, most importantly, in the real-world action that follows.
Doorway #2: Cozolino’s “Vital Half-Second”
A half second may not seem like much to you, but for your brain it’s a very, very long time. It takes 500-600 milliseconds (half a second) for your conscious mind to register incoming information. But your primitive brain’s threat management system processes the sensory, motor, and emotional inputs it’s getting in 10-50 milliseconds. This difference between these two time frames is impossible for us to comprehend because our brains are constantly constructing the illusion that we are in conscious control of our own thought processes and motor reflexes. Louis Cozolino, in his book, Why Therapy Works: Using Our Minds To Change Our Brains, explains all this in understandable ways. He goes on to offer techniques that will help you learn how to insert some conscious awareness inside this vital half second in ways that will allow you to increase your conscious control over what, previously, were automatic reactions to any perceive threat.
Doorway #3: Kegan’s Immunity to Change
One of the strangest facts about human beings is how desperately we desire change, yet how strenuously we fight against it as if our very lives depended on keeping the status quo secure. We want change, yet we simultaneously resist it.
You may have seen this in a loved one. You may even have recognized it in yourself. You’ve wanted to change something about yourself, and consequently repeatedly committed yourself to it, yet, you kept on failing to make the changes. Kegan suggests you were and are wired to resist any changes you've committed yourself to making.
Kegan and Lahey’s book, Immunity to Change: How To Overcome It and Unlock The Potential In yourself And Your Organization, is all about this phenomenon. In it they explain how your persistent failure in the face of your strong intentions is an example of what they call our ‘psychological immune system’ at work. We, they say, always react automatically to any attempt to change ourselves by making sure we do just enough to maintain our existing sense of self and our current sense of the way the world works. In this book, they describe in full detail a simple exercise that can help you gain control over your "immunity to change" resistances.
Doorway #4: Prehn’s Reframing
One of the more important things you can realize about yourself and the world you live in is that, while the world around you is constantly changing, becoming more and more complex, you likely are still perceiving and interpreting the world through the mindset you inherited from your parents, i.e., people who were born 40 to 90 years ago. This, in today's world, is like trying to compete in the Indianapolis 500 while driving a 1910 Model T.
Your mindset is a complex set of unquestioned and unquestionable assumptions, presumptions, and beliefs you hold about others, the world, and yourself. A mindset is the set of unconscious tools that you use to make sense of the world. Annette Prehn, like other researchers, authors, and consultants working in this area, firmly believes your mindset is malleable. Moreover, she’s clear your mindset can be intentionally reframed so that it offers a better match for today’s complexities. She’s created two splendid Udemy courses that can help you do just this. The free course is titled The Neuroscience of Reframing And How To Do It, and the master class is titled Master Your Mindset and Brain: Firestorm Your Way To Success.
Doorway #5: de Witt’s Worldview Assessment
Worldviews are deeply buried models, maps, and schema about the origins of life and the universe that entire societies adopt to show their citizens how to interpret and understand the outside world. Worldviews are highly abstract, philosophical schemas about truth, knowledge, and the symbolic meaning of all the things we as individuals start absorbing and using the moment we start breathing. We use these presuppositional beliefs to interpret everything without ever knowing when, how, or why they determine our feelings and actions.
Few people who know about the worldviews active today can help you understand both the historical and the contemporary nature of these worldviews, but Dr. Annick de Witt is one of them. She's interested in helping individuals understand these alternative worldviews and, as well, find ways of expanding their own worldview and mindset preferences as a way of improving their thinking and their actions. In this respect, one of the most interesting and useful ways Dr. de Witt helps us, as individuals, is through her Worldview Awareness Test. This test helps you examine whether your own worldview preferences tend towards a Traditional, Modern, Post-Modern, or Intergrative Worldview.
Doorway #6: TLO’s Three Circles of Awareness & Concern
Two key frames of reference -- today and tomorrow -- are basic templates that we all use to understand our lives. These two frames divide time into metaphorical categories that give us phrases like now and then, the present and the future, and today and tomorrow -- the verbal trestles on which we hang our sense of what we're currently experiencing, and what is going to be happening to us tomorrow.
Instead of two, TLO’s Three Circles of Awareness and Concern offers you three pre-conscious frames of reference, each of which highlights in different ways the stereotypes, cognitive biases, and habitual modes of thinking that each of us uses to walk ourselves into our life’s events. Each of these three templates show us how to reach a little deeper and search for the worldviews, orders of consciousness, and mindsets we habitually use so that we can wonder seriously about when, where, and how the implicit images and sensations these three frames hold are either helping us or keeping us from understanding and effectively responding to the most confusing, problematic, and threatening aspects of our lives.
Doorway #7: TLO’s Self-Directed Learning
The 21st-Century's newest discoveries are clearly pointing us towards three new types of learning:
The experiential learning needed to strengthen the skills we already have, especially those that are producing less than optimal personal or professional results.
The experiential learning needed to develop the new skills we have to have if we're going to respond effectively to the 21st Century's new entrepreneurial and leadership challenges.
The mindset reframing efforts needed if we're going to alter the basic assumptions and presumptions we currently hold about our lives and the world we live in that all too rapidly are becoming outdated.
These 21st Century discoveries are also proving we need to pay attention to three new propositions about learning:
- By themselves, our high school diplomas, college degrees, and third-party training certificates, no matter how advanced, can never give us the kind of education that guarantees us we'll successfully develop the knowledge, modes of thinking, and behavioral skills needed to thrive in today's new world.
- Beyond our formal educational accomplishments, we each have to know how to design and implement our own experience-based, self-directed learning programs. We all need to know how to create new developmental opportunities that will help us improve the skills we already have, encourage the new entrepreneurial and leadership skills we need to develop, and reframe our outdated modes of thinking in ways that more effectively respond to today's challenges and opportunities.
- The most important new development that 21st Century research offers us about all this is what's now being called "Self-Directed Neuroplasticity." This approach to learning is grounded in two radical propositions. First, that the hardwiring in our adult brains is not, as was once thought, highly stable and permanently fixed. Rather, it's highly malleable. Second, that our brains' hardwiring is constantly changing, and open to conscious influence. The new slogan that reflects these ideas says it this way, "We can use our minds to change our brains, and our brains to change our minds."
These three discoveries are the heart of TLO’s Self-Directed Learning programs. They are the ideas and techniques that power our new Inform, Educate, and Transform suite of programs.
7 Signs - 7 Doorways
There's no doubt the new technologies, inventions, and discoveries that paradigm busters like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are bringing into our lives are rapidly accelerating what looks to be fundamental, world-wide changes. Many of which either already are, or very shortly will be, demanding from each of us the ability to develop ourselves in ways that let us adapt and respond to radical new modes of thinking, feeling, and acting. Simply put, it's now apparent that we have to at least begin to learn how to design and launch our own self-directed learning journeys. The 7 signs and 7 doorways offered above, in this context, are simply an invitation to stop a moment and assess how overwhelmed by today's accelerating rates of change you're feeling, and then to ask yourself whether any one of the 7 doorways offered above sounds interesting enough for you to walk through.