Modernize Your Mind
Bill Cottringer

The year 2020 might be a good time to think about modernizing your conventional mind, that is, if life hasn’t already forced you to do this. Here are some low-resistance, practical tips on facilitating mind- modernization:

1. Meta-thinking. While smart thinking usually leads to successful action, smarter thinking about your thinking will help you get rid of the bugs and it is the best way to keep headed in the right direction and avoid getting derailed. When you start knowing your own thinking, the most important insight is that your knowledge, beliefs, fears and truths, are all very questionable. In other words, what you think you know may not always be so. Purging misinformation is a good start to learning what is most useful—the kind of common sense that takes you from surviving to thriving into abundance.

2. Mindfulness. We humans are quite the time wasters—wasting so much time on thinking about past memories that are gone and trying to predict the future which hasn’t arrived yet. This is the way we miss all that is going on in the present moment, which is much more important and useful than the past that has already passed and the future, which isn’t here yet. Mindfulness of the present tense is the only place you get to exercise your free will of choice, or what to pay attention to and become more aware of right now. And this is the best way to control the few of the things you can actually control in life, and let go of the rest, in your mind-purging to make room for modern thinking.

3. Time. Conventional minds are controlled by conventional time—the illusion of the absolute truth of set time measurement in minutes, hours, weeks, months and years., or the set sequence from the past to the present to the future. This illusion is very hard to shake, at least until you start managing your time rather than letting it manage you. You can do this rather easily by taking more advantage of the fluid, psychological nature of time. After-all, doesn’t time seem to fly when you are having fun and drag by when you are bored? If this doesn’t help modernize your belief about time, try reading the little book “Einstein’s Dreams!”

4. Experiment. You can learn new information from reading and experiences, but most modern information comes from experimenting with things. This is also a good way to get more in touch with your own creativity—by experimenting with unusual re-arranging the parts of a thing or adding something different to the current mix of things. One of the most important things to experiment with is your perspective of looking at something, because what you see, and think is true are more related to the place and time from which you are doing the looking. If you don’t like what you see, all you have to do is change the time and place, which will result in seeing something different.

5. Thoughtful Action. Thought without action and action without thought are equally unproductive. To choose the action which will get the best results, in the easiest way and without any undesirable, nasty side-effects, requires some careful thinking and thinking about that thinking. Getting here involves becoming sensitive to the point of no return and when it is time to fish or cut bait. At some point you must let go and accept that it is time to act with what you know now. If the results aren’t what you want, then your judgment will be improved from the bad experience the next time.

6. Purpose. The conventional mind focuses on goals, which are future oriented, whereas the modern mind focuses on purpose which is more mindful of the present moment. When ever you lose yourself in thought, feelings or actions, stop and pause to reflect on the main purpose you have in what you are doing. Discovering your purpose is the best way to assure that you are doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons to get the right results, without any wrongs to it.

7. Influence. Conventional minds busy themselves with learning effective ways to inform others, while modern minds stay busy discovering new and better ways to influence others for the better. Books, songs, art and movies that work hard to inform fail. On the other hand, when these media discover how to influence the masses greatly, they become Oscar contenders, best-sellers, higher up numbers on the Billboard or otherwise famous. Modern leadership today is all about influencing and brokering is the method of choice.

8. Inquire. Conventional minds respond quickly, but modern minds stop to inquire. Most self-help gurus maintain that the smartest people ask smart questions rather than find smart answers. It is the smart questioning of sacred paradigms, like the traditional concept of time, which leads to creativity and progress. Mind modernization begins with inquiry and always goes past embracing half-truths and never becomes too certain, when what appears to be the whole truth, is discovered. With continuous inquiry, truth is always tentative, as it should be.

9. Change. The conventional mind fears change and favors familiarity, but the modern mind embraces change as being as true as gravity. Obviously, the best way to manage change is to be more mindful about time with a sharper focus on purpose. From there it is a matter of discovering how you can fit in and influence the direction of the change being to everyone’s benefit. That is how trends become popular and obstacles disappear, making the change familiar again.

10. Bench-marking. The modern mind strives to set new benchmarks, rather than looking for best practices for the conventional mind to adopt. Of course, the bench-marking talent arrives in the modern mind as a result of these other nine mind modernization actions. And since these things are all inter-related and influence each other reciprocally, then modernization can happen easily and quickly.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D., Certified Homeland Security (CHS) level III, is Executive Vice-president for Employee Relations for Cascade Security Corporation in Bellevue, Washington; sport psychologist, photographer and adjunct professor in criminal justice at Northwest University. He is author of several business and self-development books, including You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, ‘P’ Point Management, Reality Repair, Reality Repair RX, Thoughts on Happiness, Pearls of Wisdom: A Smart Dog’s Tale. He can be reached at 425-652-8067 or or