What is the Thinking Lab?
The Thinking Lab is a membership program for ambitious people who believe their own mental efficacy is critical to help them rise to new challenges. Mental efficacy includes: clarity, creativity, decisiveness, emotional resilience, and self-motivation.
Members of the program have access to all the material I (Jean Moroney) have developed over the last 20+ years for developing the logical, introspective, and productivity skills that result in mental efficacy. Basic membership in the program includes:
- One 50-minute onboarding interview when you join
- Monthly 1-hour teleclasses (recorded for members)
- Quarterly “Thinking Days” (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET) with access to my support throughout the day
- Eight 1-hour office hours sessions per year (recorded for members)
- Rationally Connected Conversations (RCC) practice sessions, every 2-3 weeks
- Unlimited access to the library of thinking skills
- Self-study-supported access to 9 major courses on logical, introspective, communication, and productivity skills, including: Tap Your Own Brilliance, Smarter Execution, Just-in-Time Planning, How to be Passionate About Your Priorities, Non-Fiction Writing, Condensation, Concretization, Definitions, Creating a Scheduling Infrastructure, and Making Thinking Tactics Second Nature
In addition, I offer 50-minute one-on-one consults on any of these topics for Deluxe members (one per month) and VIP members (two per month). Deluxe and VIP members also get complimentary admission to any paid teleclasses or webinars I offer during their membership.
Already ready to join?
Three reasons to join the Thinking Lab, one result:
Different people join the lab for different reasons. Here are the top three:
- You are focused on self-improvement, and see improved mental efficacy as foundational to your own progress
- You want a mentor to help inspire you to achieve your challenging goals, one who will not try to do your thinking for you
- You want to improve ineffective thinking habits that you picked up or learned from others–and mental efficacy is your means of doing that
What underlies all three of these reasons is: ambitious goals. An ambitious goal is the mightiest motivation for gaining mental efficacy.
Are you focused on self-improvement?
If you pursue challenging goals, you know there is always something you can improve in yourself. No matter what skill you learn, there is always a next level to master. There is always some area you are stepping up to improve.
The skills taught in the Thinking Lab support all kinds of self-improvement.
Introspective skills help you catch problems early when it’s easier to fix them, find creative paths to follow when you need a new approach, and generally get out of your own way so that you can work effectively without strain. They give you confidence in your mind as it stands, even as you grow it.
Productivity skills help you set goals you want to achieve, resolve conflicts that act like sand in your gears, and break projects into doable, interesting, engaging parts that you can’t wait to take action on. They give you control over your time and your life.
Logical skills help you test ideas as you go, consolidate what you learn, and (if needed) communicate it more effectively. They give you clarity about what you’re doing.
Most people have mental efficacy in some areas of their lives. However, expanding these to other areas is not always so easy. The Thinking Lab offers proven techniques to help you widen the area over which you have the confidence, clarity, and control that comes with mental efficacy.
Do you wish you had a mentor?
Every ambitious goal is made easier with the feedback and encouragement of someone who has been through similar experiences before. But if your goal is unique, you may find yourself working in isolation, without the cognitive, emotional, and motivational benefits of a mentor.
For some people, I make an ideal mentor. I may not know the specifics of your industry. But I know all about how to deal with growing pains, how to transform vicious cycles into virtuous ones, and how to manage your own mind as you pursue challenging goals. In addition to working to change all of the ineffective thinking habits mentioned in the next section, I have faced many other work challenges, including:
- The challenge of working alone. I found it easy to be productive when I worked in corporate America and someone else set the schedule and the priorities. Once I was working for myself, I had to solve dozens of problems to maintain my productivity.
- The challenge of communicating new ideas. My ideas don’t fit exactly in any existing bin. I have had to learn how to speak, write, and converse with people who, initially, have no particular interest in what I’m doing. And I’ve had to resist others who encourage me to change what I’m doing to something everybody already knows they want.
- The challenge of running a business, having never expected to do so. Among other things, I had to develop the personal motivation to learn sales and marketing skills–which I had no aptitude for, respect for, or interest in learning when I started out.
- The challenge of maintaining health. Over the last 25 years, I have overcome three chronic health challenges, each of which prevented me from working for significant periods. I know what it means to change your life to maintain your health. I take care of myself every day to avoid recurrences of these problems.
I use stories from my life in all my newsletters and classes. For many people, especially those facing similar challenges, these stories are inspiring. I try to implement Voltaire’s maxim: “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”
However, I think the reason some people find me a helpful mentor is my approach to coaching. Rather than offering advice and opinions, I offer methods for finding answers yourself. In one-on-one consults or office hour calls, members raise tricky issues, and I share how I would approach the problem, and often talk the member through the steps.
I know from my own experience pursuing challenging goals that another person rarely understands your context of knowledge and your value-hierarchy in enough depth to solve your problems for you. That is why so much advice is unhelpful.
However, other people can be a big help — if they know how they solve problems, make decisions, and clarify issues, they can explain their process for doing so. Since I’ve been focusing on the “how” for over 20 years, that’s my particular forte. That makes me a good choice of mentor for some ambitious people.
Ready to join?
Are you concerned you have some ineffective thinking habits?
If you consistently pursue challenging goals, you will eventually want to do things that are very difficult for you. If you keep learning, you will eventually discover that some of the hardest improvements to make involve ineffective thinking habits. Here are 5 common but ineffective thinking habits (a.k.a. psycho-epistemological problems):
1. Subjectivity: you hold your own beliefs and values as givens, rather than as conclusions you reached by a definite, re-callable process.
Symptoms: You are surprised when people disagree with you or have different preferences. You often have trouble explaining why you believe an idea or why you value some person or thing.
Practical Obstacles Created: You have to rethink everything from scratch when there’s a problem. Other people often misunderstand you. You have trouble leading a team.
2. Rationalism: you treat ideas as deductive constructs.
Symptoms: You believe you know everything about what another person thinks on the basis of one sentence he utters. You often have trouble concretizing what you mean by an idea.
Practical Obstacles Created: You buy into dubious theories that don’t work in practice. You often misunderstand other people. You have trouble following a leader because his strategy doesn’t match yours.
3. Emotionalism: you treat emotions as evidence of truth and/or value.
Symptoms: When someone points out an indisputable fact inconsistent with your views, you feel cornered rather than curious. You often have trouble clarifying goals in terms of existential outcomes, as opposed to how you want to feel at the end.
Practical Obstacles Created: Your goals don’t motivate you. You communicate unclearly. You experience significant internal conflict.
4. Secondhandedness: you treat other people’s opinions as important per se, regardless of whether they are true and valid.
Symptoms: When other people disagree with you, you feel embarrassed or ashamed, or you feel desperate to change their minds. When you are pursuing a goal, images of other people’s reactions to your actions invade your thinking. Their concerns are a major consideration.
Practical Obstacles Created: You are pulled around by what other people think. You are indecisive. You don’t function well in a crisis when others are upset.
5. Duty Mentality: you treat your desires as irrelevant to your conclusions about what you should do.
Symptoms: You describe the obstacles to your goals in terms of temptation and resistance. You often feel you have to force yourself to do what is right. If you don’t, you feel guilty.
Practical Obstacles Created: You over-commit. You feel unmotivated. You work well only under pressure.
These ineffective thinking habits are based on wrong theories about how to gain knowledge, theories that you may not even know. The habits are normally formed by modeling other people’s behavior, “by osmosis.” Qua habits, they feel completely normal. But as a result of the ineffective thinking habits, you make the same kinds of mistakes, again and again, without even noticing you are making them. You see only in hindsight that something was wrong. Even then, many people conclude “something is wrong with me” or “I just don’t have the talent for this.”
Developing methods for retraining thinking habits is my central career goal, and virtually everything in the Thinking Lab was developed with an eye to improving them. Every tactic helps both to achieve short-term success, and to retrain ineffective mental habits over the long term. Generally speaking, the introspective skills help with all of the five problems I mention above, the logical skills help with subjectivity, rationalism, and emotionalism, and the productivity skills help with emotionalism, secondhandedness, and a duty mentality.
The idea that people have thinking habits (a “psycho-epistemology”) that can be changed is new, unique to Ayn Rand, and very little discussed–except in the Thinking Lab.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Thinking Lab right for me?
My goal for the Thinking Lab is that you develop the power of your own mind, which includes:
- the confidence you can learn a skill if you decide you need it
- the certainty you can change your automatized beliefs if you conclude they are mistaken
- the conviction that you can resolve any internal conflicts once you discover them
If you are wondering if the Thinking Lab is right for you, I offer a free 20-minute introductory consult. Just fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
Why are there so many more courses available in the Thinking Lab than the three offered on the Thinking Directions site?
The Thinking Lab format permits ongoing study, so more courses are appropriate for it.
The three courses described on the Thinking Directions site, “Thinking on Your Feet,” “Taking Action,” and “Crossing the Finish Line,” are self-contained, polished courses that can be presented in a relatively short time frame. These are suitable for corporate and public programs on productivity.
In contrast, the Thinking Lab courses include some that require significant homework and some that are focused on personal development.
If you’ve attended any of my public or corporate courses, and want more material, in more depth, with more guidance, the Thinking Lab is the place where you can access versions of all the major courses I’ve developed.
What is “self-study supported access?” Why aren’t all the modules available for immediate download?
Six of the in-depth courses in the Thinking Lab are offered with “self-study supported access.” This means that you don’t get all the modules for the class at once. The introductory lesson for each course is available on the Thinking Lab site. After you listen to a lesson and send me the homework and/or notes from that lesson, I send you the link to the next lesson, plus at least some feedback or encouragement about your work. There are several reasons for this policy:
- Everybody seems to do better with a little encouragement and feedback
- Getting members’ work helps me stay connected to their needs and progress
- There is already sufficient material available on the Thinking Lab site to keep the most industrious new member busy for several months. Getting all the course material at once would be overwhelming, demoralizing, and counterproductive
- Many of the classes available in the Thinking Lab are working versions rather than polished, finished products. Some of them are over 15 years old, and would benefit from updating. That means you can expect to have questions and need clarification. Hence, they are available in a form that guarantees access to my feedback and support.
To aid with the self-study programs, once a quarter I schedule a “Thinking Day.” This is an all-day (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET) event in which members of the Thinking Lab take a day of self-study. We meet on the phone in the morning to kick off the day. I am available all day by phone or email to answer questions and give encouragement.
As preparation for a Thinking Day, you can get unlimited access to one of the self-study programs (your choice). If you choose, you can work through that program before and/or during the Thinking Day, so you can get live feedback from me at the time you work through it.
Note: once you have access to a module from one of the courses, you never lose access to it.
Is the Thinking Lab just for Ayn Rand fans (Objectivists)?
No. It’s for anyone who resonates with my approach to problem-solving and decision-making.
However, my tips and teleclasses in the Thinking Lab tend to be “work in progress.” That often means I am working out an idea, which (for me) always involves analyzing it from an Objectivist viewpoint. As a result, I discuss Ayn Rand’s work more often and in more depth in the Thinking Lab than I do in the polished courses I offer to corporations and the general public.
In addition, because Ayn Rand stressed the importance of thinking, her fans are more likely to be concerned about their thinking methods. Thus, the Thinking Lab attracts a disproportionate number of Objectivists, but it is not just for Objectivists.
How much does it cost? How do I join?
Basic membership is $75/month. Deluxe membership is $175/month (one 50-minute consult/month). VIP membership is $275/month (two 50-minute consults/month). Payment links are below, if you are ready to join. Otherwise, why not have a free 20-minute consult with me to discuss whether the program is right for you? Please note: The Thinking Lab has a 3-month minimum.
Email me for annual payment options.