The Thinking Lab
Three Levels of Mind Mastery

The Thinking Lab offers an interconnected set of courses on all three levels of Mind Mastery.

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Level 1: Understanding Your Mental Needs

Before you can use your mind effectively, you need to understand it. In the Level 1 classes, you learn the theoretical foundations for everything in the Thinking Lab, plus the core skills that you will use in everyday situations, and build upon in the advanced classes.

In Level 1 classes you will learn:

  • How to overcome predictable mental obstacles that arise in solving complex problems
  • How to understand and deal with confusing emotional issues
  • The relationship between emotions and values
  • How anti-values you may have acquired over the years stop you from achieving your goals
  • Techniques for making these new skills second nature

Level 1 classes are the foundation for all of the other self-study materials in the Thinking Lab.

Click on the links below to explore Level 1: Understanding Your Mental Needs.

Level 2: Guiding Action with Thought

The benefit of learning to use your mind is that you can use your thoughts to guide your action. In the Level 2 classes, you learn how to guide action in three critical life areas: Productivity, Goal-Setting, and Communication.


In the Productivity classes, you will learn:

  • How to create and sustain motivation by aligning your conscious priorities with your subconscious value-hierarchy
  • How to build your own infrastructure to support making daily decisions about priorities, quickly and effectively
  • How to manage the mix of long-term projects, hot issues, and routine work so you manage all three
  • How to integrate your goals into a happy life by understanding daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and longer priorities.

Click on the links below to explore Level 2: Productivity.

Goal Setting

In the Goal-Setting classes, you will learn:

  • The three kinds of goals and how you overcome obstacles on each time scale
  • How to re-conceive long-term goals so that you achieve both real short-term results and progress toward the long-term vision.
  • How to develop a central purpose that gives meaning to all of your work and ensures your actions add up to a significant achievement
  • Tactics for validating objectives and making challenging goals doable.

Click on the links below to explore Level 2: Goal Setting.


In the communication classes, you will learn how to clarify your message before you communicate. You will learn:

  • How to eliminate defensiveness on both sides of a conversation
  • How to understand the other person’s perspective
  • Strategies for dealing with disagreement
  • How to organize your thoughts for writing
  • Tests for whether you understand your ideas clearly enough to communicate them

Click on the links below to explore Level 2: Communication.

Level 3: Gaining Mental Precision

The effectiveness of your thinking ultimately comes down to its clarity and precision. In Level 3 classes, you go deep into mastering conceptual clarity.

In the classes on Gaining Mental Precision, you will learn:

  • How to take an abstract idea that “floats” and connect it to emotionally real examples
  • How to analyze any written piece to see the structure of the argument and whether it validates the point
  • How to express a thought clearly
  • How to take an idea that you “kinda understand” and use your own knowledge and experience to make that idea crisp and clear

Click on the links below to explore Level 3: Gaining Mental Precision.

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Next Class

Thinking Lab Open Chat
Tuesday, March 31 
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern 
(12:00 noon Pacific, 1:00 p.m. Mountain, 2:00 p.m. Central)

and then:

Topic: Making a Task Non-Negotiable Without Forcing Yourself

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern plus 15 minute Q&A

(5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central)

In the old days, I used to force myself do things I didn’t want to do “because I said I would.” It seemed like an act of integrity. Eventually, I learned that this approach creates tremendous conflict. It fuels greater and greater resistance to doing similar tasks. So, I weaned myself from the duty premise and stopped forcing myself. Ever.

Instead, I developed many, many techniques to align reason and emotion, so that there was no conflict over doing what I thought I should do. These tactics are extremely helpful, and I recommend them. They are 100% psychologically healthy. But because of the nature of conflict, no method can guarantee a resolution in a specific amount of time. The truth is, some conflicts are too complex to be resolved before you need to act.

So I’ve also developed methods that help you act despite conflict. The problem with these is that they take a fair amount of energy. If you are in a negative state, it can be difficult to engage in them.

The latest tool, which I’ve adapted from Brooke Castillo, is what I call, “making a task non-negotiable.” You can use this approach when you see that you run into a particular conflict on a regular basis, and you want to have a standard response. In this class, you will learn:

  • Why you need to think in advance about why the action is “non-negotiable”
  • How to conceptualize your reason so that it will motivate you to act in your best interest when next you face this conflict
  • The two key things you need to remind yourself at the moment

I am quite excited about this method, because I see it as training myself in rational selfishness–and an objective approach to integrity.

Thinking Lab members receive call-in information for these classes.  Click here to join the Thinking Lab.

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