Fundamentally: of great significance or entailing major change.

It is important for us to determine if we are living in fundamentally different times. It is imperative that we establish if the forces affecting modern society are a passing fad or if they are profoundly different. Will change continue to accelerate, or will we reach a new equilibrium where we can catch our breath for a generation or two?

All indicators point to the fact that we are in a fundamentally new era of accelerating expansion, and what it means to be human is shifting. Dr. Geoffrey West in his book Scale writes:

“We live in an exponentially expanding socioeconomic urbanized world.”

This transformation is so rapid that experts can only offer guarded conjectures on the world to come. For the first time in history, we have no idea what life will look like in twenty or thirty years. Dr. Yuval Noah Harari claims that resilience, mental balance and emotional intelligence are the most valuable skills in this nascent century.

We need a new mindset to help us navigate this new world. This article will explore the concepts of growth mindset and emotional intelligence. It will then offer some thoughts on how we need to expand our thinking in the 21st Century. We will call this expansion mindset: A new level thinking offered for your consideration in fundamentally different times.

There are four components to expansion mindset (EM):

a. Transformational Intelligence (TQ)

b. The Wisdom of Uncertainty

c. Consciousness Processing

d. Intentional Transformation Technology (ITT)

Transformational Intelligence (TQ)

This builds on the concepts of IQ and emotional intelligence (EQ). Intelligence quotient, or IQ, has been increasing for the last hundred years. EQ, first described by Daniel Goleman in the mid-nineties, has revolutionized the positive psychology movement and leadership management. Goleman discusses that once you meet a certain threshold level of intelligence, EQ is a much better predictor of long-term success, especially in organizations.

There are four basic components to EQ:

a. Emotional self-awareness

b. Emotional self-control

c. Empathy

d. Skilled relationship

Transformational Intelligence builds on and offers an upgrade to EQ. You must become fully competent in EQ and adapt it to this new era of humanity. With rapid change, rising levels of uncertainty and increasing stress, we must do more than manage our emotions. We must learn to create them in advance. The ability to proactively create your emotions, rather than manage them in the moment, is the key skill in TQ. Your emotions are a mental habit. Mental habits, in contrast to physical habits, do not have a lag phase. If you are not proactive, they have the potential to sweep you away, at least temporarily.

There is a simple algorithm for creating your emotions: mental focus, internal dialogue and physiology. When you take charge of these three aspects of your life, you can proactively create your emotions. This is an essential skill in any resonant relationship and is an excellent predictor of long-term success in your health, relationships and finances.

Become Comfortable with the Wisdom of Uncertainty

Your brain craves certainty and hates gaps. We have never been exposed to change at such a rapid pace, creating levels of uncertainty never faced by humanity. Be careful not to close the gaps with false, misleading or even dangerous information. You must learn to expect and embrace uncertainty. The old-world, slow pace of change gave us the illusion of certainty and stability. That world no longer exists.

There is a wisdom to uncertainty that makes life interesting. If your future was predetermined, if you closed every deal or won every game, your life would be immensely boring and unfulfilling. Too much uncertainty, however, will lead to oppressive levels of stress and anxiety. There must be a balance. Clearly, the future will provide greater levels of uncertainty. Expansion mindset will help you navigate this in a healthy way. There is one certainty that we must live with: the certainty of our death. This awareness will help you live a better life, now.

Consciousness Processing

Knowledge is doubling every 12-13 months. You must be aware of and able to navigate this rapid growth in a healthy, effective and productive way. Consciousness processing embodies four skills:

a. Identifying relevant sources of information. Relevance is determined in the context of your mission/vision for life. There is very little time to waste on the multitude of distractions. (This presupposes that you know who you are, who you want to become and have a clear vision for your life.)

b. Identifying reliable sources. This can be extremely difficult in the post-truth era of fake news.

c. Assimilating information effectively and rapidly.

d. Identifying when you need an expert. It is impossible to learn everything. You must know how to choose an expert and when to defer to him/her.

Intentional Transformation Technology (ITT)

For permanent change to take place, Dr. Richard Boyatzis discusses the five stages of intentional change theory. Change and/or transformation is not a linear process, and it requires reaching tipping points around these five, clearly identified “discoveries.” Discovery five emphasizes a resonant relationship with a teacher, coach, boss, family member, friend or political leader. There is a basic set of mental challenges that should also be considered. They have plagued humanity since we organized ourselves into civilizations. These are the core challenges that must be understood and transcended to move forward and transform your life in a predictable way. They include:

a. Negativity bias

b. Cultural bias

c. Emotional contagion

d. Comparison (The Law of Relativity)

e. Psychological time

Humanity has undergone radical environmental change. Our brains were built for survival, not happiness. Your brain is constantly scanning for threats. It is always asking, “What does this mean to me?” Or, “What’s wrong?” Evolution made the negative much more powerful than the positive, and for good reason. Years ago, one mistake meant you were extricated from the gene pool. It was always better to be safe than sorry. For 600 million years, our brains have kept our genes alive using this programming.

Unfortunately, this survival feature is now a glitch in the system. Rick Hanson, in his book Hardwiring Happiness, puts it this way:

“…one of the brain’s major design features for passing on genes [survival] is now a major design flaw, a ‘bug,’ in the twenty-first century.”

Intentional Transformation Technology looks to help you identify and bypass this bug, to upgrade your operating system so that you can thrive in the new age of transformation. We are fortunate; the vast majority of us are no longer exposed to the safety and survival threats endured by our ancient ancestors. Expansion mindset looks to transform your inherent negativity bias into a more realistic, optimism bias. The ultimate goal is to fully understand the true nature of reality. Perhaps we should call it a reality bias.

Expansion Mindset (EM) is the higher level of thinking necessary to thrive in this new era for humanity. EM encompasses TQ, the wisdom of uncertainty, consciousness processing and ITT. EM expands on a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, as described by Carol Dweck. The traits of a fixed mindset are purposely excluded; they are a recipe for disaster in the coming age. The following are the essential traits of a growth mindset which are also fundamental components of expansion mindset:

a. Have a desire to learn

b. Embrace challenges

c. Persist in the face of setbacks

d. Understand that effort is the path to mastery

e. Learn from feedback (criticism)

These are fundamentally different times which require a completely new level of thinking. We can no longer sit back and be passive. We must work diligently just to keep up. Expansion mindset is the new level of thinking necessary for a new era of humanity. We are in the age of transformation. The new story of humanity is accelerating expansion. Best wishes on your new, exciting and expanding journey!