Our most important tool to a newer way of thinking (ANWOT)

We have been created as a work-in-progress with a mission.  As we continue to acquire more knowledge, it is increasingly apparent we have assumed the responsibility and the task to determine our own destiny and that of the world.  Today’s wisdom explains the process by which we transform ourselves from a helpless, dependent, needy “taker” into a powerful creator with the wisdom to determine who we are and what we will become.  We begin the process with the insight that we must first attain mental freedom from the two dictators who control our early life’s experience, instinct and tradition. 

Since there is no word in our language that identifies the process by which we transform ourselves into wise powerful creators, I will introduce two new ones: trigger word and word-switch.  The meanings we assign to these words will empower us to selectively reroute those established ways of thinking that no longer work to newer, more effective solutions to today’s issues.  Trigger words and word-switches each turn on energy to activate a specific thinking pathway and its action outcome.  Here are two examples of the power of mechanical switches that will create an indelible understanding of the power of word-switches:  

Analogy #1: A train will follow the course predetermined by its track.  By altering a single train track switch at one point, we create an entirely new path and destination for the train.  By simply flipping that one switch, our action directs energy to the preferred path and destination while simultaneously preventing the outcome that would result without our direct intervention.   

Analogy #2: Picture the action of three light switches such as I have described in a previous wisdom tip (see Stren #3).  Imagine each switch is wired to turn on one of the three masters that direct our life’s experience – nature, nurture, or self-mastery.  The first switch was wired prior to birth by nature to turn on instinct.  The second switch was wired throughout our many years of immaturity by our nurturers to activate tradition.  As our freedom organ attains physical maturity and we provide it with appropriate word-switches, we become self-programmers.  Thus, the third switch turns on the wired thinking pathways we our self may initiate.  By accurately labeling the switches that turn on and turn off instinct, tradition, and self-mastery, we may effectively route the path of energy to our preferred action outcome.  We simply select the appropriate word-switch as we would select the preferred light switch. 

Trigger words and word-switches control our thinking with the specificity and power that a mechanical switch uses to alter a course of action.  The simple act of wisely choosing appropriate word-switches is our means to assume mastery of our life’s experience.  Instinct, tradition, and self-mastery each serve us well when we wisely choose the appropriate action switch.



Instinct, the first dictator to our thinking, genetically links us to our earliest ancestors when mindless trial-and-error behaviors determined who survived in a savage environment.  Survival of the fittest and fight or flight behaviors remain prominent.  Tradition emphasizes the tried and true solutions that were effective for yesterday’s problems!  Instinct and tradition are reliable and efficient most of the time.  However, when confronted with novel problems that require common sense wisdom, such as the current proliferation of weapons of ultimate destruction, predetermined solutions often become dangerous.  Recognize that nature (instinct) and nurture (tradition) are dictators!  They characteristically demand that their perspective be blindly followed based on the authority of past success and habit.  Instinct and tradition are hard-wired.  They lack the common sense wisdom to consistently direct new knowledge to constructive outcomes. 

Here are three examples of critical word-switches that free our thinking from instinct and tradition so that we may effectively deal with new knowledge using common sense wisdom.  Each of these simple word-switches redirects the way we think, feel, and act.

      Should” is a dictator’s trigger word.  It demands compliance with a prescribed behavior.   The word-switch “could” invites us to create alternatives and choose from among them.

      He, she, it makes me ...” accurately labels the control others have over us when we are immature.  Continued in adulthood, this trigger word leads to blaming, resentment, and harmful action.  As we attain maturity, substituting the word-switch “I allow...” inspires us to assume personal responsibility for our well-being. 

      Either/or” is a trigger word that divides the world into two extreme categories such as safe or dangerous, good or evil, us or them.  It is characteristic of the thinking demanded by dictators that fosters bigotry, prejudice, and harmful confrontation.  The word-switchboth...and” recognizes the positives and negatives of each alternative.  It focuses on similarities more than differences, promotes tolerance for diversity and collaboration towards shared goals.  

Let’s now define “trigger word” and “word-switch” to establish a commonly shared meaning: 

Trigger words are signals (usually a word, combination of words, or symbol) that turn on imagination leading to a specific concept or idea.  Trigger words turn on the specific meaning that was assigned by either nature, nurture, or our self, i.e. our mature freedom organ.  Meaning energizes the thinking, feeling, and action pathways established by its creator, be it instinct, tradition, our self, or some combination.  Our first set of trigger words express nature’s perspective, primarily instinct.  After birth, our nurturers provide us a second set of trigger words wired to turn on their perspective, primarily tradition.  And, with the maturity of our freedom organ, i.e. our intelligent cerebral cortex, we become self-programmers.  We ourselves may create a third set of signals that turn on the newer interpretations and meanings we assign to data by applying current wisdom. 




Word-switches are trigger words!  They are distinguished from other trigger words only by the three characteristics we here assign to them:  Word-switches --

1.     have the power to substitute an alternative meaning and a newer way of thinking, feeling, and acting for a trigger word that is presently dominant.

2.     are usually the products of a mature freedom organ, i.e. our cerebral corex.

3.     are supported by the most current universal common sense wisdoms.1

We may design word-switches to turn on and turn off the perspective of instinct, tradition, or those that we ourselves initiate.  The meanings we ourselves create, unlike the hard-wired commands of instinct and tradition, can be based on current knowledge and common sense wisdom.  We now understand the means by which we become master of our thinking, feelings, and actions.  As our freedom organ attains physical maturity and we teach ourselves the wisdoms that create mental maturity, we can create new word-switches that selectively turn off the thinking paths previously wired by instinct and tradition and turn on a newer common sense way of thinking available from our mature freedom organ.  We acquire self-mastery, assume responsibility for our life’s experience, and become powerful creators through the design and application of word-switches!    [Repeat this sentence!]

As we acquire more knowledge of universal cause-and-effect relationships, what we call “science,” we increase our power to initiate both constructive and destructive outcomes.  The current discovery and proliferation of weapons with ultimate destructive power require that we create newer, more appropriate word-switches that consistently direct our power to constructive outcomes.  Managing our current explosive growth of power requires using logic and common sense wisdom to create original solutions to current issues.  Let’s recognize that our native language is heavily biased toward trigger words that turn on the wired pathways of instinct and tradition.  We need to constantly update our language as we expand our knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships.  Once we understand the power of specific trigger words and word-switches to “turn on” a newer way of thinking we can proceed to expand our vocabulary of word-switches that promote self-mastery. 

Word-switches are our means to elevate ourselves to the higher levels of civilization to which we aspire.  Our newest weapon of mass construction is creating and using effective word-switches that “turn on” common sense wisdom!

            Consider that the 100+ wisdoms that follow are word-switches in that they selectively turn off the prewired ways of processing information that no longer work and turn oncommon sense wisdom to problem-solve current issues.  Next time we meet I’ll provide part B of the secret of attaining mental freedom:  Creating and applying appropriate word-switches.     


 1The test of universal common sense will be described in a future wisdom tip.







Stren #5: Word-switches – part B: The Means To Mental Freedom

Our most important tool to a newer way of thinking (ANWOT)


Previously I indicated that we become powerful creators by making interpretations that turn on meaning and action. In part A of this wisdom I created two new words to indicate the way we selectively switch on and turn off the interpretations and action pathways of our three masters -- instinct, tradition, and self-mastery. Today we’ll expand our understanding of how word-switches turn on self-mastery and empower us to replace the demands of instinct and tradition.

Our creative power is limited by the accuracy of the interpretations we assign to knowledge. Our ancestors were intelligent but they had very limited knowledge to accurately interpret what they experienced. Their interpretations were created using faith-based assumptions that often resulted in inaccurate conclusions. Lacking knowledge, the leap of faith was often beyond reason. No matter how logical our reasoning, if we start with assumptions that misrepresent cause-and-effect relationships, we end up with foolish conclusions. For example, we assumed multiple natural objects or phenomenon had magic; we created an untold number of idols to worship, and performed strange rituals. We believed the earth was flat and the center of the universe. We identified some individuals as “witches” and set them on fire to “save them.” 

Our early ancestors wandered from place to place in a savage environment seeking edible plants and what they could kill. There was no agriculture. Their valued possessions consisted of family and weapons. As you can imagine, their important trigger words and interpretations were focused on survival, how to eat and avoid being eaten. Words served to create ideas and solutions that triggered a survival of the fittest perspective and emergency fight or flight action. What trigger words would appear in their small dictionary if they had one? We can guess that their vocabulary turned on meaning that favored either/or conclusions, that quickly recognized differences, and led to preprogrammed spontaneous action: my tribe or not my tribe, safe or dangerous, emergency, fight, run, hide, dominate, fuck, protect, and so on. 

Humankind is prone to act on our interpretations even when they are not verifiable by logic. We are reluctant to disobey instinct and tradition, and so they become automatic and resist yielding their power. As humankind has progressed to its present accelerating growth of universal knowledge, we are rapidly increasing both our constructive and our destructive power. The stakes for foolish acts can no longer be tolerated. To survive and thrive, our work-in-progress is to build our vocabulary of word-switches that turn on common sense wisdom and selectively switch off those trigger words of instinct and tradition that have become dangerous.


Our current language remains biased towards the trigger words of instinct and tradition that take us to destinations that are no longer adaptive. They turn on the thinking, feelings, and actions that were necessary for survival in a primitive environment but have become dangerous when applied to today’s issues. They emphasize differences more than similarities and divide the world into either/or categories that we now recognize support bigotry, intolerance, and destructive confrontation. 

For example, in my Western culture, “God,” the term for the creator of all things, has commonly been represented as a white male who favors “my tribe” and periodically will magically intervene to punish “not my side.” We declare in the name of God that our side is justified in demanding that other tribes comply with our rule or be subject to punishment, even murder. The meanings we assign to a Christian cross, Muslim crescent, Jewish star, or Nazi swastika too often trigger our differences to the exclusion of our similarities. The peace symbol inspires our thinking to imagine our similarities more than our differences. Our work-in-progress is to recognize those trigger words that mislead us, and teach ourselves a newer way of thinking that applies common sense wisdom where instinct and tradition are no longer adaptive.

 If we are to develop a newer way of thinking to manage our new power, to make ourselves more civilized, we need to add word-switches that selectively turn on common sense wisdom; that turn off those instinct and tradition trigger-words that new knowledge enlightens us are now ineffective or dangerous. 

Other life on earth attains its highest level of maturity automatically and passively, through instinct and role-modeling. Humankind’s highest level of maturity is attained by active enlightenment of our freedom organ with knowledge and wisdom to attain mental freedom, what we call self-mastery. Freed from instinct and tradition, our mature freedom organ can acquire and apply the common sense wisdoms that elevate us to the most humane levels within our capability.

Our new powerful weapons with ultimate constructive power are word-switches that free us from dictators and turn on common sense thinking! Now that this secret is revealed, we need to educate our global population to continuously update our word-switches. We need to selectively bypass those instinct and tradition trigger words that once worked but have become ineffective or dangerous when applied to today’s explosive and still accelerating growth of knowledge. We elevate our established thinking by adding appropriate word-switches that turn on a newer way of thinking. Logical thinking creates new solutions to today’s problems instead of the automatic directions provided by instinct and tradition.

The 100+ wisdoms presented in this series have been selected because they each contribute to the newer way of thinking that supports interpretations with common sense wisdom. In the course of presenting the wisdoms that can make anyone a Mental Wealth millionaire, additional word-switches that create a newer way of thinking will be presented and explained. It is important to recognize trigger words and word-switches and gradually add to them.

The earliest of the 100+ wisdoms will concentrate on those word-switches that turn on three newer way of thinking skills because they convey immediate benefits: 

  1. The self-mastery wisdom tips that free us from blind obedience to instinct and tradition and allow us to assume personal responsibility for our life experience. I call these wisdoms The seven Mind-freeing, Life-changing, World-saving word-switches.

  2. The self-endorsement wisdoms that make us our own best friend and provide the patience we require to teach ourselves sophisticated skills.

  3. The universal problem-solving skill that promotes win/win solutions to new problems. The magical problem-solving sentence is our most certain means to consistently create successful outcomes in any endeavor. 

Summary: The newer way of thinking that we require to create a joyous, purposeful life AND create world peace requires newer word-switches. Word-switches reroute established ways of thinking that no longer work to newer more effective solutions to today’s issues. The power of new knowledge turned on by the trigger words that worked for yesterday’s problems can be very dangerous. The danger is most strikingly apparent in the crisis we have created with our new weapons of ultimate destruction. We most productively direct our life’s experience when we create word-switches that accurately reflect common sense wisdoms that are the product of our freedom organ. We will continue to act foolishly as long as we continue to use trigger words that were inspired by instinct and tradition and have become outdated by new knowledge.



When we next meet, I will introduce a new word-switch that explains how we add wisdom to self-mastery to consistently create preferred outcomes.


Four basic insights create a foundation for all the wisdoms that follow:


FEELINGS, AND ACTIONS: Nature (instinct), Nurture (tradition), and Self-mastery