Developing the Self-Transforming Mind

By Paul R. Scheele Ph.D. | Articles

Developing the Self-Transforming Mind

Human developmental levels are measures of an individual’s mental complexity. When we reach adulthood, we attain the 3rd level called the socialized mind. This is when we operate in life looking through a lens that was constructed by the culture that raised us—our society, schools, religions, and family systems.

Because you are reading this, you have already advanced to the 4th level, the self-authoring mind. The major distinction from the socialized mind is that you can filter what comes through the lens you’ve been given, critically determining what you choose to accept or not. You recognize you are responsible for creating the life you live.

Throughout my career, I have built products and learning experiences to provide self-authoring individuals with the tools to design their lives most effectively and reach their desired goals and higher potentials. But it was not until my doctoral research that I realized the tools I had been building were designed to help people achieve a 5th developmental level, that of the self-transforming mind.

The main distinctions at the 5th level are that you can stand back from your filter, look at what you’ve been looking through, and question the limits of the perspective you are choosing and the ideology you are espousing, recognizing that it is partial or incomplete, and welcome multiple perspectives and contradictions.

Numerous studies on organizational behavior show that a higher level of mental complexity outperforms a lower level, correlating measures of mental complexity with independent assessments of work competence or performance. The highest level appears to be what we need in society and in our organizations today. Yet only 7% of the populations studied operate at the 5th level of mental complexity.

When you operate from the self-transforming mind you are a strategist, a synergist, a co-creator, a catalyst, an autonomous alchemist who is aware of the constructs you use. You are not bound by the history that preceded you, and you challenge the story you are authoring as being just the current version of the future you are creating.

The principles, strategies, tools, and skill-building activities I’ve shared or created during five decades of human development work are designed to up-level your skills in problem-solving, your responses to disruptive change, and your ability to tap into higher-order creativity to create the new destinies you’ve dreamt about.

As you raise your mental complexity to the self-authoring mind, you are empowered to create your life in a purposeful, values-driven way. As a self-transforming individual, you easily recognize faulty conclusions and mistaken assumptions about any limitation, weakness, fear, or self-doubt—whenever they might show up.

You can readily discard any self-sabotaging beliefs that might arise and remain confident that you know how to gain greater competence at what matters most to you.

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