Take the Rationality Test
How I Define Logic
The Rational Do Not Rationalize
The Subconscious Changes What You See and Feel
Why Honesty Requires Logic
Linear and Non-Linear Communication
Idealism and the Optimally Ideal
Debunking the Debunkers
The Key To Improving Your Mind
Training Advanced Mental Skills
Psychological Mind Control


Training Advanced Mental Skills

The Brain is Like a Computer

Training Advanced Mental Skills

Creating advanced mental skills requires effort. You have to spend the time necessary to think things through and to put to use the things you learn, doing this over and over, refining your methods and advancing your skills to the level desired.

Most go through this process only to the point where they reach their comfort zone, and then they quit learning at this rate, allowing only very small and occassional incremental improvements from that point forward.

However, a few of us keep going. And generally this requires a strong drive, or even a compulsion. There could be any number of reasons why people develop such a drive or compulsion. And in each case they had a reason that was a more powerful influence on their behavior than the comfort zone that most would settle for.

This added motivation is necessary to get through these steps, so before you start it is a good idea to think through your personal motivations to see if there is something there to use as a reason. Try to find the thing that motivates you the most, the second most, and so on. Spend the time pondering those things that you think of, asking yourself how important these things are to you. Try sorting out the details to these things, spending time each day pondering them. And once you find the best reason, focus on that. (Remember, you want to find the best reason, not necessarily the first one that you are drawn towards.)

Even if it doesn't seem sufficient at first, you can build it up by developing it into a vision and discovering insights that promote that vision (I'll explain how to do this in a bit).

And if you find nothing, it is possible that you will discover a reason for this drive while going through the excercises here. Stay open minded. And if you find more than one, put them all on a list and from time-to-time ask yourself questions about these, to understand them more, and to eventually narrow it down to the primary ambition(s) that motivate you deep down.

Some ambitions will seem primary at first, but then after a time they turn out to just be curiosities, that once satisfied will dry up. If you write down all your ambitions and ponder these for a long time first, it is likely you'll discover the strongest one - and that may or may not be the one driving you at the moment. Because this kind of ambition can be suppressed for years without you realizing it.

It helps to find an ambition that results in practical benefits, as this type of ambition is easier to build up.

Now, make your best ambition your primary objective in life. All your strategies will center around building up that ambition, and moving it forward. It is possible to work into your plans one or more secondary ambitions where they may be complementary to the primary ambition, however, if they take resources (time, money, and other) away from your primary ambition, then it is most likely a bad idea.

And it is possible to do something else for awhile as a stepping stone to get "setup better" with your primary ambition later, however, without a strong discipline built into your personality these attempts are likely to fail. To really pull yourself forward at developing advanced mental skills you need to be driven daily by your primary ambition.

As an example, this naturally occurs when you get super interested in a new hobby or sport. All your thoughts tend to focus on it as your mind absorbs everything you hear that relates to it. You develop your own ideas about it and/or plans for it, all swarming around this ambition with intense interest until you get through a considerable learning phase.

That psychological state of mind (or something of equal or greater psychological impact) is necessary to develop the advanced skills explained here.

Granted, most people do not get that level of interest in something, and those who do tend to not hold it long enough. However, I've found that regular pondering, careful development of insights, systematic organization of information, and prioritization of projects, together result in much greater chances for success, and that repeated success tends to build up the drive.

What I'm getting at, is that to train advanced new mental skills your mind has to be in a mode that is only possible when you are steadily advancing a plan driven by your primary ambition in life, or where you have some equally motivating factor.

Even if you don't feel like it at the moment, religiously set aside time each day to go over your project lists, pondering these, building your ideas and your over-all vision and projects to deal with your current circumstances, your primary ambition, and the new mental skills that you want to develop, integrating the priorities of each into a single plan. What many people don't realize is that you have to master the whole picture at the same time, not just set aside time to work on the new skills. Your whole life becomes part of the process. This is because new mental skills have to be put to use in every capacity that they apply to, consistently, or else psychological conflicts may result, and the habits/skills you wish to form will not form.

Investigate innovations, measure practical benefits, develop vision, and plan strategies, all centering around your lists of specific projects and specific issues related to each of the key areas: your current circumstances, your primary ambition(s), and the new mental skills you wish to develop. Organize and develop each of these to the point that you believe in your vision and your plans to realize your vision, and make these plans realistic.

Keep moving these plans forward at a steady pace to enable strong psychological energies that enable rapid mental development.

In time you'll discover that the tendency to not want to do these things was programmed there by lazy rationalizations that were lying to you. After the naturally occuring rewards from success repeat a few times you'll have plenty of drive to keep going, and those lazy rationalizations will start to deprogram, becoming weaker and weaker as your drive becomes stronger and stronger. This is a natural process, you don't have to force it except on occassion to get back on track. Following this method should result in a natural very powerful drive to keep working towards success, and that drive keeps the mind wide open for rapid learning.

Some tend to rationalize in ways that diminish their ambition. It is easy to say that something will not work, or to say that it is not worth it, and to use rationalizations in making these claims. However, when an idea excites you it is then easy to apply the opposite rationalizations, to keep it going. This can be just as illogical, and either way it will nearly inevitably result in mistakes.

However, most successful people rationalize in ways that are beneficial, because subconsciously they have a "policing mechanism" that controls which rationalizations to accept and which to throw out, to stay on track. Some rationalizations can keep you focused on the goal, and effective at achieving that goal. However, these are risky because any use of rationalizations whatsoever, has the potential of short circuiting your view of reality.

The trick that I explain is to feed and grow your best ambition while simultaneously diverting the psychological energy from it through an organized detail oriented process that does not involve rationalizations of any sort.

Through organized rational pondering, you'll learn real knowledge and increased understanding at a much faster rate. And from there an ability to zoom in to more detail as necessary, and to zoom out to get the big picture as necessary, are both needed, to come to the level of understanding necessary to succeed at something different.

So, here are the steps so far...

  1. spend time pondering your key ambitions, sorting out the details to get a clearer picture of what drives you, putting these on a list for future reference
  2. find ways to organize what you learn regarding these interests, using the techniques explained here at this website, and doing this without rationalizing
  3. list the new insights you discovered while going through this process, make a record of these so that they are not forgotten (it is easy to forget new thinking that pushes the boundaries of your "mind box", so write them down right away)
  4. some of these insights might spark more interest, ponder this and potentially refine the first list, the list of your key ambitions
  5. repeat all of the above on a regular basis, while you spend time each day (about an hour per day) pondering
  6. and simultaneous to all this, manage a prioritized list of things to accomplish, using the prioritization system at The Key To Improving Your Mind, targeting all the things that you are obligated to do, and the projects you have strategically planned in pushing forward your key ambition
  7. spend most of the day each day working on the projects in your prioritization list, even if some of these things are unrelated to your primary ambition, they are none-the-less practical issues that can get in your way if you don't master them, and by putting these techniques to use you are developing the same skills you will need in mastering your primary ambition
  8. now find ways to massage your priorities, strategically minimizing the things that pull resources (like time and money) away from your primary ambition, and strategically maximizing things that make resources available to your primary ambition, mastering this allows considerably more focus on your primary ambition
  9. gradually as you master these priorities and get the work done, you will discover that your life starts to function more smoothly, translate this to more focus on your ambition
  10. however, never stop the 1 hour daily ponder sessions, where you take a step back and look at the whole picture, the revelations you have during this session are worth more than you can imagine
  11. now that you are focused, organized and driven, you are ready to start developing the advanced mental skills
Now the good part. First, let's start with a visualization. Though this visualization may not be 100% correct, it is helpful...

The mind is divided into two key areas:

  1. the linear thought area
  2. the non-linear thought area
The first area is basically your frontal lobe, where you are capable of step-by-step logical thought. If someone asks your name and your birthdate, the frontal lobe works out the answer. If you're gambling and winning like crazy, the frontal lobe suggests that you increase the bet. If you are thinking through a math equation, the frontal lobe is doing that thought-work.

The second area is more-or-less a rule processor. And everything happens in parallel, not one step at a time. This area channels feelings, senses, visualizations and memories, through a vast network of rules that were previously programmed. These rules interconnect by association. What this means is that each rule is triggered whenever a specific set of conditions are met (these conditions may include specific combinations of emotions, thoughts, senses, conclusions, etc.). The output to each rule is a new conclusion, which is in the form of a realization, a visualization, a phrase, a diversion (even diverting emotion), however, in each case these function as "reality defining rules".

This part of the mind is there to make our experience of reality contiguous, despite the fact that our senses provide choppy inconsistent data that tends to degrade with age.

The non-linear portion of the mind continuously transforms data passing through your mind, to make it consistent with the rules that were previously programmed into your mind. In this way when you see a bird at a young age you are actually picking up details that are really there, and as you do this you are programming various associative rules about this into your mind without realizing it. Then as you get older, these associative rules automate your vision of birds from then on according to those rules. And you'll see specific traits that your senses may not have picked up, because the clues produced the vision of these traits through these rules.

This process requires no effort, it is automatic and instantaneous, and may involve many rules engaging simultaneously in a composite computer-circuit like fashion, to mold your "experiences of reality".

It affects what you see and hear and believe to be tangible, it affects the reasoning process if left to itself, and it affects and limits what your intelligence is capable of working out. This is because these rules may control just about anything going on in your mind.

Where these rules are programmed with inaccurate generalizations a "mind box" develops that limits your understanding and view of reality.

And where these rules are programmed with accurate generalizations, they expedite and make more accurate your understanding of and experiences of reality.

And, the reason for this section of my website is as follows:

You can program these rules with abilities that are normally considered impossible.

Associative thought is lightning fast, yet potentially encompasses thousands of variables in a single instant. This makes possible capabilities like these...

These capabilities require non-linear thought. We all have this capability at the hardware level, what's different is how we program that portion of our minds.

These people are often referred to as savants, or people with savantism, or having Savant Syndrome. And it is often said that all savants got that way due to Asperger Syndrome, which of course makes it sound like a disease.

My theory, is that many people were born with (or developed at an early age) a biological or psychological quirk resulting in their comfort zone consisting of a compulsion to repeatedly refine the programming of the associative non-linear area of the mind. And that the resulting programming produced these special abilities in just some of the cases.

Some will disagree, and state that they don't even have to work at it, that they simply see the right answer. However, I'm convinced that they developed the programming over time, and then once recognized with such ability could then exercise the ability effortlessly.

In each case, the necessary variables that control the ability, translate into life-like patterns, pictures, and emotions. Their mind is processing these life-like patterns as a whole, through associative thought, resulting in instantaneous conclusions that are accurate.

I cannot rule out the possibility of some sort of psychic link, however, I'm not going there with this theory. In my opinion, these capabilities are plausible given the extensive reprogramming of non-linear rules that these people accomplish as a result of their compulsions.

As a test I spent two months looking at simple math problems - each was a 2 digit number + another 2 digit number. I tried not to think it through in linear step-by-step mode, and just to look at it and produce an answer, trying to tune my mind in to the feelings, the patterns, and the associative connections that allow me to "feel it out". After a few days of practice I started getting the answer and was nearly consistently correct for the next several days. So I increased the test to 3 digits, and this took longer but then I started to get consistent answers there as well, feeling out the answers rather than thinking them through logically. I was consistent with 3 digit + 3 digit for a few days, and then ended my test, I had other more pressing matters at that time.

I'm convinced that if my compulsion were strong enough, that I could have programmed significant non-linear skillsets at becoming a human calculator, or at anything else I set my mind to.

I can also say that with my favorite puzzle, the Rubik's Cube, that the times that I solved it in the fewest turns possible (now two 19 turn solves, an 18 turn solve, and a 16 turn solve), that I felt as though my conscious mind had "drifted" partway into the non-linear mind, and in that mode of thought I could just see it.

With the 19 turn solve I could see how to pull together the entire first two layers except for a corner and an edge piece in the first few turns, as a single thought, then as I finished those turns I saw how to pull in the remaining corner-edge pair while combining that with a direct solve for the entire last layer. This cube was fully mixed to start with, and I solved it in just 19 turns total.

The 16 turn solve worked similarly. However, the 18 turn solve was a bit different, as the entire first two layers came together simultaneously in 10 turns, and the last layer in one 8 turn algorithm.

The thing I recall from each of these events is that my conscious mind had "drifted" into the non-linear areas of my mind. With all my years of practice at cube solving and experimenting with various algorithms, I had sufficient non-linear programming that I only needed to consciously interact with that programming to steer it correctly for those solves. Granted, I'm certain that I can improve both the programming, and the ability to drift my conscious mind into those areas. Once I accomplish both I may then be able to consistently direct-solve a Rubik's Cube.

Most cube professionals will say that a direct solve is humanly impossible. However, there are several people now claiming to have done this.

Now, the question is: "how do we develop this ability?"

I see the problem in two parts:

  1. first, how to accurately program the non-linear areas of the mind
  2. second, how to interact with that area of the mind, to get it to take control over a specific task
#1 Relates back to all the other lessons I have here at this website. Learn those, become an expert at rational thought. Develop good habits at imprinting accurate generalizations that are fully qualified through the integration of well defined scope. Then enhance the good habits and the imprinting process by becoming more active with the plan for your life (explained in the first half of this page).

#2 Requires practicing to let go of the frontal lobe, the exact opposite of what I teach elsewhere on my website, except this time as you let go of the frontal lobe and exercise non-linear thought directly and consciously, you are navigating better programming.

Practice one, and then practice the other, attempting to make better functioning "bridges" between these areas of the mind.

Sometimes people will inadvertently trigger the second mode. For example, when faced with a split second life-or-death situation, some people will panic, and others will suddenly slip into this other mode, and there they seem to have an hour of thought packed into a split second. And it seems as though the universe is inside your mind and perfectly arranged, so that you can slide through this beautiful picture in your mind with a couple thoughts of your own influencing the result. In this mode an exceptionally complex decision can be made in about 2/10ths of a second, and potentially save your life. I've had this happen, and I've talked to a few who claim the same. Think of that Volkswagen commercial where everything around the car is moving in harmony with the music played by the car stereo. Your experience of reality feels like that during these moments, even when it is a life-or-death moment. It is perfect and beautiful.

Sometimes people get the wrong idea that I'm describing drug experiences. That is not a part of anything I'm describing, though I have heard that drugs can induce similar experiences. And this may be why movies depict government agencies using drugs in their experiments with the mind.

So, here are the phases to use in formulating a plan to develop your new advanced mental skills...

  1. First, find some motivation to use as a reason to turn your plan into a compulsion, or even an addiction - like your favorite computer game that you constantly want to get back to, or your favorite TV show that you have to get back to, etc.
  2. Second, divert that motivation into an organized systematic and rational approach, that imprints accurate generalizations to develop your skills and your strategies (these become one and the same in the non-linear mind), throughout the intense learning phases.
  3. Third, practice occassionally slipping your mind into the non-linear mode, where it may consciously navigate the non-linear programming of your mind while performing tasks that test the ability that you wish to develop.

There is an on-line game called Time of Defiance. In my opinion it is one of the very best on-line RTS games out there. Very strategic, yet graphical and fun. I was addicted to this game a number of years ago. Phase #1 was most definitely satisfied. However, I was not winning. For several years I was considered an "ok" to "good" player, however, on the toughest server I didn't have a chance against the pro players.

Then one day I decided I could not accept that - here all my life I thought I was the best at things of this nature, and my failure at being #1 at this game contradicted this belief. So I sat down and identified several scenarios where my compulsion to win was pushing me to do things based on emotionally fueled rationalizations, rather than real strategy. And that it only seemed that I was following real strategy. So I then diverted the same emotional energy into a motivation to develop the best strategy (phase #2).

One step at a time: I quantified the variables in each scenario so that I could make precise accurate logical deductions regarding the inner workings for these scenarios, then I put those deductions to use to test them and to imprint them, then I compared what I learned from those deductions in order to work out the priorities (the hardest part of the strategy), and ultimately developed the best strategies and skills (phase #3) that were relevant to my objective: to win. It only took a few weeks of this before I was best in the world, however, that would have never happened had I not decided to take the measures I did above to complete phase #2 - that is probably the most common hurdle. And then to figure out the right order for the priorities, this is the hardest part because the math requires deep honesty (please see what I have to say regarding Honesty and Logic) to get through it. Once you find the optimal strategy the priorities are really quite different from those indicated by the rationalizations that seemed strategic. Now when I look at that game I clearly see the math behind all the relevant variables at all times, it is so easy to win. Because now I can play it based on the optimally ideal generalizations, which are very little work to follow, rather than the idealisms (rationalizations) that kept making me do the wrong things and losing.

And of course, many of the diehard veterans think I cheated, because they could not see my strategy due to the many rationalizations that blocked their view of it. However, eventually someone else woke up and figured out my technique, beat my score, and so now I have to go back and beat him - which I will do once I have the time.

The formula for training your mind with advanced mental capabilities depends on the specific capability you wish to train, and how rational the associative rules are that you programmed into the non-linear portion of the mind. The rest is automatic. You already have the hardware.

If you have any comments please send them to tony@snydermind.com.

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