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from Jean Moroney

Issue #70
I. How Objectivity Helps You Change Your Mind
II. Please fill out my survey on time problems
III. Recent Posts on the Blog
I. How Objectivity Helps You Change Your Mind
A recent article in the New York Times reviewed some interesting research involving changing your mind. For example, in one research project:

[L]ife coaches ask clients to identify their goals, then to write about why they haven’t achieved those goals. Once the clients have written their old stories, they are asked to reflect on them and edit the narratives to come up with a new, more honest assessment.

The more honest assessment prompted them to change how they pursued the goals, making them more successful.

In another:

[College freshmen] were given information showing that it is common for students to struggle in their freshman year. They watched videos of junior and senior college students who talked about how their own grades had improved as they adjusted to college.The goal was to prompt these students to edit their own narratives about college. Rather than thinking they weren’t cut out for college, they were encouraged to think that they just needed more time to adjust.

Learning that it is normal for the first year to be difficult helped them put their own difficulties in perspective. The students earned higher grades than a control group.

What makes the difference? I believe the key is objectivity about your own mental contents.

Writing doesn’t change anything by itself. However, if you write out your reasons for not exercising, and then re-read what you wrote, any rationalizations will jump out at you. It is much easier to catch rationalizations when they are written on the page, than when they flit through your head. Re-reading helps you be more objective, because you naturally take a third-person perspective on what you read.

Similarly, if you have doubts about your ability to handle college, it takes a special process of introspection to identify those feelings and problem-solve around them. But when you learn about other people who overcame similar problems, their easily-understood situation helps you make sense of your own situation. Again, the third-person perspective gives you objectivity about what is going on in your own mind.

The moral of the story is: Becoming objective about what’s in your mind helps you change your mind.


II. Please fill out my survey on time problems

I’m running a short survey on time problems, in preparation for a class I’m giving soon. I’d appreciate your sharing your thoughts–which will help me make the class that much more useful for everyone involved. What I learn is sure to make it into future newsletters.

Please fill out the survey here:

Thank you!

III. Recent Posts on the Blog

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(c) Jean Moroney
Thinking Directions

Thinking Directions

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Jean Moroney

Jean Moroney

About Jean Moroney: Ms. Moroney, President of Thinking Directions, teaches managers, small business owners, and other professionals how to be smarter as they execute on their goals by catching problems early, grasping issues quickly, and taking action decisively. Ms. Moroney received a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and worked as a system engineer, project manager, and software consultant for 10 years. She has an MS in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon, and has been coaching and speaking on thinking skills since 1998. She has given her all- day flagship course, “Thinking Tactics” all over North America. Her corporate clients include Microsoft,, BB&T, and Canadian Bank Note Company. Thousands of people have benefited from her methods. Find out more at and sign up for her freebie class: Jump Start Your Project: