Start in Your “Mind’s Kitchen” 

There is an old joke about a man, who asks a stranger the way to Edinburgh, to which the stranger replies: “If I were going there, I wouldn’t start from here.”

Although none of you have ever asked me for directions, I can tell you that wherever you decide to go, you have to start from where you are.

When you start your self-awareness journey, most advice is not to focus on the destination. My advice is that it is important to focus on where you are now, which is where you are starting from.

It helps if you know where you are. This blog is about knowing where you are mentally; it is about self-awareness. Warning: There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”  Benjamin Franklin

The quickest way to know yourself is to start with your “mind’s kitchen”. The “Mind’s Kitchen” metaphor might help you gain self-awareness. ( I borrowed this metaphor from Leonard Mlodinow in his book Subliminal, 2012). You can tell a lot about a restaurant’s recipes by sitting at a table and sampling the food, but to really know what is going on, you have to look inside the kitchen. For instance, what are the favored ingredients? Is there variety in what is used? Are the ingredients fresh or old and spoiled?

Human consciousness, the way you see things, is like the mind’s recipes. To really know what’s going on, you have to look inside the “mind’s kitchen,” where the mental processes that cause beliefs and behavior are prepared. My mind’s kitchen is full of recipes for the way I see and do things. And all of them are not known or up-to-date. This metaphoric view of my mind’s eye helps me look inside my mind to see where and how my thoughts originate. This mind’s kitchen metaphor might also help you.

To know one self, although hard to do, is important, maybe essential, because when you have a better understanding of yourself, you are able to experience yourself as a separate and unique individual. You are then empowered to make changes and to build on your areas of strength as well as identify areas where you would like to make improvements. Self-awareness not only requires knowing who you are; it also requires knowing why you are who you are.

Why you are who you are is also determined in your mind’s kitchen. This is where the recipes for you are created. Metaphorically you could say these recipes are your beliefs. Believing is seeing is doing. An easy way to understand the power of your beliefs is to think of them as recipes for your behavior. Recipe is defined as: a set of instructions; something which is likely to lead to a particular outcome. Doesn’t this sound like the description of a belief?  A belief is a set of instructions. To know yourself is to know your beliefs.

He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.  Lao-Tsze

This entry was posted in Beliefs. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. EUGENE UNGER says:

    Thank you H! We need to get together

    Sent from my iPhone


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