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Cultivating Mindsets: Liminal Thinking

“We construct our beliefs, mostly unconsciously, and thereafter they hold us captive. They can help us focus and make us more effective, but sadly, they also can limit us: they blind us to possibility and subject us to fog, fear, and doubt.” Dave Gray

The Pyramid of Belief: Dave Gray

Dave Gray introduces Liminal Thinking as a phenomenon that occurs when new opportunities in unknown territories exist. It is “the art of finding, creating and using thresholds to create change. It is a kind of mindfulness that enables you to create positive change.”

Gray believes that during these transitional periods of change, we gain an opportunity to change our habits and welcome new behaviours. Quite often, when we encounter change, other big shifts of transformational change become more possible. By embracing Liminal Thinking, we intentionally create more liminality in our lives, breaking away from our existing habits or beliefs.

Our beliefs inform everything we know and depict our own version of reality. However, everyone has a blind spot to the reality of the world, in which our beliefs struggle to see beyond. To us, the truth is obvious and we believe it to be the sole truth. We often ignore that our beliefs may only be informed partially by the reality of the real world.

We have a protective bubble in the form of self-sealing logic that inhibits us from accepting new beliefs or ideas. As we often seek comfort, certainty and safety, the bubble of self-certainty where our beliefs reside, protect us from the frightening uncertainty of reality.

We deconstructing our beliefs, we transform the unconscious process of belief formation into a conscious one. By suspending judgement and leveraging empathy, we can begin to understand the beliefs of others and what makes sense to them. Through Liminal Thinking, we can connect with others to understand their thought process. By surpassing the threshold of our own beliefs, we can expand our perception on the reality of the world.

Liminal Thinking — Dave Gray

The Maynooth University Innovation Lab (Mi:Lab) takes a human-centred design approach to exploring and tackling challenges within the higher education system.

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