Thoughts and Perspectives

Start 2015 Right: 16 Ways to Decolonize the Mind

Whether we realize it our not, our bodies are tremendous sites of conflict—a cultural, political, social battleground for businesses and governments. As a result, and due to a lifetime of formal and informal education, the mind is colonized. Decolonizing the mind involves the never-ending struggle of getting rid of deeply, intimately engrained forces that came and stayed without consent. (We could also speaking of decolonizing the diet, decolonizing education, etc.) The following outlines some suggestions, if you can even adopt one or two of these that you may not currently do, you’ll be on the road to a happier life!


  1. Participate in random acts of generosity.
  2. If you still watch television, watch less or stop altogether. (Check out Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.)
  3. Read, fiction and nonfiction, and read at least one book each month. 
  4. Attend a concert or lecture or listen to one on YouTube.
  5. Actively seek opposing points of view.
  6. Actively take the unconscious and make it conscious.
  7. Walk outside for at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week.
  8. Question everything. Analyze (at least parts of) everything.
  9. Start a blog. (It’s free or low-cost and easy.) 
  10. Hang around children, especially those who have not gone to “school.” (Gloria Steinem says, in her talk with bell hooks at The New School, “I didn’t go to school until I was 10 or 11, so I missed a brainwashing.” And, an additional gold nugget she shares is, “I never understood the nature/nurture thing because obviously it’s both.”)
  11. Accept everyone as talented and unique.
  12. Regularly look at things from the point-of-view of others.
  13. Share what you know with others. bell hooks says we must “educate for critical consciousness.”
  14. Be yourself, boldly and confidently, and encourage others to do the same. And try different things to actually find out who you are when decolonized. 
  15. Read articles about History and science and recognize these are all deliberately constructed narratives with agendas. 
  16. Listen to and look at beautiful art – music, painting, sculpture, theatre.

Happy New Year!! Please comment with additional suggestions. 

See also: “Decolonize Your Mind” by Steve Bearman and “Goals, Attributions, and New Year’s Resolutions” from me last year and “13 Things You Can’t do (and be Honest) in the United States.”


11 replies »

  1. Hi, Andrew, I’m good with all of these, but can you contextualize #4, and #7? I can see attending the Houston Symphony for a season, for example, and encounter even more colonization (choice of genre, euro-centric pieces, etc.).



    • Hey Bruce, TY! For 4, concert need not automatically imply classical music, but even if that is the case, classical music I’ve always heard is good for the mind, really good for the mind. And “classical music” is not limited to European traditions. And for 7, studies show breathing fresh air and exercising do a great deal for generating creative processes.


  2. I like your suggestions, Andrew and Glenn. Thank you for these.
    I would also add a couple of more.
    1. If you want to better understand where students are coming from, volunteer at a high school, or work as a substitute teacher. You will learn more about why Freshmen don’t know certain things when they get to college/why they have certain expectations/etc.

    2.Definitely “get out of your comfort zone.” I grew up in a very overprotective environment. It was only by living in places outside my comfort zone that I learned the most about myself. Have different experiences and meet different people. This is how we gain insights into others’ lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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