Forging Forward: The ‘How’ to Shifting Mindsets

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Forge Forward. To make progress with something, be it quickly or slowly and steadily. 

I’ve never understood why the human responses of potential negative connotation receive so much more attention. You know what I’m referring to . . . the instinct to fight, flight, or freeze. What about forging forward? 

To better understand the option of forging forward, we’ll first go over a little neuroscience 101 on each response mechanism. Next, we will zoom in on forging forward and look at some tips of how to hardwire our brain to become more mentally resilient in choosing to forge forward. The purpose behind all of this new learning is to alter our mindsets to be more neuro resilient. In doing so we can put a stop to marginalizations and be a part of the change in helping the world #SeeThingsDifferently. 

Neuroscience 101: Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Forge Forward 

Our brain is constantly unconsciously scanning the environment for risk and preparing itself for a chemical reaction dependent on the familiarity, or not, of the source of potential threat. 

Fight or Flight

When it comes to fight or flight responses, the sympathetic nervous system is instigated releasing norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter associated with alertness and stress. 


When the tendency is to freeze, this response is stimulated from the parasympathetic nervous system. The cerebellum specifically initiates the quick, momentary response impacting time, thinking and all connections between the limbic system and cortex. 

Forge Forward

This brings us to the left prefrontal cortex, where our tendency to forge forward is connected. This region of the brain is responsible for emotional responses, mood regulation and meaning making. Our social resilience and risk factors are mediated here. 

It’s important to note that at any time a potential stressor enters the picture, there are questions we ask our selves to avoid an inadequate one-size-fits-all approach. 


  • Forging forward for what outcome?
  • Forging forward from what stressor?
  • What personal combination of information or possible circumstances are predictive of forging forward?

Forging Forward – What’s the hype all about?

So why don’t we just bypass fight, flight, or freeze and move into forge forward all the time? Well, each has their place. You most certainly wouldn’t want to forge forward when a bear approaches you on a hiking trail. Nor would you want to forge forward when when a speeding car is heading your way on a street. It’s about the environment and social cues. 

The way our brains gauge the appropriateness of the situation is key in decision making here. In our context, of developing our equity consciousness, forging forward is the key function because it offers the opportunity to intentionally change our thoughts and behaviors. When we’re looking to change and then reinforce that change, forging forward is what we need. 

Tend to approach others with a deficit view? Forge forward into where the negative emotions stem from, the tendency you go to as a default, and instead, respond by engaging in making a new meaning. 

Tend to stay silent when others are marginalizing someone because they are different than the crowd? That tendency to freeze can be seen as rationalizing causing us to be seen as a part of the beliefs the crowd is projecting. Consider making meaning of the emotions and the emotions of those being marginalized by forging forward to advocate rather than alienate. 

How To Tips

Mental resources such as calmness, courage and resilience are what can give you the opportunity to shift your mindset by working your brain much like you would a muscle. Using our three questions from earlier as a guide, we can now take a personalized approach to overcoming our tendency to fight, flight or freeze and instead forge forward. 

Forging forward for what outcome?

When we think about forging forward for what outcome, it directly relates to our need for satisfaction. We can shift our mindset from self-satisfaction to one that includes thoughtfulness of others by contemplating where we are in gratitude, motivation and aspiration. 

Gratitude. What can we appreciate about what already exists? Do we feel good about it?

Motivation. How can we pursue alternatives when faced with a challenge? What opportunities are we missing?

Aspiration. Are we congruent or incongruent with what we say is important to us? Does our walk match our talk and vice-versa? 

Forging forward from what stressor?

Thinking of the root cause of the stressor beckons our need for safety, which can be paramount. Drawing on our ability to have compassion, remaining calm, and being courageous can widen our lens on safety shifting to include safety of others.

Compassion. Others have burdens and suffering too. It’s surprising how much we can help when we think outside of ourselves. Do you have the desire? Are you sensitive to others?

Calmness. Is the threat a true threat? Emotional balance and having a sense of capability can narrow how a threat is defined. 

Courageous. Even in silence we are saying a lot. How are you protecting yourself? Protecting others? Stand tall in what you believe.

What personal combination of information of what possible circumstances are predictive of forging forward?

There is a lot at stake in more ways than one when we are more informed of the impact of our actions or inactions on others and the history we each bring to our situations. Continuously learning, building up our confidences, and engaging in generosity shifts our mindsets. 

Learning. How are you growing your equity consciousness? In what ways do you develop a greater understanding of those who are different from you? In cultivating our own strengths, we can become open to learning about the value of others too. 

Confidence. Are there things in your background that cause you to loose assurance or worthiness? We all look for a sense of belonging and in order to embrace others, we often need to look inward at what is causing us to not embrace ourselves. 

Generosity. Let’s not confuse compassion with sympathy. How are we showing compassion, a true value of others and what they offer to our diverse world? How altruistic are we? 

Mindset Shifts Accomplished 

As we evolve in our equity consciousness, some dedicated attention to shifting our mindsets can support us in becoming stronger in forging forward. Avoid frustration and disappointment by recognizing what is foundational to your fear. When the opportunity to forge forward comes to you, you’ll meet it with techniques that enable you to interact in a more positive way, regulating your emotions to constructively harness how you respond to stress. Improvements are there for the taking. What are you waiting for? 

Being able to see things differently is a game changer. There are several ways for you to be a part of the movement. Pick one, or two, or three, or all. You’ll be so glad you did. 

  • Share. Spread the word through Likes, shares, and following us on social media.
  • Reflect. Be a part of our research study by completing our Equity Consciousness® Teaser Test.
  • See it. Be it. Spread the work by doing it. Be sure to let us know how it goes.
  • Network. Subscribe to our community so we can continue the conversation.

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