4 Different States of Mind

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 10, 2019

There are 4 different states of mind that can be divided as internal or external. They can also be divided as harmful or helpful. Today we are going to cover of these below. Keep in mind that you can be in one state of mind at a particular moment. In general, a person can focus internally or externally which are completely opposite states.


Autopilot is an external and harmful state of mind. Basically, our brain goes into this state when we are bored and doing something that is known to us. In order to be in autopilot state, your brain has to turn off thinking which isn’t always a wise idea. There are several reasons when a person will go into this state of mind. For instance, if you see something familiar (a person crying) you will go on autopilot and consider that he is sad. This prevents us from seeing a complete picture. A person may cry because he is laughing so hard. The situation is the same when we try to solve a problem. We believe how we see that issue and the world is correct and we will react accordingly.

The biggest cause of why a person may activate autopilot state is pressure. For some, when exposed to massive pressure, they will turn off thinking and they will act automatically to the issues, problems, or situations. Pressure can affect people in other ways as well.


Thinking is helpful and also the internal state of mind. It is the one state we use most and probably the most appealing here. It is defined as a state of mind in which we are open to insights and we absorb information from the outside world. We process them and we react afterward. You will use this state of mind when learning new things, doing some actions, or when you are planning something.

Depending on how you feel, thoughts can be extremely clear and easy to comprehend. They can be processed in no time and a person gets the best possible decision and therefore the outcome. We must add that learning from past mistakes or previous situations has huge importance overall. This can help you prevent the same or new mistakes and get a much better result.


Engaged is a helpful and external state of mind. It is a very important state of mind as well and the one that should be present as often as possible. In a nutshell, this is a state where we have an external focus on action and we are doing something that is important to us. It can be as simple as driving a car. You need to pay attention to other drivers, on the road, and all around us. An engaged state of mind is defined as an external focus on the environment.

In simple terms, you will be completely focused on the things that surround you and you will be absorbed by these. You will be completely present to that very place and action and you can expect the best results. This state is essential for successful people who do things they love.


Critical is an internal and harmful state of mind. This is a state in which we are strict and usually not completely objective about ourselves. In a nutshell, this is a state where we consider ourselves a guilty person for any reason and where we are feeling bad. As you can see, there is no link with the external focus. The focus here is internal which is always harmful. You should avoid being in this state of mind, but not ignore it completely.

In which state of mind you should be?

First of all, there is no way you can be in 2 states of mind at the same time. However, you can switch between all 4 of them instantly. The goal should be simple. You need to be in a thinking and engaged state of mind as much as possible. These are positive and very important states of mind that will have a positive effect on your life, work, career and so much more.

Basically, you need to stay open to information, the environment, and all the rest that is happening around you at any given moment. The other two states of mind are something to avoid due to completely different reasons. When thinking and when engaged, we can process all the information and do something we like or solve a problem instantly.

Last but not least, turn off autopilot state of mind when you can. The best ways to achieve that are to do something new, to use the perspectives of others, and to understand that you cannot eliminate autopilot state of mind completely. This is simply how our brains work.

The final word

Above you were able to see 4 different states of mind. We all have them and we all use one at a time. A person can switch between the states instantly and at any given moment. Your goal should be to stay in thinking and engaged state as much as possible and to limit or decrease the other two.

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