Peter Crone is not a psychotherapist. Instead, he refers to himself as a “mind architect,” whose sole goal is helping people understand how their own perceptions and their own self-limiting beliefs and words have shaped their reality—a reality that might not actually jive with a more objective and less distorted point of view. Crone sees his role as calling you out on that and pointing out inaccuracies in how you represent your life, with the ultimate goal of helping you to shift your perspective to one that’s less solipsistic. For example, if you were to tell him that a person “is irritated with me,” he would urge you to unhook the “with me,” because it is not realistic or appropriate to take responsibility for other people’s thoughts and feelings, which are not yours to own. He often works in the world of performance, helping PGA golfers and MLB baseball players overcome the perils of perfectionism, though his particular style of coaching is relevant to everyone and every sphere of life. But he will always tell you the truth—even when the truth might not be what you want to hear. As one friend of goop explained, a session with Crone is like being gently held while he simultaneously punches you in the gut. It is not always easy, but it is certainly cathartic.

A Q&A with Peter Crone

You refer to your work as a way of helping people find freedom, typically from a self-imposed, and actually unlocked, mental jail cell. What does that mean, exactly?

As far as I’m concerned, every human being is ultimately looking for freedom. Most are under the impression that freedom is to be found through changing their circumstances. When fill-in-the-blank situation is the way you think it should be, then you’ll be finally at peace and apparently free. Or equally, when so-and-so—fill in your favorite nemesis—starts behaving the way you think they should, then all will be right with the world and you’ll be okay. This common perspective that changing something external will shift your internal experience is such an ingrained part of human conditioning that its validity is rarely fully investigated to discover its true merit. Let alone how exhausting it is!

It’s not only not accurate; it’s actually the very mechanism that creates and sustains the feelings of constraint, judgment, and overall suffering that we’re looking to be free of. My work is to help people find acceptance and harmony with reality—and with it an experience of true freedom that most people neither knew was available nor have fully felt.

You are very precise about language and specifically how people use it to unconsciously shape the way they position themselves to the world. Can you explain that?

The way I explain it is that words are both the lock and key. Through language we create both the limitations that bind us as well as the access to liberation from the same confines we created.

As a simple example, and a popular human perspective, let’s look at the belief “I’m not good enough.” I’ve yet to meet or work with anyone who at some point in their life wasn’t in the clutches of everything that statement entails and the cascade of feelings and behaviors that come with it. The horrible sense of worthlessness, depression, failure at pursuing goals and aspirations, and the general feeling of hopelessness and resignation. And of course, the self-sabotaging actions and uncanny mirroring of circumstances in life that provide perfect evidence to support the belief about ourselves.

My work looks at the words people have created, collected, and inherited that define them so we can “undo” those beliefs of limitation. By exploring the deepest level of our minds, we can see the language that binds us—so we can let it go or redesign it, and in so doing inspire natural feelings of freedom and possibility.

“Accept yourself as you are, where you are, and simultaneously get clear on what it is you’re dedicated to creating beyond that.”

A lot of women—probably men, too—struggle with perfectionism, which, as you say, leaves no room for humanity. What are healthier ways to shift that framework and create more room for messiness without feeling like you’re letting yourself down, or relaxing your standards?

It’s important first to discern where the perfectionism is coming from. What’s its intention? I think there’s a relatively healthy kind and then the more destructive and honestly futile version. When perfectionism is used as a commitment to something inspiring, then I’m not opposed to it. This could be part of the values and qualities of a corporation and their service or maybe to a standard of excellence sought by a professional athlete. I would restructure the language with words like “precision” and “beauty,” but nonetheless I think that level of attention to detail and relentless dedication can be aspirational.

However, the perfectionism that is most commonly spoken of in the negative sense is a strategy of the ego to hide fear or to try and win favor with the Joneses. Which leaves us exhausted and going nowhere, aside from maybe the doctor’s office. This normal interpretation of perfectionism is associated again with deeper beliefs of inadequacy. It’s a compensation that ultimately does nothing but reinforce the beliefs that inspire it. And so the vicious cycle begins.

To embrace our humanity is to embrace imperfection. No one is perfect. You’re just not. And realize you can still be committed to being extraordinary in the areas of life that are important to you. Both qualities can coexist. As I tell people I work with, they’re simultaneously a masterpiece and a work in progress. Accept yourself as you are, where you are, and simultaneously get clear on what it is you’re dedicated to creating beyond that. This to me is possibly the greatest quality of being human—we get to create who we choose to be along with the life we want. Easy? Not at all, but if it were, it wouldn’t be so fulfilling.

You believe that women, as more intuitive beings, have an advantage over men in that they can feel into situations. Can you explain what that is?

As our brains have evolved and we’ve become more strategic about our survival, we’ve relied more and more on thinking versus feeling. Humans have advanced in their ability to predict and calculate—but to a fault, where much of our time is spent trying to “figure out” what’s going to happen. Fundamentally it’s still a survival instinct, which is why it’s tiring.

Woman are and always have been more in touch with their feelings. This, to me, gives balanced women an edge, as they can use their sensitivity and intuition instead of the more logical left side of their brain. This is significant, as it taps into an energetic level of experience that is more connected to the natural rhythms of life or any given situation. This is part of what quantum physics refers to as entanglement or being part of the unified field. When we’re in our heads, our perspective is isolated and separate. We are basically in self-preservation mode. When we’re in our sensory body and feelings, we’re far more in harmony with our surroundings versus being in our heads. This lets us have a better ability to respond to a circumstance more accurately.

But even women have drifted away from their intuitive feeling abilities and have started to overthink everything. I think the current universal rise of the feminine is powerful and important to regain this gift of intuition. Simultaneously, it’s helping men to also connect with their inner feminine with the same sensitive qualities and perceptive abilities.

“It’s those insidious patterns and beliefs that lie in the deeper recesses of our mind that have us feeling less than or unloved, which then sabotages our potential and overall experience of life.”

Why is most of your one-on-one work with clients centered around addressing the inner child?

Fundamentally, the inner child is a conversation. It’s the part of all of us that got created during our formative years. It constitutes the majority of that voice in the head that is designed to survive. It is, at the basic level, simply part of the development of the brain. Regardless of whether we experienced an idyllic childhood or had to literally make it through the hardest of times that we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy, we will have created neurological patterns for our survival. Many of these are of course wonderful—knowing how to walk, ride a bike, speak, brush our teeth. All very functional.

However, it’s those insidious patterns and beliefs that lie in the deeper recesses of our mind that have us feeling less than or unloved, which then sabotages our potential and overall experience of life. Collectively I refer to these as our inner child. It’s that part of us that is just like looking through the eyes of a scared, vulnerable, and powerless child. This is when we feel defeated, anxious, and worthless. It’s an inherent part of being human, so it’s not wrong, but it’s clearly not helpful when we want to live the life of a powerful adult. By distinguishing these limiting narratives, we get to break free from them and tap into depths of power, joy, and vitality that, again, many don’t even know are fully available to them. To me, that is the end of suffering and, in a very real way, what it means to discover heaven on earth.

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