Today we are going to be talking about critical thinking and we are going to use a little game I’ve devised.

Forget a penny for your thoughts, how about filling the mind bank with toonies?  In today’s post, we are going to explore critical thinking by using our spare change. I am going to briefly define critical thinking and offer a fun game that will help you evaluate and make changes to your thinking.

Why is this important? Because becoming the CEO of our lives means we are in charge of our thinking, feeling, and behaving. You will remember from past posts, that our thoughts lead to feelings which then guide our actions.

I wonder how many readers/listeners will invest 10 minutes in preparing for this little game?  It may seem too silly; you may not have faith that it will be worth your time or you may convince yourself that you are too busy and can’t spare 10 minutes.  


Yes, it is a silly little game but, isn’t our thinking often silly? We allow it to be undisciplined, to create crappy feelings, and to get in the way of us taking needed action. Too often our thinking is automatic and led by beliefs that are unconscious and untested.

We often discount the long-term impact of our habitual thinking processes in the same way that we sometimes neglect our spare change, but it all adds up doesn’t it? Most of our money interactions are digital these days. We can forget that money is real. Our thoughts float around and we often detach and fail to take ownership of them too.  Both money and thoughts can give us pain and pleasure. Neither should be seen as something floating in the ethers outside of our control.


We are using the idea of critical thinking to look at and alter our thinking processes. We need to do this if we are to close the GAP between where we are and where we want to be.

Being a critical thinker means we free ourselves from automatic thinking. Automatic thinking is no more than a triggered response. We need to be willing to look at the connections between our ideas and our assumptions and be able to realistically predict the possible outcomes of our actions. When we think critically, we assume that we may not have all the data and we are willing to look at evidence that is contrary to our beliefs. We accept that much of how we operate is based on stored knowledge. In the model, I refer to this as the filing cabinet.

Critical thinking improves our mindset or mental habits. To do that we must be willing to carefully examine by observing, asking questions, and being open to new interpretations. When we can analyze information, recognize patterns, be objective, experiment, and make logical decisions we are thinking critically. In a nutshell, a critical thinker is goal-directed and looks beyond the automatic responses of the primitive mind.


If thinking is so important, then we may as well have a little fun with it, right? We always learn best when we move outside of our comfort zones and this game will do that for you.

To create a strong association with better thinking it is important to follow all of the steps:

-find a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, loonie, and toonie.

-you may need to go to your kid’s piggy bank for a penny, or an old money jar.

-take the smaller value coins and rub a little oil on them and then dip them in some old plant dirt or roll them around behind the couch with the dust bunnies.

-wash the loonie and toonie up with a little soap and water, love em up a little, handle them, and notice all the interesting little details these two beautiful coins have.

-now line up your coins on a safe surface, from the smallest to largest value.

Note- make sure that you find a safe place where no one will interfere with your game. Guard your coins. It is up to you to take care of your coins (and your thinking).


The coins provide us with a continuum for practicing critical thinking.

  • A penny is an automatic thought often not backed by evidence and may be a belief that hasn't been tested. 
  • A toonie represents helpful thinking that is aligned with goal-directed action and cultivates the experience of being the CEO of your life.
  • We want to keep moving along the continuum and getting better and better at choosing useful thoughts.

Some beginning questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this thought worth a penny?
  • Would someone I respect choose this penny thought?
  • How can I raise my thought to at least a nickel in value?
  • What thought would be worth a dime or maybe a quarter?
  • Is this thought worth a loonie?
  • What would make this thought worth a toonie?
  • What would a toonie thinker be thinking?   
  • Am I bankrupting myself with my thoughts or building up and protecting my coinage?
  • When and how did I raise the value of my thinking in the past? (you may want to review the role model article).


It is a simple game once you have completed the prep work.

  • Look at or imagine your lined-up coins, get a good visual in your mind’s eye, and remember the emotional associations you created.
  • Then begin asking yourself some of the questions I offered.

When to use this game:

a.     Use this game anytime you become conscious of your thinking. Simply assign your thoughts a value.

b.     Use this game whenever you experience uncomfortable emotional or physical states (review priming the mind article). If your thinking is consistently pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters begin practicing choosing loonie and toonie thoughts. Is this work? Of course, it is. But if your thinking is not consistent with your best possible self what is the alternative?

If you see yourself as an angry, anxious, depressed, stressed person then the value of the coin you continue to automatically choose will strengthen that identity. Asking the questions will prompt awareness and higher-value thinking. Consciously choosing higher-value thoughts will eventually create a different experience for you.

If good productive, critical thinking is hard work then why not assign a value to it? Start filling your mind piggy bank with toonie thinking.


1. Could you earn more toonies today than you did yesterday?

2. Can you earn more toonies this week than you did last week?

3. Can you imagine the compound effect in different areas of your life? 

Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW