I'm looking for a phrase that describes the experience of limits, preconceptions and world-views being challenged, exceeded and revised. I convey this if I say something "blew my mind", but there is a casual and left-field tone that I'd like to avoid.

What's a more sober and professional way to describe this experience? The intonations of personal transformation and the revision of self-boundaries are important elements that I'm looking to include.

  • 2
    I know you're looking for a more professional phrase, but my favorite variant of this is "blow your tiny mind." – MT_Head Jun 11 '11 at 1:58
  • That experience took my breath away – JoshuaDavid Jan 18 '17 at 20:57
  • 1
    OK, I'm commenting on an old question. But I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned 'epiphany' which apart from its religious meaning, also has a secular meaning that seems to fit completely. – peterG Jan 30 '17 at 23:48

11 Answers 11


Made me think about X in a whole new way.
Gave me a new perspective.
Stunned / amazed / astonished me.

  • 1
    Really like your first two, thanks. They convey that the experience was transformational. – Ollie Glass Jun 10 '11 at 23:51

These can't be used in an exclamatory way like blew my mind, but I think they might give the basic sense that you're looking for?

  • expand one's horizons
  • push the envelope
  • changed my perspective / worldview
  • take x to a new level
  • a paradigm shift

And my personal favorite:

  • is deserving of a fat end-of-year bonus



Blown away, in the 3rd sense listed of "amaze" or "astound", is probably more formal-sounding that "blew my mind". For example:

I was blown away when that happened.

Or, have a look at synonyms for surprise. Try:

That was a revelation.

The experience filled me with wonder.

If the sense of otherworldliness is important, transcendent may be appropriate, as in:

That was a transcendent experience.

  • I really like "that was a revelation", it gives the sense of the experience being a watershed in one's personal history. This is a vital aspect of the phrase for me. – Ollie Glass Jun 10 '11 at 23:51
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    +1 I like revelation too. I think it's perfect to describe a shift in your mindset or way of thinking that affects your whole life. Like a paradigm shift, only on a personal level. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 11 '11 at 0:27

Here's what I personally would use to express "mind = blown" in a sober and professional way:

The experience opened my eyes to ... [X]

where [X] might be "a whole new way of looking at the world" or some other expression indicating the domain in which the epiphany happened. Speaking of which, epiphany is a good word itself to describe that state. It means

a moment of sudden revelation or insight. [NOAD]

This is a synonym for the Buddhist term satori, which means "sudden enlightenment" (from the Japanese 悟り).


A few more: "Sth. blew my mind" could also be expressed as follows:

  • It utterly shocked me.
  • I was flabbergasted.
  • I was dumbfounded (this one might more aptly convey the sense of "personal transformation and the revision of self-boundaries").
  • I was in awe of ...

I'd submit: "Astound". E.g. "The speech really astounded me."


I would say - "By George, that was something"

  • Haha! Love that expression – Thursagen Jun 11 '11 at 2:06
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    It doesn't actually fit the register. – Adam Feb 15 '13 at 0:10

If you are looking for an answer in a real sober mood without the use of any flowery language or superlative tense, I would put it like -

That was completely unexpected.


It was a "paradigm-shifting" experience. See this wikipedia article.


Here is a more professional one:

Swept me off my feet

  • This seems to convey a sense of exhilaration but not of boundaries being revised and exceeded - there is a transformative element to 'blew my mind' that I'd like to retain. – Ollie Glass Jun 10 '11 at 23:09
  • (1) This doesn't sound any more professional; (2) I almost always see this with the connotation of seduction/love at first sight, i.e. entirely the wrong meaning. – Marthaª Jun 11 '11 at 0:42

I like "my gray matter exponentially increased".

  • 1
    That misuses exponentially. – tchrist Feb 14 '13 at 19:14
  • I suppose you can use humor in the workplace, but the requested context sounds more like professional writing. – Adam Feb 15 '13 at 0:13

protected by tchrist Aug 13 '14 at 14:41

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