“It is not only for unanswered questions that we seek knowledge, but also for the examination of unquestioned answers.” -Anodea Judith, Eastern Body, Western Mind
Are you looking for answers? Consider questioning the answers you already have.
Answer the following questions about yourself. “I know I…”
- What do I know?
- How do I know it?
- Where did I learn it?
- Does this knowledge inspire or hinder me? Why?
- I know I am alive.
- I know I am alive because I am breathing.
- I learned this from experience. I have seen a person who was not alive and I knew they were not alive because they were not breathing. I believe it because of the panic I have felt when I almost ran out of breath.
- The knowledge that I am alive inspires me because I know I am lucky and I only have this breath right now. It inspires me to take advantage of the moment.
- I know I need to work hard.
- I know I need to work hard because…I just do.
- I learned this from my family and society. If you are lazy, you are worthless. Without hard work you are nothing.
- The knowledge that I need to work hard hinders me because I equate working hard with doing something I don’t love. Working hard means being uncomfortable. It makes me feel like I’m never doing enough.
When you discover an answer that hinders you, question it!
FIRST STEP, QUESTION
In Example #2 above, I feel hindered by the knowledge that I need to work hard.
- Why? Because I feel like I’m not doing enough unless I’m working so hard I’m uncomfortable.
- Question: Is that what working hard means? Perhaps that’s what it meant to the people who instilled this belief in me, but does it have to mean the same thing to me?
- Answer: No.
- Question: What is an alternative interpretation?
- Answer: I have experienced good things coming from the spirit of working hard. I can replace “work hard” with “be intentional.” This reframe removes the discomfort that comes from forcing myself to do something, and it becomes an inspiration.
SECOND STEP, REWRITE
Example #2 rewrite:
- I know I benefit from being intentional.
- I know this because I have experienced good things when I act with purpose and integrity.
- I learned this by questioning the mandate to work hard and informing it with my own experience.
- This answer inspires me because it is free of judgement and full of possibility.
If you find yourself stuck in a situation where you feel you have no options or you are just stuck, try this exercise. Create your own answers. And continue to question any answer that hinders you!
Be inspired. Go forth. Create your reality.
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