Lost? Maybe asking a better question might be helpful.

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION, YOU DISCOVER NOTHING

W Edwards Deming

I have noticed with clients in the early stages of the coaching conversation that they are primarily focused on understanding “why” things are the way they are.


Questions like:
Why am I always depressed?
Why can’t I stop this?
Why am I so reactive?

Why, why, why?

Often, they are looking into their past for a justifiable reason for the behavior.


If there appears to be an answer, the most common one is, “I am this way because of this (fill in the blank event).”


There is no question you experienced something in the past. There is no question that you had a reaction to that event that, at the time, you acted in the best way you could, given your understanding at the time of that event occurring. That experience got filed into your 3-pound miracle for future use, innocently used as an excuse.


We are taught that there is an answer for everything.


What if there wasn’t? Then what?


We are taught to look within, to analyze the situation.


What if there was nothing to look at or nothing to solve? Then what?


I have observed that when asking the WHY question, we tend to move into our memories and analytical minds searching for the answers. We look for what we know and compare it to the present. Because the ego must be correct, it will magically sound reasonable that this is the answer to all your problems.


What if there really was no problem? Then what?


How can you tell if you have a problem?


There are two sure-fire ways. Ask yourself, “if I was not thinking about this problem, would it still be there?” Another good one is, “will this problem fit in a wheelbarrow?” In other words, does this problem have a form? If I have a leaky roof problem and stop thinking about it, would it go away? Probably not; no matter how much analytical thinking I do about it, that leak will continue. That is a REAL problem, and acting appropriately to the situation is probably very important if I am not willing to have my home damaged.


So those problems that appear real to us and are not are made up by the ego. If you notice, you are not present in the moment and either in your past (which started a nano-second ago) or the imagined future (and we love to make up futures).


When we ask the WHY question about our problem, and because it appears very real to us, our conditioned mind only knows one place to look for the answer. In the place of the personnel known knowledge, memories. Because memories are created through our perceptions at the moment and are often filtered and later distorted over time, they become unreliable.


Where are we right now? (A great question, BTW)


Knowing that we may or may not really have a problem, what brings attention to this fact is our feelings at the moment. An uneasy feeling, however, gets our attention. We also know any solution brought forward to use from the past is based on old knowledge and may not apply to the current situation, even though there is some familiarity to it. We need to look for a fresh and new approach.


Faced with what appears to be a problem, instead of asking a WHY question, ask a WHAT question instead.


What can I do right now?


This question immediately puts you in the present moment because that is all you can deal with at any moment of the time anyway – IS THIS MOMENT! There are no other moments.


You will notice that most of the time, the answer that will come up is, there is nothing that you can do. That might frustrate your ego, and that’s okay. You don’t have to act on everything your ego comes up with. Knowing that nothing you can do IN THIS MOMENT frees you up for something fresh and new to occur that is more appropriate.


Don’t take my word for this. I would love you to try and experience this for yourself.


When you notice (feeling) that you are seeking an answer to a WHY, just point yourself in the direction of WHAT can I do now? See what comes to mind and then take that step and then the next one that follows.


Share with me what you notice or experience by throwing a comment or two my way.


Oh, one more thing about those past experiences. They describe you and don’t define you – remember that.


Lot’s of love,
Rick


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