Beyond What You've Done Before

Beyond What You've Done Before
What should I do? You would be better off pausing and asking no questions rather than asking these types of action questions. They limit your options—usually to what you've done before, which might not fit the current situation.
— Michael Ray, The Highest Goal

What should I do?

When we face a challenge and are uncertain what to do, we often ask ourselves, what should I do?

I know I sure have asked myself this question on countless occasions.

In 2017, I learned a new question to ask in its place. I have asked it almost every day since. It's one of two questions that are always on my list to ask every day.

The question is, What does the wisdom in me move me to do right now?

This question came from Ken Manning during an interview for Forward Thinking Workplaces in response to my question, what is the most important question we should ask ourselves? Ken is the President of Insight Principles and a co-author of Invisible Power.

This question is also related to an idea in the book that fascinated me. I really didn't know what to do with it. My mind couldn't make sense of it at the time. I really wanted to be able to make a connection to this "formless place."

Down one branch of the fork is a life of trying to fix the thinking you already have, chasing after what your thinking has manifested. Down the other branch is a life of you seeing for yourself, in the moment, that the power lies in that invisible, formless place where your thinking comes from—and your potential lies—before you actually think anything. We are pointing to this branch. — Charbit, Manning, and Krot, Invisible Power

Then I asked Ken how we could more effectively access this wisdom. He went on to say:

First, you have to trust that it's there. Then you have to develop respect for it. You have to make room for it. You mentioned that you thought it was a good thing that I paused before answering your questions. I don't feel like I'm the author of my intelligence, but I'm grateful I have it.

And by the way, Ken's pause before answering a question was more noticeable and palpable than anyone I have ever interviewed. There was a real sense that Ken was sharing wisdom with every word he spoke. My interview with Ken is at What Does Wisdom Move Me to Do Right Now?

In case you're wondering, the other question I ask almost daily is, what is the highest and best I can aim for today? This question came from entrepreneur and marketing expert Perry Marshall. A preview of my interview with Perry is available at How to Get 80/20 to Work for You.

Action questions limit options

When Stanford Univerity's Graduate School graduates are asked what was the most valuable course they took while attending the university, the majority say it was a course in creativity and innovation taught by Michael Ray.

Michael Ray is the Professor of Creativity and Innovation and Marketing (Emeritus) at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. He is also the author of The Highest Goal and several other award-winning books.

In his course and book, Ray wanted students and readers to experience their inner wisdom, authority, and connection with all beings.

One of the many things we learn from Ray in The Highest Goal is how action-oriented questions limit us:

What should I do? You would be better off pausing and asking no questions rather than asking these types of action questions. They limit your options—usually to what you've done before, which might not fit the current situation.

Ray suggests that instead, we ask a different type of question and take time to be with each one to open us up to our intuitive wisdom.

Instead, try asking insight questions like the following:

  • What do I not yet understand?
  • What is it I'm really feeling?
  • What do I not yet see?
  • What does my intuitive wisdom say?

In my experience, it can take some time to transition to asking these questions because the answers, at least in my case and I think for most people, don't come immediately. I often need to move on to something else and allow more time to pass and create space for new answers to arrive.

What has been your experience?

What does the wisdom in you move you to do right now?

Then please share your thoughts on the online copy of this article. A link to this article is in the header of this email.

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Thanks for reading, and I hope this article will help you explore and expand your access to inner wisdom.

— Bill

Students who discovered their essential inner resources and the ultimate purpose of their existence found they could do their work and live their lives in ways that contributed to positive change in the world. The highest goal is simply to be in this experience of connection or truth (no matter how you refer to it) all the time.
— Michael Ray, The Highest Goal

Bill Fox - Forward Thinking Leadership
Reimagining you, leadership, and workplaces from the inside out to create forward-thinking leaders and workplaces of the future — today.