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Break Through Mindset Shifts (Pt. 2 of 3)

If you have yet to read Pt. 1, please start here

4. Instead of providing answers… ASK MORE QUESTIONS

Have you heard of a flipped classroom style of teaching? The easiest way to think of it is that instead of the traditional “sage on the stage” in which a teacher teaches and students passively listen and absorb, the teacher behaves more like a “guide on the side,” and it is the students that are actively participating in learning activities while the teacher is there to dynamically course correct.

Now, let’s take this flipped classroom idea one step further and imagine a “flipped exam.” An inherent assumption with written exams is that we are going to be evaluated on how correctly we answer the questions we are asked. However, what if instead of being evaluated on how well we answered a question, we were evaluated on how well we formulated new questions based on a given situational scenario?

“We get smarter not by answering more questions, but by asking BETTER questions”

Gil Hedley, Director of Somanautics

Unfortunately, education is often framed as a finite game in which the goal is not about learning but about regurgitation and compliance, so you can achieve the credentials and move on. On the contrary, learning is an infinite game in which you are eagerly engaged in a process of self-transformation. In order to transform yourself, you have to be curious, and your curiosity has to be valued and encouraged.

In To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink talks at length about how one’s ability to move others to part with resources (money, time, attention), is more dependent on one’s problem FINDING abilities than problem solving abilities.

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science”

Albert Einstein, 1938

Asking better questions helps to advance your level of insight and intuition, and it is with this advancement that you can be more creative. And your improved ability to harness your own creativity will make you more interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful. Moreover, your question asking skills will improve your emotional intelligence, in particular your ability to be compassionate and empathetic.

5. Instead of seeing people as potential problems… SEE PEOPLE AS CONCERNS.

“When you stop seeing people as a set of problems, and start seeing them as a set of concerns, you can learn to become the SOLUTION to their concerns”

Travis Carson, Tony Cooper, Stan Phelps (Diamond Goldfish, Market Force Global)

In Diamond Goldfish, Carson, Cooper, and Phelps make this great distinction between problems–that which is seen as harmful/unwelcome–and concerns–that which is seen as a matter of interest or importance.

Your words matter because they frame your experience, and it is that framing that affects your feelings and imagination. “Problems,” especially when in the context of people and relationships, can create feelings of resistance and resentment towards that which you deem as being harmful. If you see someone as potentially harmful, then you are closing off your ability to share in one’s emotional experience compassionately. However, concerns are inviting and nonthreatening; therefore, through this lens we can be the kind of empathetic witnesses for others that we often desire and need for ourselves.

6. Instead of looking for short cuts… PURSUE PATTERN RECOGNITION

When it comes to the topic of mindset shifts, Seth Godin is a master. His ability to distill wisdom into succinct, actionable, and inspirational insights while also brilliantly questioning the status quo is why his following is so loyal, and his work remains relevant and timely. This important distinction between short cuts and pattern recognition comes from his book The Icarus Deception.

Pattern recognition is the beating heart of innovative and genius artistry. Pattern recognition is the result of committing yourself deeply enough to your craft that you see what others do not because you are no longer just seeing, you are co-creating! The artificial separation fades between you and you are environment, and what happens next is actually more in your control than you’ve been led to believe…

“In the end, mastery involves discovering the most resonant information and integrating it so deeply and fully it disappears and allows us to fly free.”

Joshua Waitzkin, The Art of Learning

A short cut is just a lazy way to answer a question to solve a problem; whereas, pattern recognition is what unlocks your ability to ask better questions to address the concerns of others. When addressing the concerns of others, you are playing the rare “away” game of being in service and GIVING, as opposed to a “home game” only focused on and driven by what you can GET.

See you tomorrow for the final installment of 9 Break-Through Mindset Shifts! 🙂

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