Hold Hands And Step

Today, I believe the single greatest obstacle we throw in our way, the single greatest disservice we plant in our children, the unfortunate self-imposed exile many seniors adopt, the great source of interruption to all creative dreams and dreamers, is this: the ridiculous notion that one must know “how” to do anything before starting to do it.

Knowing “how” comes second.

The opportunity to look back and see “how” comes (necessarily) at the end of the process, not at the beginning. To learn, one must begin by not knowing “how.” Not-knowing-how is the basic assumption of lively, active, creative beings.

The second assumption: no one does this walk alone. No one knows all things. To successfully not-know-how invites the opportunity to ask questions of others. Hold hands and step.

Peter Block wrote a terrific book with a title that says it all: The Answer to How is Yes.

Listen Beyond The Wall

788. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Megan told me that there are cultures that never talk about disease. They believe that the spoken word has power so rather than talk about the disease they speak about the road to health. Or, they assume health and speak about it in the present tense, thus creating health.

We walk a path defined by our assumptions. We see what we expect to see. We see what we believe. When we talk about not being creative or not being good enough, that is what we reinforce. That is what we assume so that is what we create. Or that is what we create so that is the role we assume.

I learned again today (apparently a lesson with no stickiness) assumptions are tricky because they are hard to see. Assumptions are the rules for the game we play, they are the guidelines for the roles we believe we must fulfill. At the base of every miscommunication is a dueling set of assumptions.

People withhold their voices because they assume they know how others will perceive what they say. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way,” is a statement steeped in assumption. Can you ever know how others will hear what you say? People diminish their truth because they believe they know how others will react. Can we ever know?

Assumptions are scary to challenge because they orient us. We locate ourselves in the world through the assumptions we make. It takes some fortitude to suspend our assumptions. It takes a desire to reach beyond what we think we know. The skill of listening is really about hearing beyond the noise-wall of our assumptions.

I can say, “I love you” and you will hear that I am cold. You can say, “I want to be near you” and I will hear that you are pushing me away. This is the power of assumption. We crush what is dear when wrangling with our assumptions and not what was actually intended. And so the story goes.

The spoken word has power. The internal monologue has power. When Richard Bach wrote, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours,” he was writing about assumptions. He was writing about the power of the word. Implied in his caution is the flipside of the coin: argue for your liberation and sure enough it is yours. The message is the same: flow happens when we can see and step beyond our assumptions.