“Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.”
—Will Henry, 20th Century American Screenwriter
Image from Unsplash by Jason Rosewell
Through the process of coaching, most people become far more aware and mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Too often, we see foolish individuals blurting out whatever comes to mind to make their point, exert power, diminish others, or just be “right” on whatever the subject.
Wise and perhaps more thoughtful individuals sometimes remain silent on matters of importance with the all-too-frequent statement, “I should have said something,” when their inner voices urged them to do so.
Where, when and on what subjects is speaking up or remaining silent the right and wise thing to do?
“The only way some of us exercise our minds is by jumping to conclusions.”
—Cullen Hightower, 20th Century American writer
Image from Ellen’s Little Visits
With our never-ending race to get it all done today, we have all run into a problem. Despite our brain’s magnificent power to process vast amounts of information, we are beginning to hit a barrier to open and novel thinking.
We have learned a trick in which our established mental models create shortcuts to our processing power. We skip the often useful objective and reflective capacities needed in many situations.
Where have you recently jumped to an incorrect conclusion? Where and with whom might a slower, more thoughtful and open-minded approach prove most useful, in your professional or personal life?
“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
-Arthur McBride Bloch, Author of Murphy’s Law Books
Image from MP3ringtone
Time pressure is one of many factors affecting our personal and professional worlds. Most people I coach are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress. They feel they are required to accomplish more in less time than ever before, just to keep up.
Critical thinking and decision-making are vital components of the world we live in. It often feels like we are all on a game show in which getting the right answer is only one part of how we win. The speed of our answer is also part of the equation.
The sheer number of decisions we need to make causes many of us to seek short cuts in our decision-making process, to avoid exhaustion and burnout.
How are you currently allocating your mental energies to your personal and professional priorities? How can you conserve or strengthen this energy to help you reach your most optimal and wisest conclusion?
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather, leads you to the threshold of your mind.”
-Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer
image from itu.edu
Take a moment to get into an imaginary time machine and go back to your youth.
Specifically, I’d like you to visit your grammar school, middle school, high school, college, and if you had them, post-graduate educational experiences.
As you explore each of these periods in your life, take note of the teachers who have made the most memorable and lasting impact on your life. How many of them challenged your thinking and encouraged greater personal inquiry, rather than simply pouring their reservoir of knowledge into you?
Who are the current teachers, mentors, and coaches that lead you to expand the threshold of your mind? How can you be such a resource for others in your personal and professional communities?
“From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.”
—Publilius Syrus, ancient Syrian writer
A highly notable technique to support personal growth and development is to encourage people to embrace failure. When we fail, we have the opportunity to pick up experiential lessons from the event.
Today’s quote, however, suggests that not all lessons need to occur from our own failures, setbacks, and stumbles. All we need do is pay particular attention to the misadventures of those around us. From them, we can glean additional nuggets of knowledge and wisdom.
Given the fact that there is only one of you, and so many people in your personal and professional worlds, the odds favor the open and receptive mind in picking up a higher proportion of lessons this way.
Where and in what ways can you use the errors of others to pursue greater success and mastery throughout your day?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” Over the years, most of us have learned to take much of what we hear or read with the proverbial grain of salt.
At some point however, we decide what we are going to internalize and cement within us as truth. This choosing, whether intentional or perhaps mostly unconscious, can be useful and at the same time, limiting. Usually, these thoughts help us navigate our world efficiently and effectively, supporting a form of life momentum.
Alternatively, sometimes our thinking simply doesn’t work or serve us in certain situations.
Take out a piece of paper or Post-it Note, and write the following questions:
How does my current thinking help or hurt this situation?
What alternative thoughts would generate even more work-ability?
If you have been reading The Quotable Coach series for some time, you may know that Edward DeBono’s The Six Thinking Hats is a resource I refer to frequently.