We know that information is all around us. And knowledge and even wisdom are too – if you use your attention in the right way.
Here is a short exercise to help you get access more of what you know. To help you see with fresh eyes and listen with fresh ears, to help you connect with you might already intuitively know. You might want to allow yourself 5 minutes or so to complete the exercise and, if you can, another 5 minutes or so to process what you learn.
The exercise is very simple, to the point that it might even seem repetitious. This allows you to maintain focus to learn more than you had noticed before to look and really see. And since the foundation of lasting change is building in practices and habits to prime your awareness and habitual thoughts, you can use this regularly as a Practice. So let’s try it out and see what you discover:
Step 1: Select your context.
Select some topic to focus upon for this exercise. It could be a goal you have been working on. Or a relationship that you have been thinking about. Or a problem you are facing. For the first few times, you might want to avoid emotionally charged topics to get used to this simple process.
Step 2: Setup your space.
Choose a physical location that can represent that context. You could identify a chair that is in your room. Or an imaginary circle on the ground. Or even a whole room if you have the space. The intention is to have something on which you can focus your attention so if you don’t have so much space, you can use objects – even something like a coffee cup or a juggling ball – to represent the context.
Step 3: “What do you know from here?”
Step into that space (or focus on that object) and ask yourself, “What do I know from here?” If you are coaching someone, you can ask them “What do you know from here?”
Step 4: “And what else do you know from here?”
After the initial response and remaining in that space (mental or physical), ask yourself again, “And what else do I know from here?” Allow yourself to come up with another answer. The challenge at this stage is to keep yourself (or your client) focused on the topic – and that is where the value can be found: You will then repeat the question again and again, for a total of six times. You might repeat back or note the previous answer to prompt yourself to search more intently for an answer.
Step 5: “And now what do you know?”
Having gained more information about what you ‘know’ it is time to reintegrate that knowledge. Allow yourself to do this in whatever way feels appropriate.
We often find that the initial answers to Steps 3 and 4 are fairly superficial yet by persisting with the questioning, surprisingly rich insights emerge. To take the process further, you might identify another space (or spaces) that knows something about the context and repeat Steps 3-5. For example, if your ‘context’ was your relationship with your boss, you could select your “desired career” as another space, giving yourself an opportunity to think about your relationship with your boss from the perspective of your desired career.
(While this exercise is aimed at adults, it is sufficiently simple that even a child could do it, especially if guided by a parent.)