“By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.”
– Pierre Abélard
Can you think of a time when you’ve been at a loss for an answer? What was it that triggered it? Do you remember feeling a pressure mounting? Like you were supposed to have an answer?
Questions we don’t have the answer to seem to threaten us. And when we feel threatened our “fight, flight or freeze”-response kicks in.
Fight, we become combative and lash out.
Flight, we seek to avoid the situation.
Freeze, we get stuck or “play dead”.
You can overcome this by continuing to put yourself in those situations and enduring the uncomfort. Little by little you’ll build up a tolerance for it.
This is not to say that it’ll ever disappear. But you’ll learn to live with it and not let it rule your actions.
What’s holding us back is our need to have a reply ready at a moments notice. The truth is that we can afford to take a couple of seconds before responding to allow ourselves some time to actually reflect on what it is we actually want to say.
There will be times when no matter how much time we give ourselves we can’t come up with an answer. This is when it’s important to give ourselves permission to utter those three magic words: “I don’t know.”
Then comes the matter of following it up with another three even more magic words: “I’ll find out.”
Often we think that it’s the other person putting the pressure on us to come up with an answer. The truth is that we’re the ones telling ourselves that we ought to know.
Or perhaps the “theory of mind”-version: “I think that they think that I ought to know.”
Cool it! Not every question is a demand.
The very first thing we utter doesn’t always yield the greatest results.
Give yourself at least 3 seconds to think.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!