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Thought Leaders Unpacked -> The Answer to How is Yes #1: How is the Wrong Question

thought-leadersFirst assumptions can be the most difficult to recognize. Beginning assumptions that guide one’s thinking before one has even had a chance to begin thinking.

What if such assumptions were to trap one’s thinking? To mislead and ensnare one in a labyrinth of well-meaning but ultimately self-defeating dead ends.

Peter Block begins his reflections in chapter one of The Answer to How is Yes with just such a survey of fallacious starting points.

If you are new to Thought Leaders Unpacked™ we are not summarizing or reviewing content when we explore these books one chapter at a time.

We are learning, each one of us in particular. We are responding to what challenges us personally.

I am stunned by the insight that asking “How?” assumes that I don’t know and that someone else does know.

I am stunned to witness how easily I denigrate my power, my experience, my wisdom, my expertise and my ability to solve problems by how I frame the question. How I frame the question in terms that assume I am not a crucial part of the answer.

The second personal challenge I encountered was the possibility that my “How?” questions were helping me to miss or avoid more significant questions like, “Is this worth doing?” and “Is this something I want to do?”

I’m somewhat astounded at how little attention I give to some of these more fundamental questions. And I have worked through a couple rather significant career adjustments!

I’m not even sure if I feel I’m “allowed” to consider what I want, since I’m part of an immediate family and a larger community to which I’m accountable. How do I include myself in the process?

The third powerful challenge to my assumptions came with the possibility that letting cost or time constraints dominate my decision might be a rationalization for not acting on something I believe in deeply. Ouch!

I consider myself a person of deep conviction. I feel I’ve organized much of my life and career around those convictions. At the same time, though, there is much I have not yet found my way forward. Much that I have not done, finished, achieved or acted on.

How might I be choosing to stay trapped on this side of success by choosing to believe the barriers are all issues of acquiring skills, financial resources, and knowing the right people?

It’s a question worth exploring. It’s a question I want to explore.

What about you? Of the six “How?” questions posed by Block, which ones do you tend to buy into, lean too heavily upon, or find yourself asking over and over again?

What was your main take-away from this chapter?

Each week I post my reflections from one chapter of The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block. My reflections are my own and are intended to generate conversation, catalyze additional thinking and encourage mutual learning.
If you are just joining the discussion now, welcome! Catch up on the entire series here.


Here's My Thought...


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