There is one thing that most everyone says consistently that blocks us off from inspiration and keeps us stuck: I DON’T KNOW. Think about how often you say this phrase. A lot, right? I used to and I didn’t understand WHY I frustrated because I also wasn’t able to find solutions easily. The thing is, by saying, “I don’t know” we STOP and BLOCK that flow and line of questioning in our minds.
Our brain is very efficient at each task we give it. This is why questions are so effective at helping us access inspiration and figuring out solutions to our challenges. When we give ourselves a question, whether deliberately or even indirectly we leave that channel open, like a tab on our computer that we didn’t close. That tab is still running. The program is still loading. In short, it’s still working for us. By so doing, we eventually come up with a solution that just might work.
On the flip side, when we say, “I don’t know” – that puts up a wall. It’s a finite saying. It says, “I don’t know – I’m done thinking about this. Time to move on.” And so our brains do! We stopped that task. We closed that tab and there’s no point in our brain wasting anymore of our precious energy on it. But the problem is, sometimes WE AREN’T DONE thinking about it. We REALLY DO want to know the answer and figure out a solution!
Never accept, “I don’t know”
As ALL of my clients will tell you, I NEVER accept an “I don’t know” answer. EVER. I want to try and offer them a way to break this long practiced habit so they can access the inner wisdom and seek that personal revelation that will help them come up with solutions.
Imagine for a minute if Nephi, from the Book of Mormon, when asked to build a boat said, “I don’t know how to” and left it at that. No line of questioning. Just I don’t know how. What do you imagine would have happened? He may have sat around for a very long time waiting and waiting. But thankfully, he didn’t. What we know is that he asked. He lived inland and wasn’t familiar with boats at all so he didn’t even know what exactly he was asked to create AND he didn’t have any tools to begin. BUT…he had faith that God would provide a way and then he asked for help, “Wither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship?” (1 Nephi 17:9)
How many times are we given a task that we have no idea HOW we’re going to accomplish it? Sometimes the task seems monumental and instead of asking questions to figure it out, we just say, “I don’t know”?
Questions are pivotal
I promise you that saying, I don’t know – will only prolong the process and make it more difficult to for you to find the solution you are wanting/needing. Questions are pivotal to finding inspiration and revelation. We’re so used to our instant answers that we’re impatient when we don’t know something right away so it’s much easier to just say, “I don’t know” then to sit with a question for a little bit and let your brain fire off all kinds of suggestions. But again, saying those three little words tells your brain that you are DONE thinking about it.
What do you do then when you REALLY DON’T KNOW but you WANT to know??? The next time you find yourself with those words at the tip of your tongue I want you to try these instead:
- I don’t know…YET
- I’m figuring it out
- I’m going to think about it for a little bit.
- Where could I find the answer?
- Who else could I ask?
- Who else might know?
- What if I just guessed?
- If I did know, what would I say?
- Secretly I do know. This is what I think…
- This is what I do know…
- What’s another way I could ask myself this?
- Try saying things like, hmmm….maybe…. (at least it’s still open to thinking about it and not cutting the thought off).
- I need to think more about this, but here is what I can answer…
- Everything has a solution. I’m just going to keep working on it.
- I can solve this…
- I’m working on it, but right now what if…
- Sometimes when we’ve tried several of these and we still are floundering, try answering back with this: Yes, you do know.
- Another thing to try is going from your FUTURE self. Look into the future a year from now, 5 years from now, or even 50. Ask yourself HOW you figured it out and what you did about it. Your future self is pretty amazing and has a lot of wisdom to share with you. ANY problem can be solved through inquiry. It’s going to be through keeping that mental brain tab OPEN and streaming. Every problem DOES have a solution. You are privy to that information IF you’re willing to do the work and expend the energy to think about it.
Be willing to stay with it
There are answers to every problem if we’ll just stay with them long enough to figure it out. Ask yourself lots of questions, give yourself time to think about it, to process it, to guess and be wrong and to guess again. You will be amazed at what you’re able to come up with! The answers will pop up in seemingly random places. Something on TV will spark an idea. Maybe while you’re having a conversation with someone will that light flicker on. While you’re reading or studying will you find the answers you’re seeking.
But the key to all of it is going to be WHILE you’re seeking – while you’re questioning – while you’re willing to stay with it and let it stay open. I don’t believe there’s an upside to scarcity – to the fear of not knowing. I fully believe that we can know all things IF we’re also willing to do what is necessary to FIND the answers. They may not come quick. There may be some experiences we need to have BEFORE we can even start comprehending the answers but we CAN know!
When I taught piano lessons there were students that wanted to play sonatas before they could play a scale. I knew that one day they COULD play that sonata IF they really wanted to but first they’d need to learn a bit more and create a basis of knowledge first. Same with math, I can’t learn calculus before I know how to add. Can I eventually learn calculus? absolutely! IF I’m willing to take the path that will set me up so I can understand and comprehend calculus.
You will continue to figure it out UNTIL you block it with: I don’t know. That’s a wall, a closed door, a closed line of inquiry. It says, I give up. I’m done thinking about it. So it you’re really NOT done thinking about it. If you really do want to know – try some of the things above and get to work figuring it out. It WILL come. You CAN do this!
You got this!
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