So I met someone famous last week. Stacy Allison. She is the first american woman to summit Mt. Everest. I know. Impressive. You have maybe heard the stats—only one in 10 people that attempt Everest, make it to the summit and for every four people that make it to the summit, 1 person dies trying. Yikes.
Stacy is good friends with one of my friends and the three of us went for a long run together. After I gawked and got over my nervousness, I discovered pretty quickly that Stacy is just as human as I am (surprise) and the three of us had a very pleasant time together talking about the good, bad, and the ugly in our lives.
She gave me a copy of her book as well and I started reading it as soon as I got a chance later that day. I was fascinated with the story of a young girl trying to find her life and stepping into risks again and again.
"I wanted to absorb everything around me, to forget what I already knew
for the sake of everything that I needed to discover."
I thought. Wow! Isn't that really the key to really living. To forget all the stuff we think we know. To lose attachments to whatever "rules" we are following and live for the sake of what we can discover. What if we lived each day on a discovery path? Asking ourselves the question—what could I discover if I FULLY stepped into this moment?
So often, especially when we feel unsafe—we resort to control. We go back to what we know and defend our emotional or physical safety at all costs. Here's the deal though…we can't get that new discovery if we just sit and stay with what we already know. Oh, and the safety is just an illusion. Bummer huh?
So how do we do this—fully step into a moment with curiosity—on a practical basis? Here's a few ideas:
- Take the posture of a learner. Assume you do NOT know what is going on as you walk into a room
- Say the words, "I don't know" as much as possible
- Respond to your own life circumstances with a question: "What can I discover here?" or "What do I know here that I should forget?"
- Assume that our emotional reactions have more to do with us than whoever we are upset with—and look in the mirror before reacting.
I'd love to hear any other ideas that you have.