The Socratic Way Pt. 2: Six Easy Questions To Get You Unstuck & Illuminate SolutionsJul 02, 2021
In the same way a writer staring at a blank sheet of paper, unable to materialize solutions gets “writer’s block,” we can also experience “life blocks” of all kinds; cognitive limits that keep us from expanding into our most powerful selves. In The Socratic Way Part 1, we discussed the difference between Socratic and didactic thinking. Didactic thought, which most of us are taught, programs us to seek answers in order to execute what we’re being told to do within existing frameworks. While this works perfectly for a society of drones meant to execute tasks for monolithic institutions, it doesn’t work so well for powerful creators meant to change the course of the future by manifesting their own vision of success! This is why TMG teaches Socratic thought, which programs us to recognize and rebuild the frameworks themselves.
This order of thinking encourages creation, evaluation and analysis, breaking down walls of limitation caused by didactic thinking. This systematic approach was developed by Socrates, the famous philosopher who challenged the conventional wisdom of his time. Still used today, this hidden-gem of a brain trick has aided me in jumping the line in my own career, right out of the office and into the boardroom as a C-level executive in just a matter of months. From there, I sprang from overseeing three departments to the almighty CEO seat at my own company. Take it from me, once you’ve made the leap to the boardroom, it’s much easier to climb to the higher-heights that once seemed impossible! Now that we’ve explored the 8 step process of Socratic Questioning, let's take a look at the actual question-types themselves.
The 6 Socratic Questions:
Once a matter has been raised for discussion, there are 6 Socratic question types that we encourage every querent to ask in order to create space for solutions. While this method was developed by Socrates, TMG has modernized the approach, creating a more expansive version, one that we use regularly to coach our community members. Instead of waiting to be told where to start, these questions are applicable any time you find yourself facing a “blank sheet of paper” so to speak.
Socratic thought is the polar opposite of absolutes. Absolute thinking is a cancer to success-mindset and the opponent of cognitive flexibility, which is vital to anyone desiring to occupy executive spaces. Willingness to explore different perspectives and positions with objectivity immediately increases your value and will get you noticed from the high-order solutions this level of thinking provides. Use the following 6 question types any time improvement, expansion or insight is sought.
Type 1: Clarifying Questions
EXAMPLE: Why do you say that? How does that relate?
Clarifying questions are questions that the querent asks in order to prevent misunderstanding and eliminate confusion or ambiguity. This type of question ensures that the querent properly understands the message and obtains important additional information, uncovering any hidden next-steps toward solutions.
Type 2: Probing Assumptions
EXAMPLE: What can we assume instead? How can you verify or disprove this?
Our subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of all of our decisions because it is where we store beliefs. A paradigm (para-dime) is an idea, theory, or generalization that frames our belief systems. These questions allow the querent to think about presuppositions and unquestioned paradigms that reside deep in the subconscious, the very beliefs on which reasoning is founded.
Type 3: Probing Reasoning & Evidence
EXAMPLE: What would be an example? What causes this to happen?
Often, people tend to rely on “un-thought-through” or poorly-understood support for their own reasoning because they are simply working to reinforce a limiting belief that may not be universally true when expanded upon. When a querent gives a rationale for their reasoning, dig beneath the surface of that reasoning rather than assume it is a given.
Type 4: Questioning Viewpoints & Perspectives
EXAMPLE: What is an alternative? What is the opposite, but equally true?
Reasoning comes from a position based on a particular paradigm. When this paradigm is limited, the reasoning itself becomes limited. Using cognitive flexibility and expansive thinking, set an intention to show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints beyond first arrivals. This unlocks the doors to alternative solutions, creating our path of least resistance.
Type 5: Questioning Implications & Consequence
EXAMPLE: What generalizations are you making? How will [blank] affect the outcome?
Absolute thinking creates implications from a limited perspective, easily forecasted when the foundational paradigm is understood. Set an intention to throw a “wrench” in the foundation of these beliefs by examining expectations, associations, variables and outcomes. If a foundation can be dismantled, it will come crashing down from it’s own unfounded nature.
Type 6: Questioning the Question
EXAMPLE: What is the point? What does that mean and why does it matter in the big picture?
What if the thing we thought was most true in the world, was incomplete? This final question type is where we see a bigger picture, opening the doors to our own expansion. Remember, expansive thinking allows for all possibilities. Ask yourself if everything you know could be wrong, and what that would mean? When we are at peace with change, solutions appear.
Setting Yourself Free
A TMG success principle that has taken me far in my career has been “Embody Executive Energy.” This proclaims the inherent role each of us possess as CEO of our own lives. We each have the choice to step into this position, or continue to sit on the sidelines and blame everyone and everything around us for our own stagnation. Perhaps some of the blocks you might have encountered along your own path to becoming this executive, lie in the limitations of didactic thought. Swapping out this limiting program for one that frees you from the confines of delegated structures, allows you to add increased value by offering high-level solutions that instantly align with this executive energy space. Start by applying this method within each delegated task, and watch as you start becoming the one doing the delegating.
If you are still stuck in what I call the “millennial mind trap,” consider shifting your thinking by applying the TMG Socratic Questioning Method, aiding in your analysis, propositions, presentation, high-level conceptualisation and foundational structuring. Applying this simple technique along with other cognitive development tools and success principles, much like the ones I teach to our members every day, are a sure fire way to move you into the Executive Energy you’ve been seeking; taking you one step closer to fully embracing your position as CEO of your own life! Now, unlock your mental cage and finally make the decision to promote yourself. It’s the first step of the amazing success adventure awaiting you!
By: Dewey Taylor
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