I remember, as a first grader, my hand shooting in the air in response to a question posed by my teacher, Miss Bonk (yes, that was really her name). There was something solid, definitive, and reliable about having the correct response. My right answers made me confident and courageous, willing to speak up.
As a society, we are schooled at a young age that delivering the right answer will earn us an “A,” the pinnacle of success. In 2020, Google puts knowledge at our fingertips, and it is possible to have the right answer for a wider variety of topics than ever before. We’ve become reliant on technology to quickly figure out how to respond to almost anything. (How many of your Facebook friends have suddenly become experts in epidemiology?)
But, what happens when you google “cures for Covid 19” and get a long list of results but no exact match? It is a sobering moment when we realize that we don’t have a common understanding of what constitutes an “A” in confronting novel situations like an extended quarantine.
As I have grown older and wiser, I realize that some of my “A” knowledge is outmoded and no longer deserving of a high grade. When I start doubting what I know, I rethink the questions to find better answers. In the past few months, I’ve been asking myself new questions. One of my favorites: What skills can I develop now that level up everything I do?
One of these meta skills I’ve been cultivating is “noticing,” a practice that kicks me out of my habitual thought patterns, so that I can see new opportunities. Just a few seconds of considering an object or a situation with a fresh set of eyes opens up depth and nuance, and an awareness of possibility.
Several of my clients are using extra time in quarantine to pursue new business ideas they’ve wanted to explore and just haven’t had the time. I guide them through techniques such as embodiment which taps into unconscious intuitive wisdom, and 180 degree questioningto look at their skills, experiences and goals from a new angle, and unearth deep insight. They are applying their new ideas to a changed business landscape, and I am in awe of what they are creating — new ways of funding not-for-profit organizations, creating opportunity for homeless women, building new levels of customer service into mortgage servicing, to name a few.
This is a precious moment in time to pause and consider what you would like life to look like after the pandemic subsides. The resilient among us are open to the possibility that there is something greater than what they originally had in mind for themselves, while simultaneously not losing sight of their goals. It is not an easy process, and it doesn’t make loss hurt less. What it does do open up new possibility and for those willing to do the hard work, it offers an opportunity to thrive and create a legacy.
Getting an “A” now is much more than having knowledge at your fingertips. We all have access to that, through the power of the Internet. Those who will create a satisfying life will take knowledge and apply resilience, ingenuity, and adaptability to design positive change.