This is an invitation to continually question what it is you think is possible. It is the essence of the Nurturing Curiosity series, where the idea is that you work with one question for as long as that question offers you something. It will then open the way to fresh questions.
The simple fact is that yesterday’s you is no more. Today you may have had a deep insight, read something interesting, had a conversation or indeed met someone who may potentially open doors for you. Regardless of what it is, you now have different options.
So, ask yourself, now that I know I know, what is possible now?
I learnt this lesson when I was at university. There was an exchange programme that allowed us to spend our 3rd year in another university somewhere around Europe. This meant the degree would take 4 years rather than 3 and our classmates who didn’t go on the programme would have finished up by the time we got back. There was therefore some grieving around the fact that we would no longer get to study together.
Anyone interested had to apply by the middle of the 2nd year. One day a couple of months after the deadline for applications, I was at home studying when a friend called over and basically said “Dude, we have to study together in our final year.” When I regretfully countered that I would love to go but that it was a little late now, he just said “Go to the professor running the programme and tell him that you would truly love to go and see what happens.” After that conversation, it truly felt like I had fresh options – which in truth I did and I didn’t. I did, because the conversation with the professor was now an option and yet I didn’t because the deadline had closed months previously.
Seeing as I am telling you this story, you have no doubt guessed that I did go to the professor, bared my soul and ultimately got a place. A number of those who had applied dropped out and I got offered the last spot. As a result, I spent an amazing year at college in Switzerland, made some great friends including my future wife and the whole trajectory of my life was changed.
All of this from one conversation that gave me the impression that I had different options. That is the power of continually reassessing possibilities — one moment of insight, one conversation, one chance meeting can open doors you never even realised were there.
Question in the Image:
- Now that I know what I know what is possible now?
Want to Read More Around This Topic?
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger (link to Amazon.co.uk). This book delves into the importance of questioning in life and work, exploring how the most creative, successful people tend to be expert questioners. It offers practical insights on how to cultivate the art of asking more and more effective questions.
Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – in fact this question just popped into my head “What do I not question?“. I often ask “What am I not questioning?” and yet this feels very different. It is curious about those areas where I perhaps intentionally do not let my gaze fall. It makes me wonder “What identity am I protecting? What might I be afraid of?”
What Thoughts Would You Like to Share? My name is Tom O’Leary, and I envision a world in which curiosity shapes leadership. In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. My mission is to shift leadership focus from authority, over-measurement and control to curiosity, learning and innovation, empowering leaders to prioritise the essential. My journey, lived in a number of countries and through various languages, has always been driven by a profound sense of curiosity. In fact, life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.