Saturday, 1 June 2013

Changing you Life by Asking the Right Questions

By James Kyle

First of all please have a look at the two Richard Feynman videos. I personally have a great admiration for this man. Not only did he contribute so much to science in his work on path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, but also for me he represents someone who is a great role model for his attitude to life. He had a solid foundation in an intellectual approach to life that was balanced by his joy in creativity and playfulness, and a respectful wonder at the beauty of the universe. If you would like to know more about his remarkable life I can recommend "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!". Here is the link to the book on Amazon

The first video is about one minute long and the second just under five minutes.

In my opinion, one aspect of leading a powerfully effective life is to be a disciple of the Feynman approach to life. If there is one thing I hear echoed in his many public pronouncements it is the need to avoid just accepting what is said to you as "the truth". As his fellow physicist Albert Einstein said, "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen". I would suggest that life should be approached as an empirical experiment. A detective mystery if you like, where you are the case study. And here are some questions to help you along the way.

  • Why do I believe that?
  • Where in my past did I learn this ineffective pattern?
  • When was the last time I tried something new?
  • In general how aware am I of my emotional state in day to day life?
  • What is constraining my behaviour right now?
  • Why do I think I need to be consistent in my approach to life?
  • What choices do I have to make sense of this situation?
  • What choices do I have to make sense of another person's response?
  • Why do I continue to be addicted to thought patterns that bring unhappiness into my life?
  • Is my teacher / preacher / guru speaking from personal experience or parroting words from a (holy) book?
  • Am I asking myself the right questions?

If you would like to take this approach to a deeper level you might be interested in having a look at Kelly's personal construct theory.This expands on the idea, developing a psychological model of "man/woman as a scientist", a scientist of life who utilises psychological constructs to make sense of the world around them.

Again, if you would like to explore Kelly's work further here is an Amazon link to: A Theory of Personality: The Psychology of Personal Constructs