The problem of late is, the world as we have known it has changed. Today’s global pandemic has altered how humans learn, work, socialize, and congregate. What used to make perfect sense (or at least some sense), suddenly is up for examination. You begin to question if your day-to-day modus operandi still applies.
As our collective way of being and doing is hindered, we confront the way things have “always been” and see the amazing malleability in “the way things are.”
In his 1963 Irish parliament address, John F Kennedy said that the problems of the world could not be solved if our “horizons are limited by the obvious realities.” Unless we come together to consciously question these ‘obvious realities,’ our unquestioned past, our assumptions, and the road ahead will continue to be constrained, restricted, and bounded.
Let me share a vignette with you – one that I happen to love:
A father is cooking the Thanksgiving Day turkey. He cuts off the legs of the turkey and places them alongside the body of the turkey in the pan before setting it into the oven to roast. His 7-year-old daughter asks, “Daddy, why do you cut the legs off?” Her father replies, “That’s how we have always done it.” However, the question lingers in the father’s mind, so he asks his mother, who also replies, “That’s how we have always done it.” Yet, the question lingers in the mother’s mind as well. So, she decides to ask her mother. Her mother replies, “Because we didn’t have a pan large enough to hold the entire turkey.”
This light-hearted story reveals how even the nuances of behavior, in this case cooking a turkey, have been greatly influenced by the past; specifically, the unquestioned past.
Julio Olalla, one of the founding fathers of coaching, often says, “We live answers to questions we’ve never asked.” When you begin to see that so many of the ways you act, think, and yes, even feel are inherited (from your family, your community, your culture, etc.), you begin to see how you have been limited by your inheritance.
Many people assume you see things as they are. But what if that weren’t true? What if you see things the way you learned them? What if you see things as you were taught?
When you discover the legacy you have been given, you can consciously choose which aspects you want to preserve and which ones you wish to discard or modify. You may want to continue to cook delicious turkeys, and you may find that you don’t need to cut off the legs prior to cooking.
In these times, many cultural certainties (inherited assumptions) are being challenged and unraveled. This demolition is not happening only by a singular individual, but rather it is occurring on a global front. What will happen when day-to-day the known is unraveling before our eyes? What is the cost of this unraveling if society is unwilling to examine its fundamental assumptions?
The answer remains to be seen.
We are not bound to fail as people, we can forge a positive path forward. It begins with letting go of clarity and allowing yourself to question your obvious realities, your unquestioned past, and your fundamental assumptions. A new emergence requires a metamorphosis state. The caterpillar must dissolve prior to becoming a butterfly.
When you question your deepest assumptions, you are no longer confined to that one path or trajectory. New horizons emerge. You suddenly confront that the door is wide open and the paths are infinite.
Your Turn to Practice
- What assumptions and certainties have you not yet questioned?
- How is the unquestioned past limiting you and what’s possible?
- What legacy do you wish to create?
If you’re ready to dive deep and learn how to question your realities, then join our Foundation Course or Coaching for Personal & Professional Mastery program.
About the Author:
Veronica Olalla Love, M. Ac., NCC, PCC is the Global CEO for the Newfield Network. She is also an international facilitator for the Newfield Network Programs and is the lineage holder for the Newfield Network’s ontological coaching tradition. In her unique and passionate style, Love invites us to remember the depth of potential we have as evolutionary beings.
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