An Incredible Question to Ask Each Other
There's a question I like asking when someone's frustrated about something.
And something could be the meeting she was in, the pad thai he ordered, the movie she saw.
What would you change about it? I ask.
Someone probably once asked me this. And it rattled my thinking. Because it's normal to think we can't change things. Or that this is just the way it is. But the question uses dissatisfaction as a launch pad for creativity.
I love how people respond to it. Often, they're surprised. They may pause, suggest why it can't be changed. But if you gently nudge - "It's true you don't run the meetings. But let's say you did: how would you do it differently?" - something pretty terrific can begin happening: people start to engage with possibility.
They'll throw out some ideas, tinker and refashion them, maybe trash them and come up with new ones. The quality of the ideas doesn't really matter. What matters is folks see themselves as authors of change. Which is the door this question can open.
But it's not just a question for others. It's a question for me, too. If I'm frustrated with local politics, the way someone treated me, my mood, I'll ask myself: What would you change about it?
And my first response? I can't change anything. But if I keep on nudging myself, there's a good chance some fresh thinking will emerge.
It's true: there's plenty on earth we can't change. But it's also true there's plenty we can. And this six-word question can help us remind each other and ourselves to take ownership of that responsibility.