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Pushing the Edge

Making Sense of Things You Don’t Like

Images for Making Sense of Things You Don't Like - Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran

We can often get caught up in limited ways of thinking or engaging with our surroundings.

Here’s a Making Sense strategy to disrupt our business as usual thinking. 

Ahh the weekly grocery shop done!!

Bags in hand, we walk home alongside a major thoroughfare to our city. 

AND It’s STILL there – as it’s been for months on end.

Everytime I see it – it’s like I can’t contain my annoyance.

I’m drawn right in, re-creating my frustrations once more. 

Work Fencing – that’s been up for ages.

That’s the source of my annoyance – my frustration. 

Add in the started yet not finished jobs around it, along with the resultant mess, & that’s more fuel for the fire. 

That I create and re-create each time it enters my field of vision.

I pose a rhetorical question (with likely ‘attitude’) – as we walk alongside the fences:

Why have they left the fencing up?

Simon won’t indulge me though – recognizing my question as a variation on a theme regularly invoked when we pass the fences:

Okay, let’s see who can come with an answer that makes sense. 

Whoever comes up with the most plausible answer (for my original question) wins.

 

It sets the scene for a mindset shift. 

The pendulum swings back and forth – with each of us positing probable reasons for the fencing duration. 

And then defending our explanations in light of questions from the other. 

Yes the competition is on, and Simon’s quite a task-master. I have to be right-on-my-game with my reasoning. 

So not surprisingly,  I’m no longer mired in the frustration and annoyance I associate with the site. 

And although the fencing still remains, we’re at least arriving at a couple of likely reasons as to why that may be the case, with a few laughs along the way.

And from this point, I can choose to let it go.

 

Later, I’m keen to explore the strategy further with Simon. 

He talks about invoking the strategy when a rhetorical question is asked –

OR when a person appears to be taking a mocking or critical view of a situation whilst not trying to make sense of it.

In this case, he sees my question as a repetition of a scenario we’ve played out a few times previously:

  • an invitation to join in and how stupid or terrible or ugly the fencing is. A collective whinge-fest if you will. 

There’s often reasons for situations however, reasons we may not be happy with, but reasons nonetheless that we often don’t take time to consider or explore. 

Instead we take the predictable, business-as-usual route – dismissing the situation and inviting a whinge-fest that doesn’t progress beyond such.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. 

Instead, we can invite speculation or hypotheses that we endeavour to build solid cases around. 

And over that next week – some of our hypotheses were strengthened while others were dismissed – on the basis of our encounters with the fencing.

Image - Let's shift how we engage with our surroundings - Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran

Photos: Greg Curran 2015

Making Sense Approaches

So how might you use this strategy that seeks to challenge our business-as-usual thinking and practices?

And what other strategies do you draw on – that seek to encourage expansive, open-ended questioning rather than limiting, close-circuited ways of thinking and being?

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2 comments… add one
  • Ben

    Greg,
    You nailed it. There have been many times that I’ve been sucked into the negative spiral that I’ve created around something that annoys me. Many of these conversations are just attempts to get someone to agree with me, “See that is stupid, its the worst……” Reframing these negative spirals by asking those why questions helps see things in a new perspective. We control how we react to the world around us positive or negative and when we take in different perspectives we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.

    Reply
    • Greg Curran

      Cheers Ben. Yes we can find ourselves replaying these conversations over and over – so halting ourselves through asking questions is especially important – as is having people around us who dare to step in and halt our business as usual.

      Reply

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