More Block

Some more inspiring words from Peter Block’s The Answer to How is Yes.

Good questions work on us we don’t work on them. They are not a project to be completed but a doorway opening onto a greater depth of understanding action that will take us into being more fully alive.

I really like his suggestions for changing standard blocking questions, essentially from references to a world out there to challenges to the speaker himself. Instead of asking “How long will it take?”, ask yourself “What commitment am I willing to make?”. Instead of “How much does it cost?”, ask “What is the price I am willing to pay?”. And instead of “How do you get those people to change?”, ask “What is my contribution to the problem I am concerned with?”

I also loved this statement:

Idealism is hard to defend, for data and history seem to be on the side of realism and practicality, almost by definition. How can you defend idealism… by measuring its value? Idealism dissolves in a world where measurement and instant results are the most acceptable answers. The result is a socially acceptable cynicism. Cynicism is a defense against idealism, and cynicism is so powerful because it has experience on its side. We each have our wounds. We each have our story of idealism unrewarded or even punished. Cynicism is the safe ground, for it is the ultimate defense against disappointment. The effect is that the idealist is discounted, even considered a fool.

I am one of those fools. One of my character flaws is that I am a dreamer. The rap against the books I write and the talks I give and the way I am in the world is that I am not realistic. That I am out of touch with the harsh reality of life. That I view life from a lofty perch, forgetting what it is like in the trenches. All of which is true.

Fabulous writing.


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