“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” –Rilke
Surely now I am challenging your conception of a business coach, but hear me out. I am reading a book called Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on it, Leslie. One of the distinction the author makes about curiosity is between a puzzle and a mystery. We are, so many of us, puzzle-solvers. I know I am. We try to figure things out and then take action to move forward. I applaud this approach. My horizon expanded recently, though, when it dawned on me that some things are mysteries and not puzzles.
With a mystery, we must slow down, take the time to sit and watch, to observe and ask more and better questions. Be and remain curious. I find in particular that relationships seem to fall into the category of mystery rather than puzzle. How do I talk to my employee, spouse, child so he can best hear me? How do I motivate productive behavior? Why do some of our conversations seem to go well while others crash and burn? There is no simple puzzle-solving answer.
With some of our challenges and some of our goals, it is best that we remain open, not decide too soon that we know the “answer”, that we have solved the puzzle. Instead, we learn instead to “love the questions themselves…”
My challenge to you this week – begin to distinguish which of your challenges are puzzles and which are mysteries. If you are like me, the mysteries may take you outside your comfort zone as you learn to ask more and more questions and sit with not knowing the answer, but the reward is immeasurable if you keep your eyes open and “live the questions….”