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“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.” 
--Alan Watts

Creativity is no different from the other work that occupies us. 

We struggle often to find solutions to vexing problems: often remaining unhappy or unsatisfied because we’ve convinced ourselves that the choices in front of us are the only choices. 

Or we react quickly to events outside of our control, convinced that we have enough of an understanding of things to pass judgement. 

Whether it’s choices or events or actions: it’s not a matter of whether our judgement is of them is poor. It’s that we exercise judgement over them at all. 

It’s not an accident that much of humanity’s oldest advice can be reduced to tackling that very problem. And if it were fully solvable, we wouldn’t need 2,000-year-old advice to keep hanging around, now would we? 

Instead, what we need are reminders on a regular basis to keep our judgements in check. Because when we don’t do that work, we are isolated by what Boris Pasternak once called “the species of our perception.” 

Convinced too easy, too often by judgement, swayed too quickly by beliefs, we undercut the agency within ourselves to ask better questions. 

Instead, ask:
“What pieces might be missing from my understanding of this problem?”
“How might I act differently here?”
“How much of my reaction is based solely on what I think I know?” 

 
These are better questions. They prod us into unfamiliar places. They push us closer to that invisible world that exists within each of us where our best work lives.

Very best, 
Patrick 

P.S. Thank you to all of you who kindly forward this email to friends. It helps me a lot. You can do so clicking either of the green buttons below. Do that now. 

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