11 Jan Find and Use Your Voice of Wisdom, Part One
This week, we look at a way for you to see how to make crucial decisions quickly, efficiently, and with more self-confidence than ever before. We are increasingly called upon to choose how to respond to situations that demand quick answers. In addition, we deal with more information and data daily than a person living 70 years ago dealt with in two or three months. We know there’s more information in one Sunday edition of the New York Times than a person living in the last half of the 19th century needed to know throughout their whole life!
Given the above situation, might you be willing to find and use a different way to access answers that fit and are appropriate for your current needs? Answers that have what I call a “ring of rightness” because they come from one aspect of you that’s grounded in internal wisdom. If your answer is “yes,” continue reading because I will show you how to access your Voice of Wisdom to get information about the best way to proceed, thus saving you the time it would take you to ruminate and obsess about what to do.
There’s only one caveat: when you hear your Voice of Wisdom talking to you, you must promise to do what it says. If not, it will cease to work for you. I don’t know why that is. I just know this is how it works.
First, I’ll explain what I mean by Voice of Wisdom and why it’s so helpful to find and use it. Then, we’ll examine the difference between your Voice of Wisdom and the Negativity Bias we all confront when we’re at a crucial choice point.
In Part Two, I’ll give you a simple method to find and then use that inner wise, calm voice that will support you in choosing what to do when making an immediate decision regarding a situation you’re dealing with.
You deserve to see what’s already inside you, just waiting to be accessed and used. You might surprise yourself that a wellspring of wisdom has always been there, waiting for you.
How I discovered my Voice of Wisdom
You might be surprised at how innately wise you are! However, to get the most out of this article, you must tell the truth about a time when you heard your Voice of Wisdom speaking and didn’t listen.
As you’ll soon see, the question has never been whether or not you had a Voice of Wisdom. It has always been whether or not you listened to it and did what it said to do.
Our most salient lessons often come from the negative instance.
For example, you might remember what went wrong when you heard but didn’t do what your Voice of Wisdom suggested.
I discovered what happens when I don’t listen to my Voice of Wisdom around 40 years ago. That was when I loaned someone $35,000 on an unsecured promissory note. In truth, the money wasn’t mine since I’d borrowed it from a relative at 10% interest because the man I gave the money to promised that I would make at least 35% on my investment.
I heard my Voice of Wisdom talking to me as I sat across the table from this person at a downtown restaurant here in Sacramento, about to sign the check for $35,000. As I was about to put my name on the check, this small, calm, sweet voice began in my head. It said to me: “Don’t do it.” It was simple and easy to understand: “Don’t do it.”
I didn’t listen to that inner voice and signed the check anyway. Has something like that ever happened to you?
Thus began my adventure into looking at my relationship with money. My “investment” was a Ponzi scheme named after Charles Ponzi of Boston, Massachusetts. In the 1920s, Ponzi launched a scheme that guaranteed investors a 50% return on investments in postal coupons. Although Ponzi could pay his initial backers, the scheme dissolved when he could not pay later investors. The Ponzi scheme was most recently demonstrated by Bernie Madoff, who created the biggest one in investment history. People lost billions because Madoff’s reserves ran dry when he could not find enough new investors to pay the ones who had already invested. All Ponzi schemes eventually collapse in just this way.
I was mortified! Ashamed! It took a while before I saw friends and colleagues again because I was worried they’d ask me about the great investment scheme I’d bought into. If you’re interested in the whole story, I invite you to get a copy of The Energy of Money. I wrote it after working with hundreds of people, individually and in groups, to help them be empowered in their relationship with money.
You and Your Voice of Wisdom
Let’s get back to that small, sweet voice. You’ve undoubtedly heard it a few times. It comes from deep within you and is always there. It’s different from the Negativity Bias we all experience when we’re about to do something new or different. Let’s examine the differences between your Voice of Wisdom and Negativity Bias.
The energy we experience when we hear and feel the Negativity Bias is firm and insistent. Some say it’s almost like a brake. Something to stop their action when they begin a new project, open a new business, start writing a book, or think about the talk they’re about to deliver. It almost always lets us know we’re not up to the task, we’ll never be successful, and there’s something wrong with us. Does that sound familiar to you?
The voice is harsh, often commanding, and certainly not empowering.
The Voice of Wisdom, on the other hand, is mild, warm, loving, and gentle, often with a sense of humor. While we usually feel the Negativity Bias coming from our head, the Voice of Wisdom emanates from our heart. There’s a reason for this difference. The Negativity Bias is fueled by our amygdala, the small almond-shaped part of our brain concerned with the instinct toward flight, fight, or freeze. It’s ancient, something we probably needed thousands of years ago to protect us from dangerous beasts.
Our Voice of Wisdom helps us rise above that Negativity Bias and urges us to keep going when we’re doing something that reflects our deepest values or stop when we’re about to do something we’ll later regret (as in my story above).
Before you learn to use your Voice of Wisdom, here’s the question for you to consider: are you willing to do it? It requires some practice, However, you’ll learn to draw upon it whenever needed. It is a “game changer” because you’ll give up one behavior we’re all familiar with: impulsivity. You’ll no longer be interested in taking quick action without considering the consequences. That’s one behavior we usually adopt when we’re tired, hungry, or angry. Acting on impulse almost always leads to decisions that are not guaranteed to bring success.
So, if you want to learn how to summon your Voice of Wisdom, we’ll dive right in at Part Two.
See you then,