18 Jan Find and Use Your Voice of Wisdom, Part Two
Welcome to Part Two of Find and Use Your Voice of Wisdom! In Part One, we saw that everyone has this voice, even though many of us haven’t learned to hear it (yet). Or, even if we’ve heard it, we haven’t listened to it and have suffered the consequences.
To review: your Voice of Wisdom is that small, sweet voice that many experience emanating from the region of their heart. It advises us to either do what is right in front of us or not do what we’re preparing to undertake. Your Voice of Wisdom is gentle and kind, with a sense of humor. Many report that hearing their Voice of Wisdom makes them smile and relax. Is that true for you?
In contrast, we often hear another “voice” when we’re about to do something new, different, or unique. It stops us from going further by telling us we can’t do it, don’t have what it takes, and that we’re too young (or old) to begin that project we’ve been dreaming about. It could sound something like the following:
Alex: I once dreamed of writing a book on helping people through tough times. For years, I taught people how to help those who were really sad or scared. I had so many ideas and notes, but whenever I tried to write, a voice in my head told me I wasn’t smart enough and that nobody would care about my book. So, I stopped writing, thinking I’d get back to it later when I had more experience.
Then, one day, I walked by a bookstore and saw a display of red books titled “Working Successfully with People in Crisis.” My heart sank. Someone else had written my book, the one I was too scared to write. The only difference between us was that they did it, and I didn’t.
There’s a name for that voice. It’s called the Negativity Bias. It comes when we’re about to do something we haven’t done before. It warns us away and tries to make us stop what we’re doing. It looks for what’s going wrong before we search for what’s going right. Like the rest of humanity, I’ll bet you are familiar with that stern, insistent, and unsettling voice.
The Negativity Bias was essential thousands of years ago when we had to prepare for danger hidden behind any rock or tree. As we left the cave with our tribe, this inner voice had us look for predators before food. If we didn’t prepare, we could end up being someone else’s lunch before we had our own!
Or, this insistent voice might tell us to keep going quickly and without stopping once we’re “outside of the cave.” It’s like something from one of those old war movies: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” in which case we might end up on the rocks of disaster with our impulsivity, much like what happened to me when I loaned someone $35,000 on an unsecured promissory note. (If you missed this story, please read the last article, Find and Use Your Voice of Wisdom, Part One. It was embarrassing to describe. Hopefully, it changed how you view this inner voice.)
Bottom line: I acted while listening to my Negativity Bias that said, “He told you he had other people just waiting to hop in on this deal if you don’t! Go for it!“ That was not my Voice of Wisdom speaking to me!
One final distinction between the Negativity Bias and the Voice of Wisdom is that we feel the former in our heads while the latter is experienced in our hearts.
How to Elicit and Use Your Voice of Wisdom
Now, we come to the point of summoning our Voice of Wisdom. It’s no small thing to do! You may remember that my last article asked you to consider being willing to see and use it. You can be willing to do something you think you can’t do. You can be willing to do something you don’t know how or are afraid to do.
The following might help as you look for your Voice of Wisdom. Try this experiment:
- First, say: “I hear my Voice of Wisdom.” What happens? Maybe nothing, but you probably hear a voice saying, “No, you don’t!”
- Now say: “ I am willing to hear my Voice of Wisdom.” What happened then? Was there a moment of silence? And then perhaps a soft, light-hearted chuckle in your mind? Did you relax?
Being willing is the most powerful position you can take in life. It’s the eternal “Yes” that best describes who you are and what you’re here to contribute to your own life and the lives of others. It towers above the Negativity Bias and keeps you going straightforwardly with ease.
Here’s how to see and use your Voice of Wisdom:
- Get a small note card and print the following where you can easily see and read it:
“I am willing to hear my Voice of Wisdom.”
- Next, on a clean paper, list three or four people with qualities or traits you admire. They can be from your childhood, work, family, or people you’ve read about, seen in motion pictures, or have authored books you love. The point is to list no more than four people with qualities or traits you admire.
- Now, starting with the first person, write the specific qualities you admire about them. For example, are they generous, courageous, flexible, resilient, intelligent, creative, brilliant, loving, inspiring, or humble? Simply take your time listing these qualities. Go to the next person and list the traits you admire about them. If any are the same as the first person, just put a checkmark next to the qualities and add any new ones. Do this with each person on your list.
- You should end up with a list of qualities and traits that you appreciate in other people. Congratulations! This part can sometimes be challenging; however, you’re willing to do it, aren’t you?
Congratulations! You have created a pathway to summoning your Voice of Wisdom. I have one question. Looking at your list, are you willing to consider that you’ve just created a description of yourself? To review: I didn’t tell you specifically who to list or what qualities to write down. These came from inside of you! That’s because you have a receptor site in your heart that can recognize the importance of these traits to you!
Whether or not you believe this, let’s continue with the process. It may be that after working with your Voice of Wisdom a few times, you see that you’re talking about yourself when you list these qualities.
- Now, you formulate your question to ask your Voice of Wisdom. Remember that this voice can only answer what you should do next in any given situation. The situation needs to be one where you must decide right then what to do next.
- We say “what to do next” because Your Voice of Wisdom doesn’t predict your future. It can’t predict your future because your future is shaped by the steps you take next!
- This process only works if you promise to do what it says to do.
- Remember, if you don’t do what your Voice of Wisdom suggests, it drifts away until you promise again to listen. I don’t know why this is so. I just know that this is what happens!
- This is how the process starts: you ask your Voice of Wisdom the following question out loud:
- “What would someone who is (read the qualities out loud) do next in this situation?” Listen for the answer, and write down what you hear.
- If there’s no answer, ask the same question again. Listen for the answer. When you get the answer, write down what you hear.
- If there’s still no answer, ask the same question again, and then take your pen in your opposite hand and write the answer.
- Writing in your opposite hand short-circuits any Negativity Bias that may still be “lurking” in the background.
- Finally, do precisely what your Voice of Wisdom says.
That’s it! The more you know your situation and what you need to decide, the easier it is for your Voice of Wisdom to answer.
Please use this process at least twice over the next two weeks. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what happened!
See you next time!
PS – Here is an opportunity you might like – If you are interested in transforming your relationship with money quickly and easily, please join us on February 6 for the semi-annual Wallace Wattles 5-session book study in which we read Chapters 4, 7, 11, and 14 of his influential book The Science of Getting Rich. It is free! I love to do this to give you an entrance into the art and science of becoming rich. You can see the schedule and claim your seat here!