when there’s a problem, hit it with a question.

-magic school bus

a curious person:

  • is an observer
  • asks questions
  • is an active listener

curious is a great general term.

when used in the right context it diffuses a reaction – it triggers…wait for it…curiosity.

I love Steven Covey. I have had the opportunity to work in two Leader in Me schools as well as work in a school district that trained employees in the 7 habits of highly successful people.

what I love most about 7 habits is what lies beneath the habits. 

covey says that to be effective (to contribute, to add, to get sustainable outcomes or results) one must be in alignment.

what needs to be in alignment?

principles ← paradigms ← practices

our practices must be aligned with our paradigms, and our paradigms must be aligned with principles.

when we are not in alignment, we are split.

have you heard of the term split energy? have you ever made a decision or a comment that goes against what you value? that is split energy.

something that splits can create a tension. imagine cupping your fingers together like a c and a backwards c and pulling. stuck. uncomfortable. stressed.

our practices can be considered our habits. what we repeatedly do.

our paradigms are what we may say about those habits; what we are thinking, what we believe or think we believe.

principles are universal laws. the unchanging. what goes up…

here are a few universal laws to be curious about:

  • dynamic energy – always moving, changing
  • tangential forces – push/pull, ebb/flow 
  • polarity – oppositional forces
  • relativity – like attracts like, and so forth

*I’m a social worker – not a scientist. I’m curious about principles because I’m curious about teaching skills that effect lasting change and get results that can sustain/last and lead to positive growth and outcomes.

consider a paradigm or a belief in abundance. we can call it an abundant mindset or growth mindset which is a popular term. contrasting terms would include scarcity and/or a fixed mindset.


a situation or circumstance occurs that is interpreted to be problematic. I can react to the problem – which is great if the problem includes fire or fangs and I turn and run or climb a tree. I can also ‘practice’ self-awareness and 1. observe the situation, 2. (if possible) choose curious, and 3. hit it with a question. covey calls this: response ability. in the space between stimulus and response is an opportunity to choose. the question could be simply, ‘how do I want to respond?’

insert principle of polarity: if there is a problem there must be a solution. if there is a question there must be an answer.

if I believe in abundance, I believe in plenty. plenty of solutions. plenty of ideas.

if I believe in primary greatness, I know that orienting toward solutions and answers is a skillset that lives within me. personal power first.

Ex: polarity ← abundance/primary greatness ← response ability