Welcome to Insights and Implications!
In previous newsletters, we covered the topic of Understanding vs. Doing. Because this continues to create questions, we wanted to revisit it. Read on for more insights.
All of us at Insight Principles
Understanding vs. Doing
We often hear the following dialogue in our individual and group programs:
Insight Principles: Your mind has a built-in design for success. Your mind works only one way, crafting the reality you experience from the inside-out.
Participant: Ok. But how do I do that?
Insight Principles: There is nothing to do. Your mind already works this way.
Participant: Yeah, but what am I supposed to do?
Looking for something to do is natural. Business people are “do-ers”. And most leadership and business books are filled with things to do, techniques to use, new habits to apply.
People think they need something to do in order to understand – that doing creates understanding. Insight Principles points in a different direction. We want you to understand how your mind works because when you get it, when the lightbulb turns on, you will naturally know what to do. When you understand, you do differently.
The understanding we are referring to is an insightful understanding, not intellectual. You can be familiar with ideas, information, and concepts and factually know what they mean without understanding them insightfully.
My husband and I built our own house. I was a novice carpenter and would mistakenly strip the heads of screws because I would spin the drill bit in the wrong direction in my attempt to unscrew them. I did not understand there was a simple rule – righty tighty, lefty loosey. Once I understood the rule, I knew what to do. Could I have learned the same lesson through trial and error – in other words by doing something the wrong way until I got it right? Sure. Eventually though I would have to understand something new. Understanding happens and then I know what to do.
Even before learning about your mind, you likely had many moments of recognizing that you are a thinker. You knew that at times you were driving yourself crazy with your own thinking and you tried to distract yourself or put something out of your mind in order to feel better. But those moments of recognizing the role of thought in life were fleeting if they even registered all.
You’ve been stuck on a problem and have known to walk away. At a later time, maybe while mowing the lawn or washing the dishes, a solution appeared “out of nowhere.” You can tell stories about the brilliance of your mind but without understanding, you may not develop confidence in this capacity.
When you understand at the level of an insight—that your mind works only one way and is designed to function effectively, your system naturally heads back towards balance. All the brilliant, natural functions, and associated capacities that account for you being at your best, come back online. You don’t do this.
The invisible power of understanding how your mind works frees you from having to change your thinking purposefully or by effort. If, in a moment of reactivity, you remember that you are a thinker who is living an inside-out experience, you will settle and your thoughts will clear. You will remember that you are feeling your thinking in the moment. There is no one to blame, it’s just how the mind works.
Of course there are things to do. You might shut up, you might decide to ignore another’s comment or action, you might decide to give no attention to the thoughts crossing your mind, you might physically move your body, you might find just the right thing to say. The list of “doings” is endless. When “doing” is preceded by understanding, the “doing” tends to work out.
Bottom line, the cards are stacked in your favor. As soon as you see this and your head clears, you will have a presence of mind, perspective, and the insights that you need to move forward—you will know what to do. Promise.