Seeing beyond the mould

Let me share a fascinating story with you. Back in 1928, Alexander Fleming, a Scottish microbiologist, returned from a two-week break to find his bacterial experiment had been invaded by mould. Now, most people would probably be annoyed, throw the dish out and start again. But not Fleming.

Instead, he asked himself a simple yet profound question: Why did the bacteria die around the mold? 

This small but critical moment of thinking led him to discover penicillin, one of the most vital antibiotics in history. It all started with asking the right question.

Bonjour, in this video, I want to discuss the importance of asking the right questions during thinking time. 

You might remember, a few weeks ago, I shared that I’ve been diving into Keith Cunningham’s book, “The Road Less Stupid.” In it, he challenges us with a gem of wisdom: “Finding the right solution is rarely the problem. Finding the right question is the key.”

Now, in my world, working with leaders globally, finding time to think is like finding a needle in a haystack. But here’s the thing—even when they do find a moment, the rush is so intense that they want to leap straight into finding solutions.

I’ve tried this out for myself over the past few months. When faced with a significant problem, I find a quiet spot (definitely not my desk), maybe my balcony or a special bench, and I block off 45 minutes to an hour. The goal? Not to find the answer but to find the right question.

I’ve got this little notebook where I write down a few things and my aim here is to create the question, and then refine the question. 

Questions like: Is this really the problem, or just a symptom? What are the possible reasons for these symptoms? What isn’t happening that, if it did, would cause the symptoms to disappear? 

It’s fascinating how once you nail the right question, the solutions become way simpler. 

So, my question for you is this: Do you carve out time regularly to just think? When you do, are you jumping straight into finding solutions, or are you challenging yourself with the right questions? 

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip.  

Embrace your thinking time. I’m off for mine now, brewing up some thoughts.  

Have an awesome day! 

A bientôt,

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