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Are you finding it hard to stay in Learner mindset?

September 01, 20204 min read

Between COVID-19, racial injustice, the economy, the U.S. Presidential election, the environment, uncertainty around school openings, and all the other Judger-triggering things going on in the world today, many of us are finding it challenging to stay in Learner mindset.

If you can relate, you’re probably asking yourself questions like: How can I stop being so reactive? How do I manage my mindset? How can I manage my mood? How do I stop being so triggered? How can I be safe? How can I become calmer?

Our first advice for anyone experiencing this challenge is to take a deep breath (a few of them) and know you are not alone. Then offer yourself (and others) some compassion. The second piece of advice is to be careful not to go Judger on your Judger! Remember, Judger mindset is a natural part of being human, and it’s not the presence of Judger that causes problems; it’s what we do with Judger that makes the difference.

At the Inquiry Institute we have been asking ourselves how to live our mission of creating a Learner World and support the members of our Learner Community in being agents of positive change and positive influence for yourselves and for others in these unusually Judger triggering times.

One answer near the beginning of the pandemic was to offer a series of Learner Community calls about using the Q-Work™ Approach with Self-Care, Self-Compassion and Reimagining Your Future. Then in July/August we had a series of four conversations about race and social justice. We’re really excited about applying our work to these issues we all are facing. We also look forward to sharing our soon-to-be-released guide called “Using the Choice Map™ to Have Conversations About Race and Social Justice.”  

During one of those Learner Community calls, a participant asked a question that we think would be really helpful to address here: How can Judger mindset be useful? You may not have thought about the usefulness of Judger mindset and it’s really a great question.

Our answer was to remind everyone that Judger mindset often gets triggered when we experience something as out of alignment with our core values and about what matters most to us. For example, many people’s Judger mindsets have been triggered by hearing a dying George Floyd call out for his mama, or watching people yell at store clerks for enforcing mask-wearing policies, or for being told they will be fined if they leave their homes without a mask. 

What matters most to you could be having yourself and family stay safe and healthy and it could also be having a social just world. As you travel the paths on the Choice Map, remember what the Switching Path really is. It is the path of compassion and understanding (of self and others), of empathy, of responding rather than reacting, of focusing on what really matters.

Some switching questions may be:  

  • What empathic curiosity can I bring to myself when my Judger is triggered?

  • What is my Judger reaction pointing to that I really care about? 

  • How can I remember to take a breath, a pause, a step back? 

  • How can I get myself centered? How can I respond, not react?

Whatever triggers your Judger mindset, we encourage you to ask yourself Switching questions such as these. Spend some time in Learner reflecting kindly on your Judger triggers to see if you can discover what is underneath. Once you identify the core value or underlying concern your Judger reaction is pointing to, you can bring your compassion and explore some Learner questions such as these to address this concern.

  • How can I take care of myself (and my family) while all this is happening in the world? 

  • How can I bring compassion to myself and others while all of this is going on?

  • How can I stay safe during Covid and still live my life? 

  • What Learner actions can I take to support my values in relation to this?

  • How can I neutralize my reactivity and magnify my curiosity? 

When we look at our Judger thoughts and reactions from Learner mindset, we develop a more accepting relationship with our Judger triggers, create new questions to think with and create the possibility that they can lead to something worthwhile.

May we move boldly, gracefully and compassionately towards ourselves and others in these challenging times. 

In the spirit of inquiry! 

Andrea and the Inquiry Institute Team 

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Marilee Adams

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2023 Inquiry Institute

2023 Inquiry Institute