There are six Sage tools you can use to be your most creative and effective: the Sage Perspective and the Five Sage Powers. The Sage power that I have found to be best for countering the negative effects of the most powerful Judge saboteur is the EXPLORE power. In this week’s post, I explain how the Explore power can counter the three dimensions of the Judge and how you can use it to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, get along better with others, and generate more creative solutions to problems and challenges you’re facing.
To refresh your memory about the Judge (the nastiest of all the Saboteurs), you can refer back to this earlier post.
For the purposes of this post, I invite you to think of Judge as the sabotaging influence that narrows your options and makes you feel stressed & cornered. If you agree with the premise that having more options can be beneficial, then you’ll appreciate in contrast how the Explore power can expand your possibilities and allow you to breathe more easily.
WHAT IS THE EXPLORE POWER?*
The Explore power is one of five Sage powers you have access to when utilizing the positive Sage parts of the brain. Positive emotions are the currency of this power, and once you’ve activated Empathy your use of the Explore power will be even more, well, powerful!
The Explore power involves stepping back from the tight hold your current circumstances have on you to look at your situation with a wider lens. Examine your beliefs and your situation from a curious, non-judgmental outside perspective. Perhaps you can think of this as the bird’s eye view or the neutral observer role.
HOW TO ACTIVATE THE EXPLORE POWER*
You must first be in Sage mode to effectively utilize the Explore power. Why? If your saboteurs’ negative emotions are controlling your mind, you will not be able to see options or points of view other than the narrow view of the Saboteur.
In the Positive Intelligence model of mental fitness, author Shirzad Chamine offers a useful “power guide” for the Explore power called the “Fascinated Anthropologist”. Once in Sage mode, you step back from your situation and look through the lens of the Fascinated Anthropologist to ask open questions, look for new and unexpected information, all in service to seeing what you previously could not see.
USE “EXPLORE” TO COUNTER JUDGING SELF
How often has your Judge saboteur said to you: “You can’t do that! You don’t know enough!” The next time your Judge says something similar to you in your own mind, first do some PQ reps to shift your brain to Sage mode, then practice self-empathy, then employ the lens of the Fascinated Anthropologist.
While I cannot predict exactly what your own Sage will say in response, here is a real-life example of what I myself have heard from Sage when utilizing the Fascinated Anthropologist as my power guide: “You may not have done this before, but you are a quick learner and you’ve been successful in the past.” “They want you to succeed.” “Take it one step at a time and follow your curiosity.”
USE “EXPLORE” TO COUNTER JUDGING OTHERS
I have learned that judgment of others’ opinions and situations serves me well when it is truly Sage discernment, not negative judgment. What is the difference? Negative judgment is rooted in negative emotions and the narrow-minded lens of the saboteurs. Sage discernment is grounded in empathy and curiosity.
How do you typically respond when you hear someone state a political point of view that is quite different from your own? If anger, frustration, sadness, or worry fuel your saboteur mind to state how obviously wrong they are and clearly how right you are, then your Judge is controlling your mind. If, instead, when you hear their opinion, you do some PQ reps and shift to Sage, you will first notice that you don’t feel the negative emotions as strongly. Instead, you will be aware of the difference in opinion the two of you hold. This is Sage discernment. What comes next is using the Explore power to be curious to learn more.
Put on the hat of the Fascinated Anthropologist and explore with open questions and curiosity:
What beliefs are behind their point of view?
What life experiences helped to shape their political views?
How strongly or consistently do they adhere to this viewpoint?
Why is it important to them that others also share their view?
What results will rarely be a conversion of you deciding to change your opinion. Instead, you may feel less negative and stressed and judgmental about them. You may have an understanding and appreciation of who they are and what they believe. And you may come to better understand yourself and what has helped to shape your own beliefs and opinions.
This example is about political points of view, but you can use the Explore power and the Fascinated Anthropologist as power guides to examine any situation in which you find yourself judging others.
USE “EXPLORE” TO COUNTER JUDGING CIRCUMSTANCES
Any circumstance can be judged through the saboteur lens: a weather event, change of plans, gain or loss of opportunity, change to a tax law, global pandemic, a long commute, anything. Any single circumstance or event is neutral until your mind assigns a qualitative judgment of the degree to which it is good or bad.
When you notice you are experiencing negative emotions due to a saboteur’s influence or your Judge’s interpretation, pause. Do some PQ reps and shift to Sage. Use that same Fascinated Anthropologist lens to examine your own beliefs about the circumstances, then invite in the Sage Perspective.
Why is a rain storm a bad thing? How might the circumstances of the rain storm be converted into a gift and opportunity?
How gifts and opportunities have unexpectedly come as a result of the conditions of the global pandemic?
What thoughts in your mind are causing you to feel stressed about today’s long commute? What’s truly important in this moment? What can you let go of?
To review: any time you experience a negative emotion related to your mind’s interpretation of an event or circumstances, you can shift to Sage and utilize the Explore power to expand your view point and shift your experience.
When you utilize the Sage Explore power to counter one or more of the Judge saboteur’s three modes of operation, you shift from a narrow or fixed way of viewing things to a more expansive state of ease and flow. While there are numerous benefits you may experience, here are some that I have experienced most often:
- Reduced stress
- Improved self-confidence
- Getting along better with others
- Generating more creative solutions to problems and challenges
In the next few weeks, I’ll share about the remaining three Sage Powers to round out your understanding of what’s possible with using the Positive Intelligence mental fitness model and activating the full array of benefits that come from shifting to and staying in Sage throughout each day of your life.
To read about the overall Positive Intelligence model and foundational mental fitness training program, I’ve included an overview of the model on my website. To read past blog posts about the Sage Perspective and the 10 Saboteurs, start here.
*Source: Shirzad Chamine and his Positive Intelligence mental fitness model. Erin is in the process of competing her certification with Shirzad and his team.