The 4 Tenants: The Cycle of Discovery & Learning

Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always
be certain that a wider one is still possible.

— RICHARD JEFFERIES, nineteenth-century English author

Kids are fascinated with asking questions, but the question stage is supposed to be part of a process, not an end in itself. Children often get stuck in the question mode. They ask questions and happily accept the answers. Some grown-ups are like that, too. When that happens, learning stops. We’re supposed to think about those answers. Contemplation provides a pause in which we generate our next move: the idea.

The idea stage provides excitement for experimentation and exploration, but danger lurks here, too. The danger is accepting the idea as fact without asking further questions. An even greater danger is when the idea (usually someone else’s) is taught as fact without allowing the possibility of another point of view.

The next stage is the test. It takes courage to test your ideas because you must be willing to have them fail.

Reflection is integral to the process, but over-reflection can get you stuck. If we become comfortable with rethinking our ideas, the Circle of Learning grinds to a halt.

True learning is constantly adding to and even changing the way we view the world. Learning is proactive; we are in charge of creating our own destiny.


Discovery & Learning

Learning can be a lifetime process only when the circle of learning is in continuous motion


Education and training are the most important investments we can make in shaping our destiny. Fortune magazine has noted again and again that those who survive in the workforce are the individuals who have taken responsibility for their careers, and in order to be responsible for your career, you must take responsibility for your learning. No one is going to do that for you.

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands.

— SUN TZU, sixth-century Chinese military leader and author of The Art of War


The Cycle of Discovery

Learning is a never-ending cyclical process of discovery. We uncover possibilities within ourselves, transform them into reality, and discover new possibilities again. Following are the four levels
of the cycle, listed from lowest to highest.

Level 4: You don’t know you don’t know.
This is the lowest level in the Cycle of Discovery. You are unaware of anything but what you believe to be true. You can’t see possibilities. For you, possibility does not exist.

Level 3: You know you don’t know.
This level can be the stimulus to self-motivation or a mind-set forb defeat. It depends on how you decide to think. Are you embarrassed and defensive when you discover your lack of knowledge, or are you intrigued and excited?


I inherited a family with my second marriage, and the opportunity of watching a child grow in his first three years of life. David’s curiosity is astonishing. There is no judgment. He dives in, fearless of the consequences of his investigations.

People have accused me of being a twelve-year-old in the body of a grown-up. Thank you, one and all!

When I was practicing clinical hypnosis, my specialty was age regression, a process that places the subject in a deep hypnotic state, taking him or her back to that special time of nonjudgmental, fearless curiosity.

In demonstrations of age regression, people re-create childhood handwriting, draw childish pictures, and relive details of their lives with uncanny exactness. Some people speak languages they haven’t uttered in years and have long since forgotten. These demonstrations show that the ‘‘child’’ still exists within us, along with our ability to be childlike. The ‘‘child within’’ may have been injured, scarred, or suppressed en route to adulthood, but it’s still there.

It is natural to judge. Judgment is our way of making sense out of the information with which we are constantly bombarded. And that judgment comes out of the way we view reality, our paradigm of what we believe to be true.

Making the choice to turn judgment into curiosity is the leap that moves us to the next level in the Cycle of Discovery.

Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff
as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.


Level 2: You know you know.
The danger in this level is trying too hard instead of letting go and trusting. You can assume a veneer of arrogance and pretense, like an actor who has memorized his or her lines but is still not believable because there is effort in his or her performance.

I have met many people who become instant preachers after some intensive workshop of self-exploration. They expound with their newly acquired vocabulary and wallow in their newly discovered truths. They feel they have found the answer and they want to share it with everyone.

There is nothing wrong with their enthusiasm, but what they have not yet discovered is that they are like the actor who hasn’t fully stepped into his or her role.

Level 1: You don’t know you know.
Through practice, an actor becomes his or her character. The actor doesn’t know he or she knows the lines, because he or she has become the character. After a child learns to walk, the child never needs to think about the process. And when you are living your vision, you become your vision. How would you know if you have become?

Success, however, can often be the kiss of death because it breeds complacency. Comfort can lead to stagnation. Then, suddenly, what had appeared as success becomes boring. Passion gives way to emptiness, and life seems to be without purpose. To avoid that, you need to keep the Cycle of Discovery & Learning in motion.

As long as you’re green, you’re growing; as soon as you’re ripe,
you start to rot.

— RAY KROC, founder of McDonald’s

What is the total when you divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10? What answer did you get: 25 or 70? If your answer was 25, you answered a different question and divided 30 by 2, not by 1/2. The answer to
the question as it is precisely posed is 70. Thirty divided by 1/2 is 60. Add 10 and you have 70.

Quantum Leap Thinking is not really about the answers; it is about questions and how the questions are asked.