Discover more from The Comma Project by Devin Baker
Truth is like a magnet
When we ask questions that matter, truth pulls us like a magnet
Happy Tuesday to the 64 of us, up from 60 last time. I’m so glad you’re here.
I believe that a life of leadership is one of courage, curiosity, and constant pursuit of growth. It’s a life of becoming better, so that we can live better.
The north star of leadership is truth. The journey towards seeing, knowing, and embodying truth is how we live a life of leadership.
How do we make the journey? By asking questions that matter. When we do that, truth pulls us like a magnet. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
In this piece, I explore what it’s like to pursue truth, why it matters, and why it means that we don’t have to have all the answers, but be willing to simply show up and ask the questions.
I hope you enjoy - and if if you do, I’d be grateful if you shared this with a few people you think would also enjoy it.
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Truth is like a magnet
Life is like a vast, open landscape - fields, forest, mountains, rivers, oceans.
Our worldview is like a metaphorical house that we build within this landscape. The beliefs that we hold about ourselves, others, and the world weave together, constructing the walls. Our house is familiar, comfortable.
However, our house also keeps us separated from the rest of life’s open expanse, full of all the other possibilities of beliefs and experiences the world has to offer. When we cling to our existing, familiar worldview and belief system, our life becomes fixed, and our house can start to feel like a cage.
Without the willingness to take on risk and discomfort and explore the wider world outside of our front door, we have no way to test out new beliefs to see if they actually fit better and make us feel more alive than our current ones.
Without venturing out, we have no proof or evidence that our beliefs are actually true - they’re just what we believe. Without exposing our beliefs to the friction of other options, our house with which our beliefs are built becomes fragile, falling into disrepair.
The only way we can keep our house robust, safe, and comfortable by knowing if we believe our beliefs to be true is if we venture out beyond our front door into the world beyond and explore. We must seek to collect proof that our beliefs are true - beyond the fact that they’re the beliefs that we currently hold.
How do we do that?
By daring to ask questions that matter.
Asking questions opens the door to the magnetic pull of truth
What questions should we ask?
Questions about what other parts of the world, what other beliefs, might exist outside of our cage.
Questions about whether those new, foreign beliefs feel more true than our old, familiar ones.
Questions about the truth.
It starts really simple. We start by asking one question: “what is the truth?”
Questions give space for exploration by opening the front door of our house.
Asking a question is an opportunity to venture out of our cage, experience more of the world, try out other possibilities, and seek proof, evidence, and conviction in our beliefs.
When we venture out to explore, we will feel a magnetic, gravitational pull towards the truth. We see where it pulls us.
Sometimes, when we step out, we'll feel pulled right back inside. Once we allow some slack, some extra space for the magnet to work on us, we find that our old beliefs have been hiding the truth all along. Nothing has changed, but everything has changed. We have proof of and conviction in our beliefs. Our house becomes more solid, more robust, and more safe than before.
This is comfortable, and reassuring.
Sometimes, though, we'll feel pulled away, deeper into the wide, unknown expanse beyond our cage. Sometimes, we discover that we’re unable to find proof for our existing beliefs. Sometimes, we instead find stronger evidence of truth in some other, newer belief. Sometimes, we find that some other part of life’s landscape is better suited for our home.
This is new, unfamiliar, uncertain, and uncomfortable. This is scary.
This is why so many people don't even ask the questions. They grit their teeth, dig their heels in, and fight the force pulling the door open, yanking to keep it closed, not even giving one inch, to avoid the possibility of venturing out into the scary unknown.
When we feel the pull, we have a choice
We can venture out, explore, and live more of the world. We can lean in, and move forward.
Or we can turn back, fight the pull of the truth, the unknown, and slam the door shut again.
But we'll always know that there was more out there. We'll always feel the pull.
The reality is, even when we are stubbornly holding the door shut, if we're honest, and we call ourselves on our own BS, we can feel if the magnetic pull of truth is coming from outside of our cage. We know if there's some seed of truth that we should be pursuing outside of our familiar territory.
More reality: the world outside of our cage exists, whether we choose to explore it or not. The truth does exist, whether it resides in current beliefs or somewhere else, entirely new, unknown, and distant.
It's our choice whether we live with the discomfort, the dis-ease, of knowing the truth is out there and refusing to pursue it, or whether we venture out in search of more perspective, more truth, and more life.
Wouldn't we rather embrace uncertainty and embark on the journey of asking questions? On the other side of the journey is more security, greater peace, and more life.
The only way out is through.
We don’t have to know the answers
Another beautiful realization this brings is that we don’t have to know the answers.
If truth is like a magnet, then having the answers isn’t actually required.
What is required is to simply ask the questions. To be in pursuit of the answers, and keep seeking with courage and persistence.
If we do this, truth will always pull us closer.
This is an incredibly freeing realization. We can be free of the burden of perfectionism and the feelings of insufficiency arising from not knowing the answers - of being in process, not quite there yet.
We can feel free to simply be where we are along the journey, and to take the next step in search of more truth.
The point isn’t the destination (the answer, truth), but the process (the questioning and exploration).
We don’t need to know the truth. We simply need to be seeking more truth.
All we have to do is have the courage to ask, and to seek.
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