Socratic Method: 4 Steps to Master Your Mind For Incredible Success
If you’re wondering if these steps involve taking philosophy classes — no, they’re actually really simple and straightforward. You might even be familiar with these steps under a different name.
In the realm of ancient philosophy, Socrates is basically a Rockstar — a Rockstar who, ironically enough, never wrote a single one of his own works as they were all dictated by a student of his and another philosophical Rockstar named Plato.
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Now, it’s true that pretty much everything we know about Socrates’s work and style of philosophy was recorded by others which actually led many scholars to wonder if he was indeed real or simply used as a character to further Plato’s own works.
But regardless of this, it is undeniable the teachings of Socrates still carry a lot of weight today more than 2300 years ago.
When we experience big shifts in our lives, when we lose a loved one, when a relationship ends — your career takes a sudden turn and you feeling stuck and unsure what to do next. So, using the Socratic Method is a very powerful way to regain control.
And if you’re wondering whether or not it involves taking up philosophy class to do it — no, it’s actually really simple and straightforward. You might even be familiar with these steps under a different name.
Now, working through your problems using the Socratic method, which is a four-step process, always begins with focusing on your current reality.
#Step 1: Focusing
What is happening?
How are you feeling?
What are the self-limiting beliefs at play here?
Not many of us are actually taught this while growing up, but when issues arise, step one should always be to check in with ourselves and start to get a grip on the true situation. True situation, as in, not just our fears and limiting beliefs, but also what is triggering them to come to the surface.
For example, let’s say that you’ve just recently started dating someone new and they want to take things to a more serious relationship level, and even though you like them a lot, you’re hesitating. You’ve been hurt in the past and just don’t want to expose yourself to that kind of pain again. You’re feeling fear over being hurt with limiting self-beliefs relating to your ability to stay in a committed healthy relationship without being left behind.
Once you identify these details, you’re ready to move on to step two of the Socratic method.
#Step 2: Understanding
In this kind of example, you’d need to unpack and understand the root or origin of these fears are self-limiting beliefs.
You would need to spend time reflecting on your past, to go back to a time when these fears and beliefs were downloaded into your psyche. Perhaps you had an abusive partner who told you that no one would ever love you or want you the way they did, and this has left you feeling unworthy of love.
Maybe that relationship was just reinforcing ideas you picked up in childhood when your parents looked upon you as disinterested or even contemptuous. Perhaps the pain your last relationship caused when it ended left you so scarred, the fear of trying again is holding you back from taking a chance on this new love.
Once you can identify the specific scenarios at play, it’s important in your quest for understanding that you also try to identify any patterns that might be repeating here.
Are there any vicious cycles playing out? Can you recognize other instances in your past where these same fears and limiting beliefs held you back?
Now, just a reminder here: It’s really important not to allow your ego to get involved in this investigation. Suspending judgment of yourself is necessary to assess your reality with as much objectivity as possible. It’ll be very helpful for you to dig through this introspective work in a journal or by writing it down in some way because writing is one of the best tools we can use to digest our thoughts and feelings.
Now, once you ventured through steps one and two, which are simple but not always easy, you can move on to step three.
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#Step 3: Curiosity
This phase is all about zooming out as much as you possibly can. I’m talking wide-angle view here to try to observe the situation in a more detached manner.
Things aren’t happening to you or because of you here, you’re just watching things happen, observing actions, identifying patterns, and using your incredibly intelligent brain to consider things from other perspectives
Are there any angles you hadn’t thought of before?
Is there any missing context in this situation?
In true Socratic form, are there any things you know you don’t know?
How can you fill in those knowledge gaps to paint a more fully realized picture?
Are you denying yourself important human experiences because you allow your fears to insist on avoiding or controlling your situations?
This stage is very exploratory, so, let curiosity be your guide and suspend all judgment of yourself here. Simply observe and gather data that you can use to help solidify your understanding, and once you feel like you’ve explored enough in this stage, you can move on to the fourth and final step.
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#Step 4: Summaries
It’s time to get to work.
Putting together the pieces you gathered from your exploratory understanding and curiosity stages to create a balanced and well-rounded POV of your reality. Identify ways you can put your newfound perspective into practice and do that, but don’t get complacent, okay?
Socrates believed that no matter how intelligent one was, no matter how skilled in their field, there’s always something we don’t know, something more to learn. So, never stop looking for ways to learn more, to understand more, to test your knowledge, and learn from everything you do.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and stuck when life throws us inevitable twists and turns, but falling back on the Socratic method will always help you to navigate your best route forward.
CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneuria
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