Socrates was a man whose influence directly impacts us today, 2400 years later. He was an Athenian of modest beginnings, yet is considered to be the single most important influence on modern Western philosophy. That’s what I call a lasting legacy from just one guy.
And Socrates was a Builder. He chose the pursuit of human reason during the Classical period in Athens. The foundation of his philosophy was his belief in reason. He believed that it was impossible for a person to engage in behavior that they knew to be wrong. In other words, Socrates believed that a person must believe (Worldview…) that what they are doing is right. He created what we now know as the ‘Socratic Method’. The Socratic Method consists of a series of curious questions to reveal a person’s belief system in order to find the truth of a matter. Socrates would begin with simple questions and then progress into deeper challenges, that ultimately would reveal contradictions, integrity gaps, and gaps in logic in a person’s belief system. Eventually, the student would have to admit ignorance about a chosen topic which, per Socrates, was the only way that the truth could be found.
He found an avid following among the Athenian youth. Plato was his most well-known protégé. Socrates’ approach, however, pulled back the curtain on the ignorance of prominent Athenian leaders, which did not end so well for Socrates. History is replete with innovators who ran into a similar fate.
One of my learnings from Socrates is that curious questions can soon become revolutionary questions. There is untapped energy and potential impact that comes from asking the right questions at the right time. For individuals, for organizations, for communities and for nations. Questions that lead to change.
Those who connect with BTL Builders directly experience the Socratic Method. Every Friday morning during our BTL Band practice we ask each other curious questions, at times hard questions. Revolutionary questions that lead to Awakening, Challenging and Transforming outcomes.
For me, this has been a journey. The Socratic approach is not my natural bent. It’s my experience that many of us default to a quick-fix, Shell-Answer Man approach to work and life. Self-included. However that approach rarely leads to transformation let alone revolutionary change.
My daily challenge as a Builder and my challenge for you, leader, is to go Socratic. Every day. You might be one curious question away from breakthrough. Good.