Please add your comments and questions below!!
A quick reminder: Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis (who then invited Clark) to explore the newly acquired (and soon to be acquired) territories in the western United States in the early 1800s. More frontier men than men of letters, both were literate and both contributed to the now heavily studied and much enjoyed journals they maintained while crossing through what is now the mid-west and western states.
The challenges along the Missouri River and through Indian country make an astonishing read. But there is also a gift in here for the poor speller. Clark spelled like many elementary school age children do today. He often spelled phoentically. These were either accepted spellings of the time or their best guesses at proper spelling.
Here are three examples.
1. route was rout
"I think it more than probable that Capt. Lewis or myself will return by sea, the other by the same rout we proceed."
(Yes, I know some people pronounce route like "root" but for the rest of us, Clark's spelling makes sense.)
2. Clark also used pore instead of poor.
He described the residents of St. Charles as "pore, polite & harmonious"
3. He used git instead of get and beet instead of beat.
May 6, 1804, some settlers in Wood River (near St. Louis) challenged the voyagers to a shooting match. Clark wrote about the challengers that they,
"all git beet and Lose their money."
In the 4th grade, I probably did that. I imagine if the teacher had just said, "No, Sarah, it's the 1900s now. We don't spelling that way anymore."
What we often call "wrong" often really means "we don't do thinks that way right now."
Our culture is filled with norms, but they are often just for a time. Borders change, language changes, acceptable behaviors change.
What's right today could be wrong tomorrow and vice versa.
Quotes taken from: Ambrose, Stephen. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. 1st edition. Simon & Schuster. 1997.
Can you imagine being able to diffuse a conflict simply by asking a better question?
What if you could propel your organization out of a conundrum by asking teams and leaders really good questions?
September 30th, I spoke at the Capital Coaches Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. We had 400 coaches -- from executive to organizational -- sharing their skills and getting their minds blown open, especially around the concept of questions.
I presented "Narrative Approaches to Conflict Resolution" which taught folks how to identify a storyline that wreaking havoc on a family, individual or group. We talked about how to make a better formed story and how to anchor that new story in the organization. (I will post a video shortly)
Asking Better Questions
Luckily, my presentation fit in nicely with the keynote speech by former NY Times correspondent Warren Berger who wrote a book called A More Beautiful Question. He also has found himself transfixed by how we come at our conflicts. We have a lot in common! While I'll post a video shortly on Narrative Practices, I wanted to share a few highlights from dear Warren's speech.
He pushed back on the long-touted "brainstorming" as a way to think ourselves out of conflict. I love splattering up ideas on a wall. He said, however, that often this approach does not do much for people or organizations. Because after they walk away from the wall, they forget the ideas.
He now advocates for "Question storming." Spend time thinking about what questions we need to be answering. This works for two reasons. Firstly, we don't spend time solving the wrong problem and secondly, he says, the brain continues to chew on questions much longer. So, if you ask yourself - -for example --
"What would I do if I knew I could not fail?"
Your brain will chew on the question for quite some time giving you all kinds of answers. It's a cool question. Try asking it when you're sitting at a red light.... Wait, on second thought..your answer might be "run the red light." Ok, try this question when you're not sure what to think about next.
Follow Einstein - Spend Time on Your Question
The first question may wrap you up in other's agendas or trying to look good. The second will keep you focused on what matters to you.
The bigger and better the question, the bigger and better your life.
Are big questions too overwhelming?
If big questions are too overwhelming, at least turn your existing goals into questions.
Berger suggests, if you are trying to drink more water. Don't tell yourself, "Drink more water."
Instead, ask yourself, "How can I drink more water?"
Your brain, like google search, will look for an answer...But unlike google, it will keep looking all day.
You might get some creative answers.
Why not give it a try?