How can one thing be horrifying to one person & thrilling to another?


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He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet.”
… Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French essayist & moralist


This month I would like to invite you to reflect on a few questions designed to engage you in some second order learning and to pause to consider some new possibilities.

“What is second order learning?”
Second order learning is about asking ourselves:

“What is it about me that I observe the situation this way?”

What is it about my way of being: my thoughts; conversations; moods and emotions; and physical being that has me respond to what happens around me the way I do?

What has one person be horrified, nauseous and frozen with fear at the idea of getting on an amusement park ride like the one pictured and another thrilled at the prospect, jumping up and down, and whooping with excitement at the idea?

Asking our self the question from a first order learning perspective simply reflects what we do or don’t like about the idea of getting on the ride…

“we love the thrill…”

“we are scared senseless by the idea…”

So to move to a broader understanding of yourself and the way you respond you can start to ask some second order learning questions. So, here’s a chance for you to pause and reflect on new possibilities through second order learning.

Think of an issue that is a current or was a recent challenge for you.

  • What emotions show up for you when you think about this situation?
  • How do those emotions influence your thinking about the situation?
  • Who else is involved in the situation?
  • What emotions do they seem to hold about it?
  • What might be a better emotional space to resolve the situation?
  • How could you create this?


These questions explore only one facet of our way of being. Our emotional state about a breakdown already exists before we begin thinking about it. This can often colour the way we observe a situation and bias the story we have about our situation, which may not be as useful as we think it is. Examining our bias and the unhelpful stories we generate allows us to be more aware and to make more effective choices in our life.

Because your Mind Health Matters…

Jacqui Chaplin | jacqui@jacquichaplin.com | +61 (0) 412 741 531


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