This year I attended a conference about John O Donohue , an Irish philosopher/mystic/poet who died in his early 50s. At that conference a friend of his called Dr Dan Siegel talked about how quantum physics and mysticism were now converging and  discovering what they had in common.

In his talk he referred to “the plane of all possibilities” – a mathematical location where all the solutions/answers/possible outcomes are to be found. (I am not a quantum physicist so if there is a more accurate term, happy to learn more).

At this point, you are probably wondering, “where are you going with this Anne and what does it have to do with Excel?” Valid questions indeed. I am telling you about this because an observation that frequently comes up in my classes is well “I don’t know what I don’t know” and “I don’t even know where to look for an answer”.



When it comes to Excel, the reality is that there is a solution somewhere. It may not be obvious, it may require work but someone has solved it somewhere but if you do not even know what to look for, that isn’t really of much help so I am going to suggest something rather unorthodox.

“Inspiration is always a surprising visitor.”
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


I am going to suggest that you tap into the “plane of all possibilities” by trying the following.

  • If you have an Excel problem and you have no idea how to solve it, seek first of all to get calm and settled (even if it requires retreating to a  toilet cubicle for 5 or 10 minutes!)
  • Close your eyes and ask that the “plane of all possibilities” shows you a solution to the Excel problem you are having.
  • Within an hour you will get a prompt to look somewhere/ask someone – go with that no matter how strange or weird it seems. That may not have the direct answer for you but it will lead you to the answer…
  • I use this myself and the prompts can come in many ways e.g. search for X or ask Y or try Z…

I also know that for some of you this may be veering into what a good friend of mine Maggy Whitehouse calls “wanky bollocks” but honestly, surely it’s at least worth a try 🙂


6 Responses to “Learning Excel and the plane of all possibilities to know what to ask”

  1. Noel Lackey says:

    It was this kind of thinking that brought to your wonderful posts and blogs, I would never have found you had I not been asking for a solution to a problem and was directed to your postings.

    • admin says:

      @Noel, that is very kind of you..may I ask what solution you were looking for and I may be able to suggest something 🙂

  2. frank says:

    good observation on plane of possibilities

    trouble is close on 100% of excel users are self taught

    and learn Excel in a haphazard manner without any fundamentals or groundings

    for instance if your raw data is poorly recorded then an clean up is required

    but a failure to ensure that data is collected/ recorded in a good format never addressed !

    after the clean up one is required to get the remaining data arranged in a wrangleable format…….. excel friendly

    ……..tables etc

    then one may be able to get started on the real task

    but we often do not know the ideal route to arrive at our destination

    …with the Excel tool box….

    as they say in Ireland………..” if you want to get to Killarney I would not start from here ! ‘

    what be really useful

    would be a series of QUESTIONS to ask of the data

    before starting the solution

    then ask a series of QUESTIONS that lead us to the tool in the Excel toolbox to reach our destination

    Some people are better at identifying the questions to ask!

    ”You do not know what you do not know”

    Partly because we have not been mentored or have failed to self -mentor in an efficient manner…. so much is done in a hurry, We remain inefficient.

    Aesop………… Tortoise and Hare
    Or Busy Fool

    So Anne

    Can you provide a suite of QUESTIONS that a user should ask at each stage of the EXCEL journey

    Now that would be hugely welcome

    You could do this is a series of case studies….. to illuminate the thinking process , at each stage of the journey

    Alice on Wonderland………” If you do not know where you are going , any road will get you there”

    many thanks for your articles

    frank sloan


    • admin says:

      @Frank. that’s a very good thought..and guess, what I am going to do…tap into the plane of possibilities and see what comes up 🙂

  3. Dave says:

    Brilliant Anne – loved the last paragraph as I was thinking that before I got to that bit… .then you only went and wrote it! ha ha … gave me a chuckle on a Monday morning 🙂

    • admin says:

      Well, my mind does work in mysterious ways. I have a t-shirt that says “I’m warning you All(), I have no Filter()”. Glad it gave you a chuckle 🙂

Leave a Reply to Dave