Asking great questions; It's better than finding simple answers
Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers - Voltaire
In this article:
- The problem of living in an information buddle
- Ask yourself this obvious question
- Be careful with your self-talk
- What you say affects your world
- It’s always listening to you
- So give yourself some bigger questions to chew on
- Not knowing the answer makes you smarter
- So where do I start with these bigger questions?
The problem of living in an information buddle
People usually try to understand things in terms of what they already know.
That’s an inherent part of our brain's pattern recognition ability. It’s also one of the main ways we try and make sense of the world around us. We filter new ideas based upon our current understandings. We try to make sense of new experiences, through our past memories.
Seems terribly complex I agree, but it’s actually an automatic process that occurs – at the speed of thought.
Ask yourself this obvious question
When have you ever begun something new for the very first time, and been very good at it?
Be careful with your self-talk
At a very practical self-care level, you need to be careful what you repeatedly say to yourself and what you repeatedly allow into your mental self-chatter. A MIT 2014 study revealed that the human eye interpreters images in just 13 milliseconds and that our vision is more about pattern recognition concepts rather than fixed ideas. One millisecond is a thousandth 1/1000 of a second.
The speed of a thought - is often quicker.
What you say affects your world
What you think and say has creative power — both in your external world and relationships, and in your internal world and relationship with yourself. No, I’m not talking vision boards, hair braiding and metaphysics here – I’m talking about our minds fixation with recognising patterns.
It’s always listening to you
The reality is your brain is always listening.
It’s constantly resorting the patterns it thinks it sees, before you even know it. Like a marauding teenager scouting for food in the fridge, if you don’t direct its choices and consistently give it something healthy to feed on, it usually ends up making unhealthy choices and blaming you later. If left unchecked, your erratic self-talk can emotionally sabotage and undo much of good work and preparation you’ve made for your business.
So give yourself some bigger questions to chew on
A really great question can keep you thinking for a lifetime. It’s not always about finding a quick answer. It’s about growing your appreciation of what the bigger question uncovers in the other parts of your life. This mental chewing-on-a-bone approach helps develop your insight and ability to see new patterns and new ways of thinking.
Here are three simple ones to start you chewing.
- What are you pretending not to know?
- If you weren’t afraid, what would you do?
- Why do you do what you know is bad for you?
Not knowing the answer makes you smarter
Not knowing the answer to a question immediately increases your knowledge because it connects you back to the real world.
Like the challenge of finding your purpose in life, not knowing what that is and beginning a search, triggers growth and tames the minds inane self-chatter. One of my personal bigger questions that keeps me awake at night is ‘how can I give away more money than I could possibly make?’ It’s not a trick question – it’s one that I am building an answer to that supports my purpose.
So where do I start with these bigger questions?
Recognise great questions help add meaning to our lives and greater clarity to our purpose.
Learn to become a better questioner and turn the fear of the unknown in an expectation of adventure and its opportunities.
Monitor your self-talk and if it’s becoming toxic, counter it by asking bigger questions.
Choose to approach every new situation with what the Japanese call shoshin (初心) - a beginners mind.
The last word
We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers – Carl Sagan Astronomer NASA.
What’s one of your great questions?
Remember they must be bigger than your quick fix answers.