The Amazing Power of Questions.
“A good question is better that a brilliant answer…” Richard Saul Wurman – Creator of TED
Why do adults stop asking questions? Children ask amazing questions all the time. Their innate sense of curiosity is astounding. Yet somehow, as we move towards adulthood, that natural sense of childhood curiosity seems to disappear. Why is it that we encourage students to ask questions but as adults we seem to stop doing this ourselves? Isn’t that the most powerful way to learn? Where would we be today if Newton and Einstein had never stopped to ask questions?
The questions that we are speaking of here are those life questions that we need to ask ourselves, not just when we are stuck and lack motivation and direction in moving forward in taking actions towards our goals, but regularly – even daily.
According to Robert Thurman, Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, “…….Questions can take you into critical examination of what you are doing in this life.”
These life-affirming questions can help us in the following ways:
- Help us to be creative and inspire and motivate ourselves
- Help us in decision making
- Help us think outside the box
- Give us purpose, focus and meaning
- Help us with our transformation, growth and learning
- Provide moments of self-awareness and reflection
- Provide us with wake-up, shake-up moments
- Change, challenge and provoke our thinking
- Explore values get us thinking on a deeper level about what is important
- Begin to open up the realms of possibilities
Recently while attending a conference, I went around asking people a simple power question. Not because I was trying to be deep and meaningful, nothing like that, it was just a way for me to start interacting and connecting with people.
As I progressed with this activity I refined the question I was asking as follows:
What is the most important powerful question that you can ever ask yourself?
The first reactions were that people really stopped to pause and think about their response.
I did not realize that this question was so deep. It stumped a lot of people. The responses I did receive were really interesting. I listed some of them below:
- “Who do I want to be?”
- “Is what I’m doing making a difference?”
- “Who are you?”
- “What is my purpose in life?”
- “Where do I go from here?”
- “Does it make me happy?”
- “Why do I try to succeed”
- “Have I done the best I can for myself and others?”
When I asked myself this question I realized that I could not come up with just one question, so I cheated a little. Here are the two most amazing powerful questions that I ask myself on a regular basis.
My first power question, the question I ask myself a lot is, WHY NOT?
As simple as it may seem, this is a powerful question for me. I usually ask it after having an inner critical thought or dialogue with myself that says “I can’t be….. Have….. Want….. Experience, something that I want, need, desire, or aspire to be”. It is a question that I ask indignantly to myself.
It is a simple question that challenges the unlimited thinking and underlying negative beliefs lurking in my mind that I am often totally unaware of.
The answer usually follows:
Yes, you can be…….
Yes, you can do…….
Yes! You can if………
Yes! You can learn…………..
Yes! You can when…………. etc
It is a simple question that I often use to creatively inspire and motivate me to take action towards a dream or desire that I want. It is a question that has helped to provide me with a sense of empowerment over the years.
WHY NOT? A simple but effective and powerful question.
What do you need to do right now for your own sense of renewal, replenishment, well being and peace of mind?
This powerful question usually surfaces in times of stress and distress. It is a question that allows me to stop, pause and focus on me and what I need in the moment.
It is a question that allows me to find the compassionate kinder voice that dwells within that says the following:
Yes, you need….
It’s okay, take some time out, go and play…….
Your rest and relaxation is important – NOW DO IT……..
The voice of compassion is the voice hidden deep inside. It is the voice that infrequently comes to the surface because it is often overshadowed by other more powerful and stronger voices such as the voice of negativity, anger and fear.
Questions that highlight compassion are questions that allow for reflection, self awareness and highlight our need for utmost self-care.
Questions are thus conversations that we can have with our inner mind. They allow us to become healers to ourselves. Asking the right question can become a delicious experience with the mind that allows us to churn, explore, determine and develop new and different possibilities.
“Do you ask enough (questions) or do you settle for what you think you know?”
So I ask again – What is the most empowering life question that you can ever ask yourself?
Leave an answer below.