During a conversation with a friend the other day she asked me a question that at the time felt like the wrong question. It was a question where the answer seemed to far out of reach. You know the ones that make your head hurt because it requires more than a 10 second response.
We sailed through the conversation but later in the day I came back to her question. As I paused to consider what she had asked I had the sudden realization that the answer I was looking for was beyond the answer to her question. I chewed on, meditated upon and worked through the process of looking beyond the question.
It was a slow process of consideration and willingness to look at things from many different angles. When the answer finally came to me I realized that if I only ask the questions I know the answers to, I don’t learn or grow.
We live in a world where answers are readily available. We no longer have to wait because the information highway is buzzing with simple solutions that demand very little critical thinking on our part. But when we only rely on the information to come from other sources, we lose that part of ourselves that birth creativity. We are no longer solution focused but information dependent. We lose an important part of who we are.
Don’t misunderstand me about the useful tool of the internet or other resources. I use them everyday. But they are no substitute to the wonderful ability of using our minds for deeper revelation and understanding of those things that shape us.
Those kinds of questions are like a key that unlocks the endless potential within us. They have the ability to expand our world in ways we never dreamed of before. The beauty of the right question is that we don’t have to wait for someone else to ask it. We can ask those very questions ourselves.
If you are like me at some point you have heard the old adage of “don’t live in the “What Ifs”. What ifs are a path that lead to dissatisfaction and discontentment.”
If that were true we would find ourselves sitting in a darkness that excluded the wonderful discoveries of Thomas Edison. Our world would not have expanded beyond the boundaries of what we knew without the curiosity and exploration of Christopher Columbus. We would remain seated in ignorance of the meaning of freedom without the courageous example of Rosa Parks. The list is endless of those who asked the questions of “what if”.
We can deepen the meaning to the answers we search for by inserting simple words to our questions. Instead of asking questions that lead to singular answers try asking questions that expand into exploration. Instead of always asking “How is…, what is…, when is… or where is…” we expand our exploration by changing them to questions like: “How might…, What if…, When are… or Where might… ?” Not every question always needs that expansion but don’t be afraid to open them up for exploration.
When we ask these kinds of questions we embark on a path that will lead to a variety of potential answers. We discover options that can impact other areas of our lives and leave us with the self-satisfaction of knowing that we found the answer within our own selves.