Sometimes some ideas have been around you all the time, just waiting for that bird called question to cross that morning sky as a message to free your ideas from the prison called ego.
Just a simple and yet powerful sound as “why?” could path an unimaginable bridge between what you know and what you have the chance to be about to discover. If you wish to explore new kingdoms of knowledge and insights, which I bet you do, one must, first of all, make up the ego’s mind to let go of pride.
This way, any pathway to learning becomes more pleasant to walk on, once humbleness is chosen over selfish pride.
“One of the traits I respect most in people is humility. “The tree that has the most fruits is the tree that bends to the ground,” my father taught me as I was growing up.”
Robin Sharma (Who will cry when you die, 2008)
So, let us lay beside this fruitful tree, sheltered from the blazing sun under its big branches and find out for ourselves five whys as to why the asking is the better approach in 99.9% of cases…
Every time you ask, you’re showing how you care for the subject and for what the other person has to say
In how to make friends and influence people, a book that gives a handful of examples on how to do exactly what the title suggests, Dale Carnegie brings up the following quote he heard:
“ In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In other words, sometimes in just a few minutes, questions you ask and the answers you get can be hours worth of reading or years of experience to find out how something works.
Your thoughts and perceptions broaden their frontiers
Having a large frontier means knowing like the back of your hand a broad territory that hosts many concepts and wisdom you can easily call on and grab anywhere you are anytime you want.
Think of someone considered as writer, musician, speaker, basketball player and altogether being able to speak more than two languages. Now, take a minute to imagine how his map of thoughts can pave many ways among these subjects. Such a path builder is where creativity can many times come to exist.
Every subject you know can be seen as a dot on the paper, as you understand more content the number of dots multiplies. The dots by themselves don’t mean so much, but as you link them with a pen, you can get a picture that can result in a creative idea people would pay for because it may bring value to their life.
You practice listening and interpreting
What is listening? Is it giving your attention to a sound? Is it hearing every sound around you, maybe?
Listening can be that simple, but once you’re giving your attention to the words coming out of your friend’s will, you define a purpose. That purpose could be the listening with the intention to give him answers, to understand him, to solely show sympathy or to take the point of view of both in order to draw the desired outcome on a paper for the two of you.
Interpreting while listening is an intentional activity, it’s a muscle you exercise. Opening yourself to these stimuli makes you an artist mixing colors for the sake of a new objective, a new vision, a new discovery.
You can learn more in less time
I can’t even count how many times I used to search for complex answers in textbooks, answers that later on, I came to find out, were all the time on my teacher’s mind just waiting for someone to ask for it. I would spend hours reading just to realize, in class, that a 10 seconds question was enough to guide me to the answer.
The 80–20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs or efforts usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards.
Richard Koch (The 80/20 principle, 1998)
Working against the 80–20 principle, that’s a crystal clear example because it was 80% time investment on reading and 20% on asking. That’s when I decided to move on to 80% questioning and 20% reading as my learning curve took a better shape. This way I could direct myself towards the most vital answers since I have questioned and asked many times, I have explored the territory.
I was no longer looking for something already done, but for ways to understand and create understandings of my own, based not only on what I knew but especially on what others had to share.
Above all, you find answers
We don’t feel like showing to other people that we don’t know the answer for something right away, and it becomes even harder to keep this notion at bay when you’re an expert or considered someone of greater knowledge in a certain field. Not every time will answer pop out in your mind, but questions will always be possible.
Questions lead to innovation, which is bigger than simple answers. Getting acquainted with it is probably one of the best principles you choose to build up the skyscraper of your mind, with many windows giving you countless perceptions of your reality.
Nurturing the habit of questioning why the world presents itself as it does and how we can change it to adopt our thinking and the creative pattern is the berry on top of the cake known as life.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw
After reading this post, say that you begin asking 0.1% more unreasonable questions and my purpose has been achieved.
I hope you set sail to adapt this world of ours to what you believe it has the potential to become.