Learn how to make questions

Knowing the answers will help you in school. Knowing how to question will help you in life.

Anonymous

Success is not always in the answers, but in the ability of asking intelligent questions. When children we are masters in making any kind of question, but in adulthood, we usually do not practice this gift anymore.

At the stage of adolescence we believe that we are smarter than children and adults. We have answers to every question. We think we own the truth and the solution to a lot of problems, but actually we are not wise enough and we can become ignorant adults, because we conclude that we know very little, and worse than that, most of us lose the gift to formulate intelligent questions.

Until the mid-15th century Europeans have come to rely on truths agreed by prevailing paradigms in the institutions that governed the thinking of the time, so that the common individual, when thought about more complex scientific issues, used to believe in the conventional answers. Thus, they passed centuries believing fallacies, such as: the Sun revolves around the Earth, beyond the horizon there’s a chasm permeated by sea monsters and other absurdities.

Among the coming and going of absurdities it has emerged big names that have changed the whole paradigm simply by questions and, more precisely, for asking the right questions.

Possibly Copernicus didn’t ask one question before creating his thesis on the motion of the planet Earth, but he asked many questions and searched for answers.  The scientist observed changes in nature that were incompatible with the idea and proposed a myriad of questions that other people had not been able to make.

Soon, it would be naive to believe that Copernicus formulated only a question so simply: “Does the Sun revolves around the Earth?”. On the contrary, to get that answer, the scientist made various questions accompanied by empirical observations and tests that led to completion of his thesis and therefore the paradigm shift that culminated in the advance of other forms of thought and the creation of other possibilities, such as: Columbus expedition, later on, the creation of satellites, the arrival on the Moon and so on.

Considering the ideas proposed here it is obvious that in order to change our lives we need not only to search for answers, but ask the right questions.

In general, we ask questions like:

  • Why don’t I get that promotion?
  • Why am I overweight?
  • Why is my sales result always below average?

 And so on…

We forget that there are more than just the question word “why?” and ignore the others that are just as important as the mentioned. We forget to use the question words:

  • How?
  • When?
  • Where?

By doing that, we accept our life as circumstances beyond our control, so we usually consider ourselves as victims of the everyday vicissitudes and not as agents of our own destiny.

Successful people do not use these questions, but they formulate their questions posing themselves as agents of their own destiny, so the question:

  • Why are my results low?

…becomes

  • How can I improve my results?
  • How can I measure the results?
  • How am I supposed to act to achieve my goals?
  • Who can support me on my goals?
  • When do I want to get the desired results?

You can see clearly that, when formulating questions we can be victims or agents of our own destiny.

So, learn how to make clear and objective questions change your life.

Exercise

Write sentences that define aspects of your life that you want to change and make relevant questions that lead to possible answers based on results.

Luciano Marques.

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