Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why Are Questions So Powerful?

I've been blessed with a curious mind.

I ask myself a lot of questions. Things like, "Why is life so wonderfully mysterious and why am I growing less and less tolerant of simple, pat answers?" Over the years, inquisitiveness has led me to new perspectives, meaningful relationships, and creative inspiration. So much so, that I'm becoming convinced that asking more and better questions may be the most important skill we need to develop.

Recently, I ran across an idea. The premise was this; instead of making a New Year's resolution, why not come up with a meaningful New Year's question? This led me to some interesting resources, including the book, "A More Beautiful Question", by Warren Berger. Warren eloquently explores the power of questions, and why questions trump answers. He points out how four-year-olds ask an average of 390 questions a day, and how we systematically (and quickly) lose that skill as we age. The book is full of poignant examples of how many of today's innovations were born out of simple questions. I would certainly recommend this provocative, inspiring, yet practical book on the power of inquiry.

As Simple as a Game


Many years ago, I stumbled across the Un-game. The author, unable to speak due to medical reasons, wondered, "Why do we spend so much time talking… but never communicate?" She developed a "game" which, in essence, consisted of a variety of questions to ask people, allowing them to then respond without being interrupted. We found this simple experience to be revolutionary in connecting with those we care about.  The Un-game questions added a spark to many date nights, family outings, and social gatherings. How might we refresh this discovery that is so easily buried in the dust of passing time?

It's also interesting that the best selling book of all time, The Bible, is full of questions, apparently over 3,000 of them. In fact, many significant questions are asked by God himself to awaken a neglectful humanity. Why are so many so easily pacified, using this resource as a simple answer book, when it is so pregnant with challenge and discovery?

How Can We Ask Better Questions?


How might we, once again, battle the atrophy and learn to ask better questions, improving our creative contribution?  Since it's Question Week, (March 14, corresponding to Einstein's birthday), why not head over to the QuestionWeek.com website for some helpful resources?