8 Reasons You Should Question Everything
Tonight is the start of Passover, an 8 day holiday celebrating the Jewish Exodus from Egypt thousands of years ago.
Passover has always been my favorite of the Jewish holidays. Perhaps because it welcomes questions. In fact, it’s the mandate of the Passover Seder to provoke and encourage questions.
I am an enthusiastic and unapologetic questioner.
I’m the person in a class who always has just one more question. In a committee meeting, I’m the person who ask questions that challenge assumptions or that presents some crazy what if… scenario. I’m relentlessly curious. I have an insatiable appetite for learning, and I appreciate nuance and distinction.
All of these ends are served through questions. Questions are also a profound way to add value to others.
Although my clients come to me seeking answers, I always say that the value I add lies not in having the answers but in asking the questions.
Questions are the path to deeper learning, greater awareness, and a life of meaning and fulfillment.
So, in honor of Passover, a holiday that encourages questions, here are 8 reasons to question everything.
Look at life through the eyes of a child. A child asks questions with no ulterior motive. The purpose is to explore and learn.
A child exploring the world doesn’t judge her questions. By the time we get to middle school, we already receive conditioning that some questions are “dumb” questions.
Once we have satisfied our basic curiosity, we ask questions to more completely comprehend the subject of our inquiry. Comprehension is an open-ended system. Every level of questions takes us deeper into our understanding of a topic.
Clarifying questions help us discern the nuances of a topic. The elucidate the finer distinctions. When communicating with others, a clarification question can often help avoid major misunderstandings: instead of racing to assume what another person meant by their remarks, simply ask, what do you mean by …?
Challenge questions are a favorite of teenagers and rebels of all ages, and abhored by parents and other authority figures. They can be an effective way to challenge the status quo, whether that status quo is a process that’s been used for a long time or a belief you hold.
They are also the type of question favored by “meaning makers.” Some of us won’t do something merely because we are told to do it; we must know that it serves a purpose.
One of the best ways to express skepticism is through a question that pokes some doubt in an idea. There’s a difference between “I don’t think that will work,” and “How will that work?” The question is more powerful, both as a means of exposing potential pitfalls and helping someone get clear on an idea.
(6) Create Consciousness
We can use questions to create consciousness for others. In coaching, questions are an effective tool to help clients bring awareness to beliefs or thoughts that are under the surface.
(7) Nurture Connection
One of the best ways to create a connection with someone is through questions. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to showcase their expertise or speak about something they love. When you meet someone new, asking the right questions can be a great way to open a channel to trust.
(8) Unlock Creativity
A well-placed question can be a useful catalyst for a brainstorming session. I love to use the power of hypotheticals to unlock creative thinking. They are also an effective tool to helping people get around their roadblocks. When you feel stuck, there’s nothing as poweful as a good what if…? question to get you moving.
What are your favorite reasons for asking questions?