Good questions bloom from the seed of sincerity. Profound curiosity is an important characteristic of all great thinkers. In order to learn and expand our universe, we must be skeptics. Socratic dialogues champion the power of asking questions. Children discover the world through questions. Innovators progress our society by challenging convention and asking if something could work. Yet, many people are still intimidated by the prospect of appearing misinformed or silly when asking questions. We underestimate the potential a question can unlock. Large or small, questions enlighten the truth within us and provide valuable insight into the human condition. Here are some helpful tips for cultivating your questioning skills to gain deeper awareness.
Don’t Be Afraid
Fear stifles the natural curiosity embedded within us. We fear making a fool of ourselves in front of our peers. We fear being incapable of understanding a concept. And sometimes, we fear the answer our question will yield. But it is this very fear that makes questions so worthy of asking. Summon the courage to question your reality and confront the growth that results from it. Knowledge thirsts for more knowledge and fear cannot parch our desire to attain greater wisdom.
Facilitate an Open Discussion
The best questions dig below the surface of a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. They welcome all perspectives to contribute and create an intellectual melting pot of ideas and opinions. Not only does an open conversation allow you to consider the perspectives of others, but it also enables you to participate. You can observe how you translate your cognitive faculties into communicable ideas, thus enriching your understanding of the initial question as you think through it.
Ask, Listen, Repeat
We ask questions to get an answer, but why stop there? Pose questions that refuse to be satisfied by a single answer. Deplete the subject matter of your question until you’ve completely absorbed its understanding. And always listen to the answers your questions provoke with attentive ears and an open mind.
Answer Questions with Questions
Some of life’s biggest questions have no answer. Seldom can anyone claim to have a more accurate understanding of these grand mysteries and conundrums. Be content answering your most perplexing inquiries with more questions. Questioning your thinking is a wonderful exercise that strengthens critical and analytic abilities while helping you ask better questions in the process.
Questions wield the power to inform and inspire. Never pretend to know what you do not and always question what you can. Teach, learn, and grow. You have the questions in you, locate them, and allow them to blossom.
Chris Petersen has more than 30 years of experience in the technology and the financial services industry. She is an author, Fintech strategist, speaker and an advocate for women’s leadership. For a dose of inspiration, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or connect with her on LinkedIn.