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The Art of Asking Questions

Without questions, knowledge does not exist. All of the progress, discoveries, and technologies man has enjoyed is because the right questions were asked which lead to know-how.

Even the caveman who was having difficulty catching food asked how he could obtain meat more efficiently. He asked a question which preceded knowledge.

Why then, in many organizations, relationships, and even governments are questions considered an usurpation of power? Stifling questions, stifles solutions, which stifles progress, which leads to stifled nations and stifled people.

Questions are essential to progress, betterment, and a general increase of knowledge. Here are some steps on how to ask the right questions:

Simplify the problem

Reduce the problem to its most basic core principles. Do not get caught up in the minutia and distracted by information that is not causal. There is no such thing as over simplification for the answer lies at the base of the problem, not at the surface.

To simplify means that you have to conduct research to fully understand the problem in efforts to ask the correct question. Without simplification comes ambiguity and rabbit trails.

Question your motives first

When asking big questions, it is important to question your own motives. Is it to prove a point, settle a dispute, or belittle those around you? If so the question should not be asked, or at least re-framed. The only acceptable motive for asking a question is to do the most good. Any other reason is detrimental to the cause and the antithesis of gaining knowledge and moving forward.

Know what you are trying to achieve

Asking questions without the end game in mind is inefficient and frustrating to those you are questioning. Make your intentions salient and understand where you are trying to head by asking the question.

Remain humble

A humble question is ten times more powerful than a question that is wrought with “I told you so” and “why didn’t you think of that” tone. The effectiveness of the question is directly correlated to the amount of humility the questioner exudes.

Question logic, not people

When asking questions, it is essential to not make the question personal. The questions should attack the logic, not the person. Questioning people will lead to mistrust, frustration, and overall inefficiencies. Instead, the logic behind the assertion should be questioned irregardless of the person behind it.

Remain objective

Be able to see all sides of a particular problem and do not allow your personal biases to cloud your line of thinking. An objective mind will allow you to run through all scenarios and find the critical questions to ask.

Be a straight shooter

Do not skirt around big questions with smaller questions leading up to the big reveal. Simply ask the question that needs to be asked. A pointed question not only drills quickly to the root of a problem, it prevents wasted time and energy from being allocated to cursory questions that are not essential to solving the issue at hand.

Know what questions not to ask

Knowing which questions not to ask are just as important as knowing which questions to ask. Asking the wrong question will lead the discussion down the wrong path and squander time and resources. Therefore, carefully vet the questions to ensure they are ones that should not be asked.

Overall

Asking questions is essential to moving any entity, family, nation, or World to increased knowledge and obtainment of the greater good. Ask away with discernment.
Critical Questions:
1. What are your big questions? Why do you have such questions?
2. How will the questions you ask do the most good?
3. What barriers prevent you from asking big questions?
4. What is the overall goal of the questions you are asking?
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