I have often used the saying, “Questions drive thinking and answers end thinking!” I believe the statement, as long as it’s not used as an absolute.
As a general rule, we should always question. I don’t mean we should always ask questions verbally, but our minds should be questioning minds. We should have the attitude that when one question is answered, then we form two more. This enables us to have an inquisitive mind that is forever growing with the number of questions growing in a mitosis manner.
Now, asking just “any question” is not what I am talking about. It’s important that your questions are focused on solutions and not problems. For example, you might ask someone, “What do you really want?” instead of, “What is wrong?” Consider asking, “How would you like to change things?” instead of asking, “How did things change?” The point is that you should usually ask questions that will help find a solution instead of focusing on the problem. I included usually in the preceding sentence because questions asked for the purpose of clarification are an essential use of questioning and often, are not directly seeking solutions. So, do ask questions for clarification, but once you are clear about the problem, then direct your questions toward the solution instead of the problem. Perhaps the best overall approach is to first ask questions for the clarification of the problem, and then ask questions for the purpose of finding the problem’s solution.
It’s difficult to always be optimistic, but in every situation there is an outcome that is desirable. What I mean is that focusing on the situation and how it’s so bad, will only help us have one outcome – a bad one! Of course, we should try to make our thinking fit reality, but that doesn’t mean we should allow our present day reality to be our future. For example, if we are faced with the reality of a broken down and worn-out car, we shouldn’t focus on the old car and accept it as the only car possible for us. Instead, we should accept the reality of the condition of the car and either fix it or get another one. Though this might not be the best example, it is one that I have had to deal with recently. Focusing on the dark and dismal aspect of a situation usually only leads to a dark, dismal and undesirable outcome.
So, when we are allowing questions to drive our thinking, we are in the “driver’s seat” for doing good thinking. But, only if we are a good driver! In order to be a good driver for our thinking, we need to ask questions that help solve problems instead of creating them. We need to focus on solutions and not problems. Consider focusing on questions that ask what and how and not why, who and when. Don’t ask “Why Ron broke the television?” Instead, ask “What is Ron doing to fix the broken television?” or “How is Ron going to fix the television?”
If questions drive thinking, then where are you driving? I hope you are a good driver and driving toward solutions instead of problems.
Any questions? :-)