The wisdom of questions

We are still in an age and culture that obsesses about having the right answer.

I suspect this originates in the dawn of the Enlightenment where the world view was that everything could be known and understood. This was the age of reason and if we thought about things in the right, scientific way, there were answers. To everything.

Whilst clearly the world has come a long way since the 15th century, I am not sure that wisdom has grown at the same rate.

So why are questions important?

The answers we arrive at are only as good as the questions we ask. And we have been poor at giving time to frame these well. So our answers have become simplistic and shallow.

And in our time-poor environments, we have clung to the prize of having an answer, rather than judging how good it is. Or worthy of us and those we are seeking to serve.

On a personal level, Steve and I have realised that our questions have not been good enough. We thought we had no alternative but to use simplistic questions to find our way through complex circumstances. Fast. But these have not been good navigational tools.

So we are back to asking questions. Doing the heavy lifting of sitting with the difficult stuff in order to frame questions that are worthy of the endeavours we are seeking to pursue. And these are not off-the-shelf questions – though we are also not kidding ourselves that complexity equals wisdom…

Indeed, some of the most profound questions are simple, because they get to the heart of the matter.

But these are not questions we often ask, not least because they can be really difficult to answer. Often requiring more of us than we are prepared to give, at least initially. And like peeling an onion we have to go through the metaphorical tears to get to the good stuff…

How about you?

What questions are you asking yourself today, this week and this month? Are they worthy of you and what you are endeavouring to do?

To become the change we want to see starts with great questions. Like what is the change we are seeking to make?

Otherwise, it’s not transformational, just more of the same in a different colour.