“The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by answering.”
—David Whyte, Anglo-Irish poet
Image from Unsplash by Hadija Saidi
What are some of the questions you have been asking yourself and others over the past couple of years?
As a lifelong learner, I marvel at the power and insights offered by provocative open-ended questions. These tools dig below the surface of our day-to-day experiences to uncover new depths of understanding of one another and the world.
In the coaching profession we often say “let your questions do the heavy lifting.” The surprising thing for me, based on Whyte’s quote, is that both parties can be shaped through these exchanges.
What are some of your favorite “stop you in your tracks” questions?
How have these questions shaped your identity and opened up pathways for you?
Two books I’ve found very useful on this subject are A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer.
“Discover the magic of searching for the ‘Second Right Answer.’”
—Roger von Oech, author, inventor, and speaker
Image from Slideshare
Do you remember the game played by teachers and students when you were young? You know — the game where the teacher asks a question and immediately all the over-zealous students wave their hands in excitement — maybe with a few verbalizing to be called on to share their knowledge and show off a bit.
Certain subjects and topics in school play nicely into this game, where there is a single correct answer — and being quick on the draw with these single bullets of wisdom is usually rewarded. Consider all the game shows on TV that play into reward or punishment for the right or wrong answer.
As we enter the world beyond our traditional educational upbringing many of us notice that there are often a variety of right answers that can lead to numerous iterative versions of success. We are now encouraged to be far more creative and agile, thinking outside the box to discover new and perhaps even better answers just beyond the horizon of our knee-jerk thinking.
Where and on what personal or professional issues would digging deeper and longer to search for the second right answer magically provide even greater possibilities and opportunities in your life?
“Is the work people pay for the work you want to do?”
—Bernadette Jiwa, global authority on business philosophy
Image of Bernadette Jiwa from thestoryoftelling.com
Today’s quote comes from a blog post Bernadette Jiwa wrote on August 21, titled “The Value Shift.” Check out her insightful work and website.
What is your answer to the question posed in today’s quote?
Are you a yes, a no, or a sometimes? What would it take to be a Hell Yes!?
Yes, we all have our responsibilities and commitments we sometimes feel we have to do, instead of want to do. But overall, to what degree is the work you actually do what you want to do?
What bold, courageous, and creative actions would it take to move the “no” or “sometimes” far closer to the “yes” you deeply desire?
Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you will take to have a far more rewarding life.
“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”
—George Carlin, Late American stand-up comedian and social critic
Image from content.time
George Carlin, who passed away in 2008, was noted for his black comedy. No subject escaped his probing and ingenious mind. He had a surprising and penetrating way of making aspects of human nature hilarious to millions of people.
Today’s quote points out that we are constantly talking to ourselves and find our own opinions, perspective, and general views on all subjects of greatest appeal and value. Carlin knew that our favorite subject was ourselves. He was clever enough to poke fun at it, making him one of the most popular comedians of all time.
Where and how can the understanding that each of us talks to ourselves and prefers our owns answers help you improve your relationships and the results you desire, personally or professionally?
“Imagine that the universe is about to whisper the answer to your deepest questions. You do not want to miss it.”
In his book The Divine Matrix, author Gregg Barden takes the reader on a provocative journey bridging science and spirituality. He provides potential clues into how the world works, and man’s role in it.
As a seeker, Braden’s travels have taken him to remote monasteries and high-mountain villages, to review forgotten texts and discover timeless secrets regarding what he sees as the mysteries that connect all things.
Here are a few tantalizing ideas from his book you might explore:
- The bridge between imagination and reality
- Being passive observers versus powerful creators
- Living in a holographic universe
- Living, loving, and healing in quantum awareness
- The Universe is talking to us
Where in your busy and noisy world could you make more time for quiet reflection, and listen more closely for the critical answers to your deepest universal questions?
“A wise man’s questions contain half the answer.”
—Solomon ibn Gabirol, 11th Century Jewish Philosopher
Image from The Secret Yumiverse
When was the last time you wrestled with a jar that would not open? Whatever was inside was just on the other side of that pesky lid! Eventually, I’m sure, you found a stronger person, tapped the jar against the counter, or maybe ran it under hot water to get access to the contents.
In many ways, wise and thoughtful questions are like jar openers, giving us access to answers, valuable opportunities, and important discoveries.
The ability, skill, and mastery of knowing what questions to ask of ourselves and others is, as today’s quote suggests, half the battle.
How can you more fully discover what’s inside yourself and others by enhancing your curiosity and ability to formulate provocative, deeply probing questions?
“There is more than one right answer.”
-Dewitt Jones, National Geographic Photographer
image from www.english-forlife.com
There is something satisfying about getting the right answer.
Take a trip down memory lane back to school, where the goal was to get 100% on a test, or a perfect score on the entrance exam for college. Striving for excellence or perfection can be the source of great upset and frustration since we humans quite often fall short of the mark.
There can be many paths to excellence and achievement. Today’s quote coaches us to relax a bit and determine what is right for us, which may not necessarily be what others or society dictate.
What are the right answers for you regarding the following questions?
- Where do you most enjoy spending your free or leisure time?
- What strategies work best for you in your marital and parenting relationships?
- What qualities and attributes bring you the greatest happiness and life satisfaction?
- Where else would it be of value to remember that there is no one right answer to any question or issue you face?
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
– William S. Burroughs, American writer
Image from Flickr by anieto2k.
One of my favorite phrases about coaching is “coaches let their questions do the heavy lifting.” If this is true – and I assert that it is – then we can all coach others, be coached by others, and even coach ourselves. We need only ask the right questions, then relax as our answers reveal themselves.
It is through this personal inquiry that our question-answering muscles do the work and allow us to grow and evolve.
What one or two important questions do you need to ask and answer for yourself today?