a wise man’s 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.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully discover what’s inside yourself and others by enhancing your curiosity and ability to formulate provocative, deeply probing questions?

“Dream big, but allow yourself the opportunity to start small and have your share of struggles in the beginning. The world’s greatest composers weren’t writing symphonies the day they first sat at the piano.”

“Dream big, but allow yourself the opportunity to start small and have your share of struggles in the beginning. The world’s greatest composers weren’t writing symphonies the day they first sat at the piano.”

– Kevin O’Rourke, American film, stage, and television actor

O’Rourke is suggesting that we consider our life as a splendid symphony and that we are all composers.

Image from Unsplash by Paige Cody

The other day, my wife Wendy downloaded a piano app onto her iPad and began to play around with it. She began with scales and made an effort at Chopsticks. She eventually wants to play the piano that was given to her by her father many years ago as a gift when we were first married.

Exercise:

What are a few of your big dreams and goals? What small steps and potential struggles must be taken now to help you develop the mastery to compose your personal and professional symphonies?

#57: “When one door closes, another opens…”

“… but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”

– Alexander Graham Bell, scientist and inventor

Life is filled with many endings and beginnings. It has many twists, turns, and even its share of dead ends. How can we maintain life’s momentum when we come to a real or apparent ending, instead of stopping too long to ponder or dwell on our past?

It often takes us a while to turn our heads and look forward, to grasp the doorknob of the future and open it with excitement and enthusiasm.

Exercise:

What doors in your life have you recently closed, and what new openings are available for you to pursue?

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#54: “Remember to pick something up when you fall.”

– Unknown

We have all heard that experience is the best teacher. Many experiences do not provide us with success on the first attempt. Consider a baby trying to take its first steps, a child learning to read a book or ride a bike, a new leader speaking in public to a large group, learning a new language … the list goes on and on.

Have a “beginner’s mind” and a hunger for the lesson: this offers us the opportunity for value even in adversity.

Exercise:

Where did you fall down today, this week, this month? And what did you pick up when you stumbled?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.