Updated: Feb 19, 2021
What is the purpose of a question? The irony is not lost on me to be asking you this!
Questions are essential in life. They are the root for all your learning as you use them to acquire and expand your knowledge, solve problems, gain deeper insights and eliminate confusion. Powerful questions invite clarity, action and discovery.
Questions lead to answers, however it’s the quality of the answer that we eagerly anticipate and it is the quality of the question which determines this outcome. There is therefore an art to asking good questions. It takes skill and practice. How effective is your questioning?
Socrates used questioning to educate his students and Socratic questioning is still used today to explore complex ideas, get to the truth of things, analyse concepts, probe assumptions, rationale, reasons and evidence, and question implications or consequences.
Questions make up a large part of our conversations and consist of closed, open, probing, leading, loaded, funnel and recall questions. There are also rhetorical questions which are designed for dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to elicit an actual answer.
“Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.” Tennessee Williams
As you grow older through the different stages of life your questions change as you seek to discern your life purpose. In childhood you ask, ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ which becomes ‘Where do I fit?’ in adolescence and evolves into ‘What is my calling?’ in young adulthood.
In middlescence, you ask ‘Who have I become as a person?’, which evolves into ‘How do I measure my success as a person? during older adulthood and finally, in later life, you ask yourself ‘What value have I added to people’s lives?’
Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose and what is the meaning of life?
Viktor E. Frankl’s seminal work Man’s Search for Meaning challenges the answers to all of these questions.
“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We need to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who are being questioned by life daily and hourly.” Viktor E. Frankl
What you do every day matters. The way you live your life is as a result of your everyday choices and the questions you ask yourself. Are you making the right choices? Are you asking the right questions?
As Einstein said, “the important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Before you take any action, ask yourself this question: will this action enable me to achieve my goal?
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