October 23, 2007

Fools Have Answers, Intellectuals Have The Questions

Young children are the masters of questions. And for good reason - they have had very little experience in the world, and are doing the best they can to catch up. They realize that they don't know it all, and they ask questions in order to learn more about the world around them.

And now, here's a question for you to consider: at what point did you stop questioning like a child?

Sadly, many of us no longer have the capacity to ask questions like children. The causes are many. Some of us may feel self conscious about asking questions because we don't want people to know that we don't know something. Some of us may have grown weary of questioning because we have found that answers only lead to more questions. Others of us have given up on questioning for its apparent futility - not everything can be known. And others among us, albeit subconsciously, actually feel that we know all there is to know.

When looking back on the great creative geniuses of history, however, we find that they all share a common love of questioning. The status-quo is never good enough and their curiosity, like that of a child, was unquenchable.

By contrast, many famously bad predictions were delivered very matter-of-factly. They were spoken with the force of one who had ultimate knowledge, but in the course of time would be proved extraordinarily false.

Allow me to propose a notion that could rekindle your child-like need to question.

Consider the possibility that questions are not merely a search for answers. Questions do not exist only to increase our understanding, but to open a much larger door to the future. Questions, when used effectively, activate the ability for possibility thinking. This function of questioning has led to every great technological and sociological advancement in the world's history.

Possibility thinking begins with replacing the classic fact-finding children's question of why with the more powerful question, what if:
  • What if nations were ruled by their citizens?

  • What if people could fly?

  • What if people all over the world could communicate with each other easily?

  • What if we could mimic the sun's power to provide electricity?

  • What if we could build an elevator into space?

"What if" lies at the heart of all progress. If you look around you, you will find that the people with the most influence and the most success are the ones that ask the best questions.

Also at Babblermouth:
Who Are You?
Financial Freedom Series 1 - Cause and Effect
Fun With Truisms

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