Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Necessary Skills: The Art of Questions

Thank you for the good comments on yesterdays post on beliefs and the interest in today's topic. I think the situation is familiar to all of us when we are trying to make a change. We start by asking the standbys; how, when, where, who and what that we learned from our educational system. But, they don't seem to have any juice. They rarely create any AHA moments.

Why not?

I came to an understanding of the problem in trying to answer that question and the comment Camille made on yesterdays post. The understanding I reached is that we ask our questions from within our sandbox, our frame of reference, coming from our experiences and our thinking. Talk about a conflict of interest. All of those factors built our sandbox and yet we want to them at the same time to break out of that same sandbox.

So how do we knock down a wall of our sandbox? We don't do it from within our sandbox and we are not ready to change or throw out any of our beliefs yet. Alright, I have defined the problem but no solution yet. We need to find a way out and we do that by searching for a better question.


It is a process that allows us to keep our current beliefs while searching for a better replacement. Now I didn't show arrows going from answers or evaluate to a new question to keep the diagram simple. At any point you can short circuit the process and seek a better question. The source of a new question could be anything you want as long as it is outside of your current experiences. A poem, a book, a post, a movie, or a question posed by anyone else. The seeking of a better question is the catalyst that will put you outside of your sandbox.

For example; I stated in my post on goals that I wanted to become a digital nomad. Well Micheal from digital nomad asked a better question. It was simple but effective. He simply asked "where do you want to live?" I don't have a clue so I will start by trying to answer that question.

So what is the Art of Questions?
Seek for better questions than you have been using if you want to pull down the walls of your sandbox.

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8 conversations:

Digital Nomad said...

You're making my brain hurt. I will have to read this several times. I like the analogy of the sandbox.

Peter Haslam said...

It's only fair after your question caused an episode of "brain rattle"

S. Camille Crawford said...

That's good Peter, but there is an 'art' to it. For each of us it might be different too. You suggest a poem, a movie, or someone else's questions. I have one for you; sometimes, I simply ask the question I have outloud, when I'm alone. In essense, I'm asking the universe. Some might call it God. Then I let go. For the next couple of days, I watch carefully for any clues to an answer. Sometimes, they show up on a radio program I'm listening to, or the front cover of a magazine staring at me while I wait in line at the grocery store, or on a billboard. Sometimes, I overhear a conversation on the street. I truly believe that if we ask, we shall receive. Our sandbox. Nice.
Camille

Peter Haslam said...

Yes Camille I didn't mention quiet attention and I'm glad I didn't because your comment is far more eloquent than I would have come up with. Thank you for extending the conversation.

RT said...

Peter, we share some of the same readers. That's fantastic. Since blogger points to a profile, I'll just remind you I'm the guy from Untwisted Vortex.

I enjoyed reading both articles because this is precisely what I have been doing for the last few years - asking questions from different sources in order to test my own paradigms and think "outside the box".

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks RT. Yes I found your blog through mutual readers and stayed because I like the way you frame things. Looking forward to more conversations.

Comedy + said...

I'm with digital nomad...You're making my brain hurt. Thinking outside the box is tough. Getting past our belief systems is extremely tough in some instances. It's the what can I rethink and what I won't even consider. This conversation could very well take the rest of eternity without a resolution.

Peter Haslam said...

I agree comedy+ as long as we realize there is something outside the sandbox then we continue growing. I will continue the conversation in today's post.