Question everything. Always and forever

HOW OFTEN DO YOU STOP TO QUESTION WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WHY YOU ARE DOING IT? HOW MUCH ARE YOU SWAYED BY THE TRUTHS AND OPINIONS OF THOSE AROUND YOU?

Influences are everywhere and they are relentless. From your family and friends, to your boss and work colleagues, to the internet and social media, to the slick and subtle advertising that finds its way into your world, online and offline.

The temptation to follow the crowd has never been easier, safer and more expected. But the biggest problem with being a follower is that you inevitably stumble into someone else's expectations for you and how things work and should be.

The only way to break through the crowd, the sameness, the way it's done (because that's the way it's always been done) is to ask questions. Question processes, ideals, behaviours, actions and attitudes.

Question everything. Be relentless in your curiosity and the world will open up with immense potential and possibility. How else do you think we got here, to this place in time with everything we have around us?

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advancement.
— Orville Wright

Asking the right questions inspires renewed thinking, innovation and creativity. The right questions stimulate our curiosities, push us past our comfort zones and help us make better, smarter decisions.

They can be confronting and existential ... Who am I? What is my greater purpose? What is my true identity? 

They can be thought-provoking and challenging ... Is there a better way? If we could do it over again, what would we do differently? If we were to totally delight our customers what would that look and feel like to them?

They can be random and wacky ... How do scientists really know the Universe is 14 billion years old?  How do you know you aren't eating a baby chick when you reach for the eggs? If you had three wishes from a good genie, what would you wish for?

When you get into the habit of asking the right questions over and over again, you will:

  • Broaden and shift your perspective 
  • Recognise what you want
  • Reassess what you are doing and where you are going
  • Establish clear goals and priorities
  • Align expectations
  • Evaluate with honesty
  • Plan and negotiate 
  • Unlock your creativity
  • Foster critical thinking 
  • Explore new ideas
  • Remember the big picture and your why
  • Take relevant and timely action
  • Identify what is and isn't working
  • Identify and remove obstacles and distractions
  • Change course to meet evolving needs
  • Develop flexible and constructive thinking skills

The best questions to ask are those that ADD something to a discussion. Another layer, perspective, angle. Your questions don't have to be difficult or especially intelligent to provoke debate and contemplation. Sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer and the most important to explore. 

The best time to ask will depend on how intently you listen. Be genuine, interested and curious and be conscious with your words, tone and physiology. You know being defensive, aggressive, or passive won't get you far.

Remember if you aren't adding to the discussion, you are subtracting from it. There's a mighty big difference between disrupting in the name of advancement and derailing just to be difficult. Don't let your ego get in the way of healthy dialogue. 

the next time you want to get more out of your brainstorming session, team meeting, creative projects, collaborations and negotiations, Try these simple and powerful questioning phrases ... 

  • Why?
  • Why not?
  • What would happen if?
  • How do you know?
  • What's good about this?
  • Is there another way?
  • What if we added this?
  • What if we removed this?
  • How could it be different?
  • What goals do you want to achieve by doing this?
  • What advice would you give a friend doing this?
  • What are the benefits of doing it this way?
  • What would doing this get you/us?
  • Why do you want this change?
  • What are the options?
  • What do you mean?
  • What'a great about that?
  • What would be fair?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What's the message?
  • What do you want?
  • What else?
  • What's next?

What are your most effective go-to questions?

Before you go, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.