The Answer is the Question

Are you looking for answers? You might be better off searching for good questions!

We often look for answers in the form of information. New books, teaching, and workshops attract our attention. Don’t confuse information gathering with answers. They are very different things.

The Answer is a Question

The University of California, San Diego did a study of how much information the average American takes in a day. It’s 100,500 words or 34 gigabytes of data – a day! That’s like filling your computer’s hard drive every week.

Great answers come not so much from new information, but creative application. Often you already have all the information you need. You just need to apply it differently. This is where questions come in.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

Insightful answers are based on asking insightful questions. Questions inherently have potential to produce something new – insights, ideas, strategies, and solutions.

Good questions are like breathing

Once we are satisfied that we have found an answer, it’s easy to hold on too firm to that bit of learning. Everything can change in a blink of an eye.

Like breathing, if you stop asking questions you die.

We inhale through questions. Then we exhale insights, ideas, and new information.

We breath in oxygen (among other gases) which provides energy to our bodies. We breath out toxic carbon dioxide to cleanse our bodies. If you fail to inhale again carbon dioxide will build up, poisoning your body.

Questions are to learning what oxygen is to our blood. Questions enrich us, stimulate our learning, and dislodge potentially “toxic” ideas and strategies that we’ve hung onto too long.

In fact, just as soon as we exhale our “bits of brilliance,” it’s time to inhale with a few more questions if we want to go on living. Like breathing, questions are necessary to continue to learn, adapt, and grow.

The answer, you see, is questions.

How about you?

  • What’s the last great question you heard?
  • How could you improve your questions when looking for answers?
  • When looking at information, ask yourself, “What meaning does this have for me?”

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    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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    2 thoughts on “The Answer is the Question

    1. “Like breathing, if you stop asking questions you die.
      We inhale through questions. Then we exhale insights, ideas, and new information.”

      Great word picture. When breathing, a shallow inhale can’t result in a hearty exhale. Just isn’t gonna happen. Inhale deeply to exhale heartily!

      Very helpful, thank you!