Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thought for the Day - Why You Must End Conversations With a Question

My friend R told me this morning that his had father enquired about R's stuttering business venture and said - 'Maybe there is some thing you are missing'.

R was indignant. 'I have done everything. It is showing results. I explained to him why I was not missing anything.'

I asked R to start a new practice from this morning. Of ending all conversations with a question. Place the burden of answering on the other person. This gives you a three fold advantage 1) great freedom of 'not knowing' 2) encourages others to provide more ideas and 3) improves relationships with the other person who feels better at having contributed.

When we say 'I asked for suggestions but nothing happened' - we are defensive. We have told ourselves that we have done right and convinced our mind that the matter at hand is over. It is not over because we could have gained from this interaction.

If, instead of defending himself and feeling the need to provide the answers, R had asked -'How do you think I should go about it?' or 'What would you have done in my position?' he would have placed the burden on his father. The father would have shared his valuable experiences and maybe out of a 100 such ideas one fresh idea could have emerged. If R was genuinely listening.

More importantly, questioning makes the mind flexible and open to learning other ways of doing things. It might open new gates where we are struggling with opening a small stuck ventilator.

It is deviously simple - the only way to learn is by asking questions. It's so easy, and so much freedom for us. And we gain. All we have to do is listen. In fact this is what we do as kids - ask, ask, ask, As we grow up however we feel the necessity to know all the answers. I think this comes from the fact that answers are encouraged and not questions - in schools and in society at large. In their eagerness to give the right answers, children slowly stop asking questions when they do not know and fall into a 'I know' behavior which paints them into a corner. These are also classic symptoms of the 'Fixed Mindset'.

The 'I know' syndrome places the burden of knowing everything on us. Not only is this not true as we know, it also stops us from learning. So there is a twin disadvantage in saying 'I Know' which are two of the worst words as far as learning is concerned. In contrast, the best three words we can develop are 'I don't know'.

Be the one who questions. End with a question and seek others  opinions. It will fetch more ideas, improves our knowledge, improves listening skills and certainly improves relationships and social interaction because people will enjoy talking to you.

I for one have now decided to make asking questions a practice.

Think you have something to add?

1 comment:

Girija said...

Do you feel I need to add anymore ?