At different points in our lives we walk around thinking that we have all of the answers to life’s quandaries. It’s a wonder that there could even be any quandaries if we already have the answers, but somehow we tend to get flustered and walk away feeling like we didn’t know too much after all. Others, however, tend to feel dejected on a regular basis and live in a perpetual state of being lost. The reality, as usual, is somewhere in the middle.
As we are the owners of our own lives, life stories, and destinies, there are answers that we have always had that we just didn’t know how to access. In other words, it isn’t that we are failing to have the answers, it’s just that we’re not asking the right questions or not asking any questions at all. Dr. Seuss so appropriately said that “Adults are just obsolete children” and that “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
As we get older, we tend to become less and less curious about life, ourselves, and others. We get set in our ways and our opinions slowly turn in to incontrovertible facts. As a result, we tend to look on situations in our own personal lives as well is in relationships and organizations as a whole with much less wonder and curiosity. This leads to asking less questions and therefore being aware of less answers.
As Seuss said, when we are asking questions, we are too often making the questions too difficult to get any meaningful answers. Simple questions around why we keep getting the same results, what makes our organization or ourselves tick, how we are feeling in a given situation, etc. can elicit some great insights that were always there for the gleaning.
Next time you feel stuck in your personal or professional life, or feel that there is something awry in your organization that you just can’t seem to pinpoint, take a moment to step back and ask some simple questions. You’ll be amazed at what you already knew and the forward progress that those discovered answers will catalyze.
Wishing you courage on the journey,