The Sunday Mail
The seed of all transformation is a powerful, inspiring and engaging question. Stop asking small, discouraging questions laced with victim thoughts. Ask powerful, enabling and engaging questions and you will charge forward towards greatness. Questions change the narrative. Until the narrative changes, your life will not go in a different direction from the past.
Questions can be powerful triggers that start new things, end nagging wicked problems and ripen issues. The ability to ask the right question is more than 75 percent of any battle. To open any locked door, ask the right questions. To do what you have never done before, ask the right questions. To go where you have never been, ask the right questions. To meet someone that you have never met, ask different questions. To be what you have never been, ask new questions.
Your struggles can always be distilled to the questions you are obsessed with. Whenever you find someone who is struggling, try and find out the questions that they are battling with. Wrong questions dwelt upon lead to mental problems and confusions. Until you change your questions, you will not change your behaviour and focus. You do not need to know the way, you just need to know the questions to ask. There is an African proverb that states that he who has a mouth with which to ask questions cannot get lost. If you are lost, you can track that to the questions you are not asking. You are defined by the questions that you ask. You are defied by the questions you do not ask. It is when you stop asking meaningful, inspiring questions that you stop learning and growing.
Sense of curiosity
Children are always full of wonder and questions. They ask about anything and everything. To them there is nothing like a convenient question or timing. What is there are just questions. Never mind the answers, for children what is important are questions. To them there are no boundaries and no questions are taboo. When questions are limited, worlds are limited. Children learn after because they are willing to be ignorant and ask a lot of questions. To master things faster and quicker — ask more questions, faster and deeper.
You are truly old when you have lost your sense of curiosity, wonder and excitement about life. What happens when we become older? We start measuring our questions because of fear. We fear being laughed at, fear being wrong, fear retribution, fear that we will be labelled, and fear the known and unknown. As a result we reduce our questions and tame our curiosity. What happens? We start living ordinary lives filled with routine, boredom, cynicism, despair, negativity and then we wonder why?
The future always belongs to the curious and actively questioning. Do not lose your curiosity and sense of wonder. If you lost them, then pick up a pad and write ten questions that could move your life forward? You do not have to have answers for now, just ask. Then find two or three questions that you think could really bring excitement and passion to your life. Focus on these and see what happens to your life. Small questions lead to mediocre living. Big questions have expansive capacity.
Pick a good question and wrap your life around that question and you will end your life among the great. You can tell the size of a person by the questions the person asks. Let your thoughts, words, actions, conversations, relationships and prayers be dominated by your supreme questions. Let your life be engulfed by your life’s inquiry. There must be no doubt or confusion as to the question that your life is answering. I live to express the answer to this question: “How can I help people to unleash the greatness that is in them?”
Pick your sense of wonder and curiosity again. Ask the foolish questions and be taught if need be. You have died prematurely if you spend a week without learning something new. You have expired if all you ask are tired questions of self-preservation and not engaging vision. Good questions are a torch towards progress and an engaging future. Questions that may look challenge convention and drive progress. Instead of accepting things as they are, ask “Why not?” and go a step further as ask, “What if?” Liberate your heart and mind again and ask new questions that challenge convention and limit your life and world. You cannot allow other people to create limits and boundaries for you when life is so rich and abundant. If your life is limited and constricted, I know who to blame I am sure — you!
You may have heard about Elon Musk. He is an interesting man because his life is built around a few big, radical and engaging questions that he pursues with passion. Two of his questions are: 1. How can we go to Mars and make human beings multi-planetary residents? 2. How could we totally replace oil and use vehicles that do not require oil? These are not easy and idle questions armchair questions for him. Stop using questions as play things that you use to pass time and amuse your negativity. Musk takes action, so must you. He has already taken huge steps forward in answering these questions. The questions over the years have led him to do the unconventional, to live an unconventional life and deliver unconventional breakthroughs.
Through his companies, Space X and Tesla, he battles those two questions despite facing tremendous challenges, untold pressure and competition from incumbents. Through Space X, Musk is working to democratize space travel and he is inching closer to setting up a home in Mars. Through Space X, he is disrupting what a motor vehicle means and how it functions. Parking at small questions will never stop the world from marching forward.
Take a moment briefly and ask what questions are really driving you and your life? If you are obsessed with survival and self-preservation, you stall progress and shrink your world into a ball of personal concerns. Open the lid! The world is full of possibilities. The possibilities in life are huge, the opportunities are abundant and you do not afford the luxury of camping on small questions.
Venting or Crafting Questions
It is not enough to just vent mindless victim questions and then fly off to more mindless complaints and excuses that are veiled as questions.
I am not talking here about self-deceptions and rhetoric questions that do not take you anywhere. Questions are not just the stuff of comedy but the very essence of creation in every space. Good questions are crafted to inspire new possibility and enable great dreams.
Good questions will inform you and perhaps amuse you but great questions will transform you. You know it when you get a great question, it does not fly off but stays with you, sometimes for years. Great questions get hold of you and linger for a long time. You want a question that will simmer in you, grab your attention and give your life force intensity.
You have to battle with your questions like the encounter of Jacob in the Bible. He came to a place where a stranger wrestled with him. The stranger cried for release but Jacob was unrelenting.
He was not done with the stranger until he received his blessing. So it is with good questions.
Do not move on too quickly to the next amusement, stay with your big questions. Wrestle with a question until it changes your name and your fortune. You are not wrestling with your question, until your name is identified with it.
Anyone who has ever done anything great was driven by a great question. Make it a habit to ask the people you meet what questions obsess them.
When you find people battling with questions similar to what you are battling with ally yourself with them.
Great leaders are people with great questions. The size of your questions reveal the size of your thinking and beliefs. Limited minds, ask limited questions and see all obstacles on their path and ask, “Who do we blame now?” instead of asking how to remove the obstacles and create new paths.
The future currency
The future will not in any way look like the past. The answers of the past will all be wrong when measured against the future. Eric Hoffer, a futurist and thinker of the past, was at his best when he said that the future belongs to the learners, while those who think that are learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.
That view is biting and true. Some of jobs for which people are training today will have disappeared within the decade.
In that time new jobs, ways of working and relating will have emerged that we have no idea of today. The future belongs not to the learned and those who think they know and have answers. It belongs to those with questions. Stay curious, stay learning, keep asking that is the currency of the future.
The questions you hold are your lamp of enlightenment. Do not be afraid to ask your children and the young. There is a world they know of, work and live in that may have escaped you totally.
Do not be afraid to ask the aged, there is wisdom that they cannot be allowed to take to the grave.
Do not be afraid to ask the same question to the same people, the answers may be different every time because they are also growing and learning. Do not be afraid to ask, because the foolish question is the one that you do not ask. Everyone saw apples falling, only Mr. Issac Newton asked why and dwelt on that question long enough. Do not be afraid to ask those around you for fear you will be misunderstood. It is better to be misunderstood than tolerated for mediocrity and applauded for sycophancy. Keep asking, growing and broadening your questions.
So long as your questions are more than your answers you are safe. You are in dangerous waters when you have more answers than you have questions. Sometimes it is where your question leads you to that matters more than what the question is.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author and coach. His life purpose is to inspire greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634