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OPINION: Ask more questions

I have a go-to question when I am seeking a deeper understanding, “Can you help me better understand what you mean by….”. It always produces a discussion and an improved shared understanding.

I have a go-to question when I am seeking a deeper understanding, “Can you help me better understand what you mean by….”. It always produces a discussion and an improved shared understanding.

In a world where knowledge is readily available at our fingertips, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that having all the answers is the key to success. Given social media norms, we believe that certainty and expertise are the ultimate currencies in establishing our credibility and influence. However, what if I told you that the real power lies not in having all the answers, but in asking the right questions?

Asking questions is a tool that unlocks the door to meaningful conversations, profound insights, and genuine understanding. It encourages open-mindedness, curiosity, and empathy, while simultaneously challenging preconceived notions and promoting critical thinking. When we ask questions, we invite others to share their perspectives, allowing us to broaden our own understanding of the world.

These days in Alberta, we have an insatiable appetite to tell our friends in Ottawa what they ought to know. What if we changed our tack and asked questions of Messrs. Trudeau, Guilbeault, etc.? What if we asked our friends, relatives, and relationships east of Manitoba questions about how they see the world, instead of telling them how we see it?

One of the most compelling aspects of asking questions is its ability to foster connection and engagement. When we engage in a conversation solely focused on providing answers, we risk creating a one-sided dialogue that leaves little room for collaboration. On the other hand, when we ask questions, we invite others to actively participate in the discussion. This inclusion empowers individuals, as it validates their thoughts and experiences, and demonstrates that their opinions matter.

Asking questions is an effective way to challenge assumptions and biases. We often fall victim to our own limited perspectives and fail to see beyond our preconceived notions. By asking thoughtful questions, we encourage ourselves and others to re-evaluate our beliefs, consider alternative viewpoints, and embrace intellectual growth. It is through questioning that we can expose the flaws or strengthen our resolve in our thinking.

Additionally, asking questions promotes a culture of learning. When we assume that we have all the answers, we stagnate our intellectual growth. However, when we embrace the power of questioning, we become perpetual learners. The pursuit of knowledge becomes an ongoing journey rather than a finite destination.

In today's fast-paced world, where change is the only constant, the ability to ask the right questions becomes even more critical. Questions serve as a compass, guiding us through uncharted territories and leading us to innovative solutions.

It is important to note that asking questions is not a sign of weakness or ignorance, as some may mistakenly perceive it. On the contrary, it takes courage and humility to admit that we don't have all the answers and to seek the wisdom and insights of others. By embracing this vulnerability, we create an environment where collaboration, creativity, and growth can thrive.

While having all the answers may appear desirable, the true power lies in asking questions. The ability to inquire, challenge, and listen with genuine curiosity is what propels us forward.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.


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