I love asking big questions. The type of questions that make you think. The answer is often out of reach, but that’s okay. You don’t need to answer it. You just need to find the pieces of the puzzle that can help you understand what the question means.
Let me give you an example. One of my large, open questions is “How do I help people have the skills to think more critically and use that to objectively make decisions”. I don’t know the specific answer, but I know it’s a question I like to think about.
Why is it useful to have these open ended questions in the back of our minds. Firstly it gives you something to orient your thinking towards. Like have a ‘why’, it provides a way to see if the pieces of insight you gain along the way fit with answering this question.
Secondly, it gives you purpose. It allows you to rest your soul onto something that has meaning.
By setting these types of questions for yourself, you avoid the trap of setting a specific goal. For example, I could set the goal of “I want to teach people to think critically”. It’s very similar, sure. But the moment I do teach them, then what?
I feel that by phrasing the question as a “How do I” type of question, then it doesn’t exactly have a definitive answer. I might find an answer, but I might still want to explore different or better ways that I could answer it.
So what other questions might be helpful? I personally like tricky and specific questions that help get to the nub of the problem that would often be overlooked. Here are some examples:
- How do I stay healthy while facing the stress and challenges of my life?
- How do I build financial freedom without sacrificing my time or values?
- How do I inspire other people to use knowledge in a positive way and share the joy and fulfilment it brings?
With these questions, you get to break down defining what it really means. These might be:
- What causes stress?
- What external events change someone’s behaviour so that they avoid working towards their goals?
- What does financial freedom mean?
- How much time does someone need to feel free?
- What values should someone set for themselves?
- What does ‘use knowledge in a positive way’ mean and how do other people interpret that?
- What does joy and fulfilment mean?
- How do you inspire other people?
As I continue my own journey, speak with other people, work on my projects, and say yes to opportunities, I do it with these types of questions in my mind. I’m continually seeking to see if one will bring me closer to understanding this further, answer it better and take action on it to achieve my ultimate why.
Today’s ah-ha moment is to ask yourself big questions. Do it in a way that allows you to seek pieces to the puzzle, and see the world through a lens with purpose and passion.
What are your big questions? Let me know.