Why do we ask questions?
What is the motive behind them?
Well, this of course can be different depending on the person and circumstances. I have always been a fan of asking questions, I am sure much to the annoyance of colleagues in what they deem to be boring training courses they would like to leave quickly.
And my motive changes between situations. I found when I was a younger man early in my career in the City I would ask every question possible, I wanted to make sure I knew everything, had every base covered. I must have annoyed the hell out of the managers and coaches I worked with.
Sometimes these questions would be asked as I really didn't know the answer, and wanted to fill in a gap in my knowledge. Sometimes I thought I knew the answer, wasn't sure and wanted validation.
Other times I felt confident I knew the answer but wanted to be sure my own subjective view on the situation wasn't affecting it; like credibility checking the answer that I thought I knew.
Other times I may know an answer, or at least have felt I had figured out an answer to something, but would see it as being quite ridiculous, almost unbelievable, and wanted to hear someone else say the answer out loud.
In the stage of my life I am at now I realise I ask most of my questions for an altogether different reason, it is no longer about the answer, but about the conversational journey I can walk with someone in coming to a shared truth on the subject.
Questions are such a wonderful vehicle for exploring our beliefs and finding our deep held views on a matter.
I also love to ask a question with absolutely no intention of coming to a conclusive answer, and seeing what other gems of wisdom I can find along the road of discovery. Some of my greatest lessons have been learnt, and my greatest insights gained, this way.
This new view of questioning has become one of the great joys in my life, it has allowed me to explore my own mind and the minds of friends in such a way that we together shine light on a whole new set of feelings or beliefs. We come to realisations about altogether different subjects we would never have chosen to think about on their own.
Sometimes I hear people say things like, "What did he/she ask that?", "You can probably answer that question yourself" or "Does that really need to be asked?"; and when I hear this I honestly feel sorry for that person, I realise that perhaps they have not discovered the wonderful joy of asking questions.
So I ponder the thought in my favourite way; What is the real point of asking questions?