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Have you ever heard that many of our weaknesses are an overextension of our strengths? Did you catch that I just asked you a question? The theory of strengths overreached can actually be a weakness hit home with me in one big way. If you know me you know that I love to talk! Those who know me will tell you that the last sentence was an understatement! In essence, I really like to talk, when taking personality tests, I am a sanguine or extrovert usually off the charts! Now being able to talk and converse with people has been a strength for sure, but it has also gotten me in trouble because, well, I do not always know when to remain silent. Because of this problem, somewhere and somehow I learned a way to counteract the desire to talk and dominate the conversation: I like to ask questions. Not just simple questions that can be answered with a yes or no, but questions that cause the one asked to elaborate and explain. Before long I made the most interesting discovery: you can learn a lot if you quit talking and listen! Perhaps this is why God gave us one mouth and two ears. Rarely if ever have I learned anything by talking, I have learned a remarkable amount of things by listening to others.

One reason for asking questions is that it allows the other person to feel that they are a part of the conversation and that they have something to contribute. For, in fact, they do have something to say on or about the subject. Asking questions and then listening forces me to stop being the expert and take on the posture of a fellow-learner. It could be summed up with this statement: “No one of us is as smart as all of us.” Some time was required for me to develop listening skills. These skills were developed by asking questions and listening, really listening and then processing the things that I was hearing. One of the more valuable lessons I have learned has come from developing the ability to ask questions. I have been helped to develop the asking of questions by the books I have read, friends I have spoken with and the mentors I have had in my life. I believe it was Voltaire who said “judge a person by their questions and not by their answers.”

What are some questions you might ask someone you have just met and do not know? Here are a few in no particular order:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • How did you meet our mutual friend? (do not say it this way, insert your friends’ name)
  • Do you have any hobbies?
  • Tell me about your family?

Another important line of questions are questions that you ask yourself:

  • Am I happy? why or why not?
  • Am I doing all I can at home, work, school, church?
  • What is the area in my life where I can improve?
  • Do I spend enough time with the ones I love?
  • Am I growing as a person?
  • Am I learning new things?
  • Am I growing in my relationship with the Lord?
  • What is the #1 priority in my life at this moment?
  • Are there things I should stop doing?
  • Am I a procrastinator? Why?
  • Who can I help today?

Asking questions to others as well as ourselves is a good way to keep learning, stretching and growing. Questions are a tool for learning from others as well as a tool for personal growth. I do not have to know all the answers. Asking good questions is one way to enable a posture of learning and understanding in our lives. Try it tomorrow, think of a good question you can ask your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Make sure you are open to learning from others and having your own mind stretched by the views and experiences of others.

There is no need to question everything, but there is a need to be a seeker of truth and understanding and one of the tools in the knowledge toolbox is the ability to ask good questions and then wait and listen for the reply

Have a great day and go ahead and ask a question?

Boy asking five W questions for editorial consideration (what, who, where, when, why), on grunge background, writing and thinking, copy space
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