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The New Testament records 183 questions that people asked Jesus. He gave a direct answer to three of those questions, but he asked 307 clarifying or redirecting questions in response. Jesus seemed to think one well-placed question is better than ten good answers.

Do you remember taking a class in school on how to ask great questions? No? That’s because there is no such class. Questions are a great tool for opening up the mind to think in new ways. However, we often haven’t been taught to use them.

The best way to learn is to pick one up and give it a try. Especially if you’re feeling stuck, questions are great tools for prying a situation loose. Give these five questions a try and see if any help you. Here are my 5 favorite:

1. What will be the impact of things staying the same?

What are the implications of not taking any action? Being aware of the consequences of inaction might be the motivation you need to act. Perhaps after answering this question you still aren’t incentivized to do something about it. That’s when you need to ask yourself why you are content with the inevitable.

2. What is the question that, if you had the answer, would change everything?

This is a trick to get you to confess to yourself what is really important. But it works. If someone says they don’t know the answer to something, this is kind of like asking them “Well if you did know, how would you answer?” The fact is, we are often lazy and thinking is hard work. So sometimes we have to trick ourselves into doing the hard work. Someone has said, “Whoever defines the question defines success.” It might as well be you.

3. Why did I come up with that question?

This question only works if you do the hard work above. Questioning our motives is a healthy habit to hone, because we can lie to ourselves—and we don’t even know it. We’re good. With the previous question I suggested you trick yourself. Now, I’m telling you to make sure you’re not tricking yourself. Are you confused? Perhaps you should question all the questions up to this point.

4. Is there a different question I should be asking?

Why did you come up with that question? Don’t let yourself get away with anything. What are you assuming is true with those questions? What are you assuming is false or an impossibility? Keep peeling the onion, because there is always more if you’ll give yourself time.

5. What else?

For me this is probably THE most powerful of questions. The beauty is both in its simplicity and the suggestion in the question that there IS something else. There is a closed (can be answered with yes or no) version of this question: “Is there anything else?” The ‘What’ prompts the brain to search and find, whereas the ‘Is there’ results in either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. For best results, ask yourself this question several times.

Are these five questions enough? They’re certainly enough to get you moving in a new direction!

Hungry for more great questions?

  1. The Five Most Important Questions
  2. 10 Questions Every Change Agent Must Answer
  3. 35 Question That Will Change Your Life

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015

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