Learning how to ask useful questions is central to working better and becoming more fulfilled argues Warren Berger, speaker, journalist and researcher on the power of questioning. In a world ‘drowing in data’, says Berger, questions are more important than ever – answers are everywhere, we need to ask the right questions.
A simple formula to help you begin to ask better questions:
1. You are presented with a situation that is less than ideal – ask, why?
2. Come up with ideas for possible improvements – ask what if?
3. Prioritise your questions and turn one of those ideas into action – ask how?
Hopefully, though it may not happen immediately – be prepared to fail and ask new questions! – you will eventually arrive at your solution. Also, try ‘appreciative inquiry’ – questions with a positive tone. Instead of ‘Oh no, what am I going to do?’, try ‘How can I make the most of this situation?’
The questions to ask to get more out of life:
If you are looking to get more out of life, here are some ‘beautiful questions’ suggested by Berger, drawn from the wisdom of happiness researcher Tal Ben-Shahar, filmmaker Roko Belic and writer AJ Jacobs:
1. What is important to me?
2. What has worked for me before – and how can I bring more of that into my life now?
3. What did I love doing as a child?
4. What am I doing when I feel most alive?
5. What if I made one small change?
6. Why do it the same old way?
READ MORE: A More Beautiful Question: The Power Of Inquiry To Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger (Bloomsbury, £20) is out now