There are always answers. We just have to be wise enough to ask the right questions.
It’s a harsh fact that every one of us is ignorant in some way. Although we tend to pretend otherwise, it’s impossible to know it all.
Ignorance is our biggest collective secret.
And it’s one of the scariest and most damaging realities of life, because those of us who are most ignorant – and thus most likely to spread ignorance – are also the ones who often don’t know it.
Here’s a quick test:
If you have never changed your mind about one of your learned beliefs, if you have never questioned the fundamentals of your opinions, and if you have no inclination to do so, then you are likely ignorant about something you think you know.
What’s the quickest solution?
Get outside and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, behaves, and handles certain aspects of life very differently from you, and just have a simple, honest conversation with them. I promise, some of life’s most important questions will become clearer by doing so. And it will do both of you lots of good.
Once you’ve done that, here are some key things to remember:
- Many of the biggest misunderstandings in life could be avoided if we would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
- An expert is not a person who gives all the right answers; she’s the one who asks the right questions.
- Very few of us actively seek new knowledge in this world on a daily basis. We get comfortable with what we know, and we stop questioning things. On the contrary, we try to squeeze from the unknown the answers we have already shaped in our own minds – judgments, justifications, validations, forms of consolation without which we might feel incomplete or off-center. To really ask something new is to open the door to the storm. And the answer just may blow us away.
- If someone can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about how they answer you.
- Monsters do exist in the real world, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous in the long run. More dangerous are the common people with good intentions who are instantly ready to believe and act without asking questions.
- At the end of the day, the questions you ask of yourself determine the type of person you will become.
- Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life. (Read Loving What Is.)
- When it comes to your relationships: Does he/she treat you with respect at all times? That’s the first question. The second question is: If he/she remains the exact same person ten years from now, would you still want to be in a relationship with him/her? And finally, does he/she inspire to be a better human being? When you find someone that you can answer yes to all three questions, you know you’ve found yourself a relationship worth having.
- Regardless of how much you know, or how many incredible questions you ask, you can never know it all. To believe that you do, is proof of the contrary. The wilderness around us always holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask. And that’s a beautiful thing.
- Although life will always be filled with unanswered questions, it’s the courage to seek the answers that counts – this journey is what gives life meaning. Ultimately, you can spend your life wallowing in frustration and misery, wondering why you were the one who was chosen to deal with your problems, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough and smart enough to grow from them. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
Be present and have patience with everything that remains unexplained in your heart and mind. Try to love life’s questions. Like locked doors or like good books written in foreign languages, respect their nature. Don’t expect all the answers to come easy. They cannot be given to you right now because your present understanding isn’t ready yet. It’s a question of experiencing everything first. Right now you need to hold on to the questions – explore, learn, and live your life. Perhaps, as you do, you will gradually find yourself experiencing the answers you always wanted.
So with that said, which of the reminders above hit home the most? Why?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights with us.
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Photo by: Adrian