Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Sometimes when I listen to my daughter I hear my middle sister speaking. She tells me she hates reading because she doesn’t like being told that she needs to do it and says history is a waste of time.

When I explain to her why I disagree and encourage her not to argue with me about things she won’t change my mind on she’ll ask me why I am acting like this and I’ll tell her she is asking the wrong question.

How did they do this?

How did they do this?

That often leads us to a wide ranging discussion about the why an education is important, how she is more like her father than she realizes and how her aunt learned to love to read which reminds me, I need to ask her if she has learned to love history yet.

Aw, the hell with that I am going to say she did and mark that off as more proof she should never argue with her big brother because he knows more than she does.

Anyhoo, my comment about asking the right questions is more on point for personal and professional reasons than my daughter realizes but since she is 10.5 going on 30 I’ll give her a break.

Are You Asking The Right Questions?

The first time I definitively remember someone saying anything about it was during a job interview.

I was a 27 year-old newlywed interviewing for a position working at a mortuary. Had I gotten the job you might have been regaled with tales of how I used to work with stiffs.

Somewhere during the middle of the interview the hiring manager asked me if I had any questions and replied by telling me I wasn’t asking the right questions.

She was so aggressive in her response I sat back in the chair and wondered if I was in the right place but I am grateful for it because it made me think more carefully and analytically about what I was asking.

Part of it made me laugh because more than a few people have told me I ask too many questions. Blame that on a journalist/writer/storyteller and a guy who wants to know what happens if I press that button I am not supposed to press.

But it made sense to a guy who is curious about everything to refine and hone the questions to maximize time and return.

Made sense to think about my goals and objectives so that I could start figuring out what questions I needed to ask so I could build a road map that would enable me to hit those goals.

How Do You Tell Their Story?

I have sat in job interviews and had conversations with people who wanted to pick my brain about how I would market a product/company/service or what approach I would take to tell a story and told them I didn’t know what questions to ask.

That wasn’t me putting them off, it was me building the foundation for saying I didn’t always know enough about the product/company/service to give a substantive answer.

Without a bit more knowledge I wondered if I was going to miss including critical details like whether Drug XYZ had significant side effects or the warning not to tear the sticker off of the mattress.

Have we talked about how sometimes asking questions helps you figure out new and innovative ways to use common kitchen appliances?

Actually I don’t know how the author of the video below figured the things he talks about in the video. They may have just known they could do it or figured it out by accident.

Or maybe they thought their might be additional uses and asked the right questions of the manufacturer.

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  1. Pingback: Is It Really More Fun To Be Evil?

  2. Larry December 22, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I also like to ask questions and been told that I do it to much at times. I am intensely curious. I also love to learn. I think the questioning comes from there.

  3. Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd December 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    “Thinking is nothing but the process of asking and answering questions.”

    That is something I learned from Tony Robbins when he did his Power Talk session on the topic of the right questions being the answer.

    He spent about an hour, maybe longer talking about how incredibly important it is to make sure that you are consciously challenging yourself to ask the questions that will put you in a resourceful state of mind.

    It is a talk I imagine you would love Josh and I highly, highly encourage you to get your hands on it. Even if you had to buy the entire Power Talk series. Why?

    Because I don’t think that there anyone better at interviewing thought leaders than Tony and that’s what that series is – him interviewing thought leaders that made a meaningful impact on him for one tape and then him discussing a topic in length that compliments the interview for another hour on another tape. Really, really, good stuff.

    Check it if you get a chance. 🙂

    • Josh December 23, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      @MyNoteTakingNerd:disqus I’ll have to look up the Tony Robbins stuff. I have never seen any of his work at any length other than the promotional stuff.

      It sounds quite interesting.

      • Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd December 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

        I’ve been a fan of Tony’s since the time I was a kid riding the bus to go work heavy duty manual labor on commercial construction sites.

        I’d listen to him on the ride on my walkman and if the opportunity allowed (not too many moving pieces in the environment to be concerned about), I’d listen to him on the job site. I still listen to him to this day while working but more so for the purpose of sharing excerpts of lessons of his I’ve cherished for years.

        Nowadays I look at the long list of thinkers I respect and the major celebrities like Oprah who revere and endorse him and I think, “Of course. Why wouldn’t they. This guy is f’n money.”

        But for me, I wasn’t sold on him by any of “the leader called upon by leaders” promotional stuff. I had a friend I respected who gifted me a copy of Tony’s “Notes From a Friend” book and I actually read it. And the book must have been good as it convinced a kid who only listened to gangster rap on his walkman and hung out with gang members, to start giving a lot of attention to this white guy named Tony Robbins when that was not the cool thing to do in my peer group or my family.

        Tony spoke to the common sense part of my mind. He simplified the complicated and was pivotal in helping me start asking better questions. Not long after, and to this day, I take the title of his book seriously and see him as a Friend. He, through his messages, has been more of friend to me than many people who have called themselves my friend.

        I can imagine that out of the 400+ posts I’ve assembled on my site, at least 10 of them are dedicated to a lesson I’m sharing from one of his courses.

        I mentioned Power Talk in my comment and I just wanted to share with you a post in which I excerpted an awesome story he told on another one of those tapes. I mentioned that I believed Tony Robbins was one of the finest interviewers I’d ever come across. Well, now I’ll go on record as saying that I believe Tony is one of the finest story tellers I’ve ever encountered. He’s an absolute master.

        This post I’m sharing with you here will give you a glimpse of stories he tells that emphasize the need to evaluate the questions you ask yourself. I guarantee that if you like what you read here, you’ll absolutely love actually hearing him tell the story on the audio…

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