Good questions

I experienced two situations recently when a simple question changed an entire situation.

A good friend was mulling about a decision and we discussed the idea of running the decision by the – “Is this a hell yeah?” filter. If it isn’t a “hell yeah,” it ought to be a no. (HT Derek Sivers) Suddenly, the decision making process was greatly simplified. It worked much better than a long diatribe about decision making frameworks.

Then, a casual conversation was changed into an engaging, thoughtful and personal one when we all just asked each other – “What is the dream?” Our dreams offer wonderful insight into what drives us and the conversation took a fascinating turn.

We all know good questions are powerful. I do too, somewhere deep inside. But, situations like this remind me that I could spend more time thinking about good questions versus thinking about what to say or mulling answers to things.

The obvious question, then, is how do you ask good questions? My sense is that good questions and good judgment go together. So, good questions come from experience. And, experience, in turn, comes from bad questions.

We should just ask away till we get better. And, we will.