Questions and Answers - Questions Are Better Than Answers

Jordan Brown

You need questions in your life more than you need answers.

How can I write that with such certainty?

Because questions have kept me going.

I'm not sure where I'd be without questions.

I certainly wouldn't be on a path of my own making.

By the end of this short issue, you'll know what I mean.

Setting the Stage With Questions

So much of mental health comes back to a feeling of aliveness, of vitality and seeking wisdom.

To find that feeling of aliveness, do you need a prepackaged answer, or do you need to ask the right question?

Let's see.

Questions start new paths. Answers end them. Questions are uplifting in their search for truth. Answers are deadening in their finality.

Don't get me wrong. Answers have their place. You need answers in your life. There are times when you need to give the right answer at the right time. This happens often when you're in school. There are times when you need to answer questions that others ask you. This happens often when you're hanging out with your mother or father-in-law.

But answers aren't all there are.

Asking Questions: Two Scenarios

Consider a few examples.

Say you're in a position you've never been in before.

The area is unfamiliar. You don't know the territory. In this situation, you could draw from a knapsack of answers that have worked in other areas of your life, but the odds of this strategy working well for you are not very good.

Instead, what if you turned to a question? When you don't have a map, you need a way of making sense of the landscape in front of you. You can only carry so many answers with you. But questions are unlimited. You will never lose the ability to come up with a new question. And this is how you will create a path forward when you don't know where you are.

Focus on the questions today. Dream up new questions. Ask yourself questions like:

What am I doing here?

Do I enjoy this?

What happens next?

Could there be another way?

Now consider this: You're being accused of something you didn't do.

I'm not talking about criminal activity here. I'm talking about run-of-the-mill, daily life. That's where everyday knowledge of mental health comes into handy, in your daily, walking existence.

When someone accuses you of something that is not true, answers aren't always the way to go. Sure, you might have the perfect response that explains to the other person that they have it all wrong. But someone who already has something fixed in their mind isn't likely to let go of it so easily. In this case, you'll be better off with a question.

Try these on for size:

Why do you think I did that? What evidence do you have? Could you tell me more about that?

Questions keep the conversation going. They spark curiosity and open up the space. Asking a question shows the other person that you aren't going to jump to conclusions. Even if you feel that that's exactly what they're doing to you.

Questions and Wisdom

Asking questions and finding wisdom are linked. If you regurgitate answers, you won't find wisdom.

But if you learn to ask questions, you'll a create a wisdom funnel directly to your heart and mind.

Answers have already created their own paths. That's acceptable in certain situations.

But if you need a new path, if you need an escape route or a sudden adventure, you need to be asking questions.