Never mind the answer; what was the question?

questions-and-answers1“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
— Albert Einstein

In the movie “I, Robot”, set in some not-too-distant future, a policeman is investigating an apparent suicide which he believes to be a murder. He has the ability to “interrogate” the deceased man by asking questions of a holographic recording.

His investigation is stalled until he starts down a certain path and is rewarded by the hologram’s telling him “THAT, Detective, is the right question!”

When we’re looking to resolve issues or attain results which may have eluded us, there is a very strong pull to seek out answers as quickly as possible. We may be missing the point though by rushing to a solution.

You know what that’s like – whether you call it a cook book approach, a cookie-cutter solution, a quick fix, or a silver bullet – rarely do they work as hoped because rarely do they fit you!

Despite the many similarities we may share, ultimately it comes down to how we internalize a solution and make it our own.

Think of it as one size fits one.

Before we can find the right answer though, we have to find the right question!

Many years ago I took a workshop for personal trainers. One morning the topic was “understanding the client’s needs”.
The speaker noted that most trainers asked a potential client what it was they wanted to accomplish but rarely asked why they wanted to accomplish it. He demonstrated by repeatedly asking a volunteer “client” the “why” question.

Frankly, I found his continual use of the word to be a bit off-putting (possibly because it sounded too much like the kids next door), but he made a good point. The answer changed in each iteration, sometimes subtly, eventually profoundly.

Understanding what’s truly going on within us is crucial to finding the most effective solutions.

If you’re finding that you can’t quite achieve an outcome, or, once you’ve achieved it, you can’t maintain the behavior so that it becomes a lasting change, it’s time to start asking questions.

The most important question is this: “Who is this for?” Might seem a bit obvious…”it’s for ME, of course!” But is it?
It is so often the case that lack of success is a direct result of lack of caring or lack of choice.
If something is being forced upon you, or doesn’t feel like it truly is of value to you, it just ain’t gonna happen.

I typically ask my clients to add the phrase “so that…” to the end of each of their goal statements to help them validate and focus on the importance of a goal. If you can’t complete the “so that…” phrase in a compelling way, you might have a goal that needs to be reconsidered!

So get on out there and ask, ask ask, until you’ve asked the right question.
And if you haven’t yet done so, watch “I, Robot”…it’s a good movie!

About zolfw

I am an avid trail runner and fitness enthusiast, an accomplished cook, a lover of cinema and literature (although I read everything from graphic novels to professional psychology tomes, neither extreme being literature in the strict sense) . I am a retired Health and Wellness Coach. I am a husband, father, grandfather, and uncle.
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