WE UNDERSTAND THE DIFFICULTIES WE WOULD GET INTO IF WE ALWAYS HELD OUR HEAD TURNED TO ONE SIDE. LOOKING FORWARD, OR LOOKING BOTH WAYS, IS IMPORTANT. AND NOT ONLY IN TRAFFIC.
In my more experimental period I created a short-lived company called
? & Co
The aim of the company was not trying to find answers and solutions, but vice versa.
Motto: “Why look for answers when you haven´t even found a good question?” Which I think is a good question.
Look at this picture:
QUESTION >>>>>>> ? >>>>>>> ANSWER
To the left of the question mark we have the question, to the right the answer.
We humans seem to have a very strong right leaning tendency, meaning that we sharpen our ears (relatively speaking) when an answer is forthcoming. We are not so bad at deciding whether an answer was poor or rich.
But this staring to the right make us half-blind to the other, left side. We are very quick to dismiss answers as bad, stupid or idiotic. But what about the questions?
How wise or intelligent was the question? Was it well formulated? Was it even a real question, or rather a statement masquerading as a question (which happens a lot)? Was it one question, or perhaps three or four in a confusing jumble?
These are some of the questions we could ask more, while turning our heads more to the left.
I am regularly surprised by the questions journalists — supposedly their job is to find, formulate and ask good questions — ask. It is very common to hear the jumble I just mentioned, 3-4 questions tied into a messy knot.
It is also common to hear the victim of this confused multi-question to answer it within blinking, with a sometimes less than brilliant answer. “Blinking” could be a counter-question:
- I didn´t understand your question…?
- Can you please clarify?
- Which of your questions do you want answered first?
Due to some impulse to please or not complain the interviewee goes along with the charade, perhaps not even clarifying for himself that he didn´t understand the question, or that the question was actually a statement.