I am reading How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, and I am realizing how important asking questions is:
Although we all started life with a Da Vinci-like insatiable curiosity, most of us learned, once we got to school, that answers were more important than questions. In most cases, schooling does not develop curiosity, delight in ambiguity, and question-asking skill. Rather, the thinking skill that’s rewarded is figuring out the “right answer”–that is, the answer held by the person in authority, the teacher. This pattern holds throughout university and postgraduate education. . . (p. 65).
Michael Gelb then goes on to explain that in order to hone our problem-solving skills, we need to ask questions, and we need to ask the right kind of questions. We have to move away from “Is this the right answer?” thinking to “Is this the right question?” thinking. We have to look at different ways of seeing the problem, which means we will be asking more than one question. We have to reframe our initial question in a variety ways to be able to find solutions.
This led me back to a chapter I read in The ASJA Guide to Freelance Writing about ideas. One of the sections of the chapter was on asking questions of your reading. When you read a news article or magazine feature, or something in a book that caught your attention–got your curiosity–you were to ask questions. Not everything that could be said about that person, organization, or situation was in that piece. Ask questions–what wasn’t there? What aspect of the story was glossed over in a line that needs its own story? “Questions lie at the heart of many of the best story ideas. Your job is to select the questions that intrigue you the most and run with them” (p. 45).
It seems all I have right now are questions. That is okay. I will keep asking questions and reframing those questions until I have answers that I can write about. All of my questions will probably have more than one answer, and none of those answers will be “the right answer,” but that is okay. That is how life is supposed to be. It would be nice if there were a right answer for everything, but there is not. All I can do is ask the questions and follow where they take me then tell you about it. And that is what I will do.