When you were a teenager (if you aren’t one now), I’ll bet you stood on the edge of several pretty major decisions, wondering what to do. And no matter how many adults chipped in with their advice, whether you asked for it or not, you probably went ahead and did what you wanted anyway.
Teenagers aren’t the only ones guilty of this. Some of us carry this entire way of thinking into adulthood. Myself, for instance. We’re what I call the Listening Deaf. We hear that other people are saying things, but really, we’re just watching their lips move and nodding. Let’s face it, not everybody has something interesting or original to say, and when they do, it isn’t always something we want to hear.
Think about a date you’ve been on, or an occasion when somebody told you that you’re a “good listener”. You may indeed have been really listening, or you may have been staring at the table and keeping your eyes open to avoid falling asleep. Either way you ended up a hero. I’m pretty sure that some of my most beloved friends have been squinting hard at me in what I thought was concentration and what might very well have been an effort to keep their contacts from falling out.
Either way, the point is that we all like to be heard, but there isn’t always somebody around to talk to. The great thing about the Question is that you can get the right answer from the one person whom the gurus have been telling you all along already has the answers – you.
I realize that it sounds pretty silly when you hear “You have all the answers inside you” when you’re wandering around wondering where your next meal is going to come from. I know it sounds absurd to tell somebody that they just need to relax and feel the universe flowing through them when what they really want to know is how they can pay the water bill. This gap between two ultimate truths is exactly why I wrote The Right Question.
You’re always around to talk to, so why not open up a conversation with yourself? “Hey, self, why aren’t you doing something about that huge pile of laundry? And while you’re at it, why aren’t you working on that invention?” That kind of thing. The best thing to do, of course, is to ask the Right Question, but you knew I was going to say that. After all, you might not have been watching my lips move, but you knew where this was going to end up.
I would strongly caution you to listen to yourself. Don’t be the Listening Deaf when it comes to answers you do have. Using the Question will give you the power you need to zero in on exactly what is going on around you, and how to change it. All three parts of the Question have a reason; in fact, each word. Honor the answer you get, because it will be original and it will be exactly the right answer.
What other kind of answer could you get when you ask the Right Question?