Not all questions are created equally.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we ‘fully’ embrace a new way of asking questions to become smarter, and learn better.
In our daily grind, we’re so used to thinking the way we usually do, and to produce the output we need in the moment. But what if we were to stop and re-think the way we think? According to Natalie Nixon, author of the book, The Creativity Leap, if we don’t stop to re-think, we’re not going to shift our behaviours, and enact bigger, much-needed change in our society and culture.
It all begins with building curiosity. You just need to know a little bit about something to be curious. In the words of British author Ian Leslie: “Being curious is the product of an information gap.” Now that the door is open to information that’s out of reach, you can use inquiry to ask new and different kinds of questions.
According to Nixon, you can do so with diverging questions, such as “Why?”, “What if…?” and “I wonder…?”, or convergent questions that help you get more tactical, like “What?”, “Where?”, and “When?”. Using a mix of these two categories is the key to building curiosity.
In a report in the US-based multimedia news website Big Think, Nixon shares how practicing such inquiry is possible when you become ‘clumsy students’ of something.
For instance, if you’re interested in learning how to dance the salsa, and you’re taking some classes, you can only advance if you ask for help, ask questions, and use your deep observation of your instructors and peers to help you generate both diverging and convergent questions. Since you’re a ‘clumsy student’, get comfortable with asking all sorts of questions – even ones that may seem obvious to others. Inquiring is a way of thinking, and it’s a discipline you’ll get a lot better at, with plenty of practice.