Published: 06th July 2020
Canteen Fundas: For the right answers, ask the right questions
Pro Tip: Questions open up limitless possibilities. It is important to move forward and ask the right questions to succeed in your lives
Yaar, what to do in this pandemic?’ asked Rinku.
‘Nothing,’ said Rahul. ‘It’s hopeless.’
‘Rahul, if you conclude so quickly how can we find other, better possibilities?’ asked Rakesh.
‘What?’ said Rahul. ‘There are no possibilities.’
‘Again!’ said Rakesh. ‘Don’t jump to find answers, Rahul. Once you conclude, you’re left with only one possibility. Whereas, when you stay open with questions, possibilities open up. Instead of closing the door, try saying, “I wonder what’s possible?’’.
‘Sounds interesting,’ said Rinku. ‘Let’s try it again — what can we do during the pandemic, Rahul?’
‘It feels hopeless… but I wonder what’s possible during the lockdown?’ said Rahul. ‘Hmm, you’re right, it does feel better.’
‘Feels light, right?’ smiled Rakesh. ‘I wonder why we’re quick to conclude instead of asking questions?’
‘Because smart people ‘know’ answers, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku.
‘Which is why no one asks questions in class, right?’ laughed Rakesh. ‘Because it’s considered smart to act like we ‘know’; while the smart ones ask questions and learn from everyone. So what do you think helps — questions or answers?’
‘Questions,’ said Rinku. ‘But what’s wrong with knowing answers, bhaiyya?’
‘Rinku,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘The problem’s with half-baked answers. If you conclude that, ‘There’s no way out’ you’re stuck. Instead of looking for solutions, you defend your conclusion. When you’re stuck, check if you’re asking the right questions.’
‘So questions carry us forward then?’ asked Rahul.
‘If not for questions, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, right?’ asked Rakesh. ‘Questions expand thought. They’re like keys, opening doors to unknown treasures, while conclusions are like locks, closing things. Stay open, don’t conclude.’
‘Wow, so many benefits to staying in the ‘wonder-what’s-possible-mode’, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘Staying open with questions makes life less stressful, there’s no burden of having to ‘know’ the answers. With every question, we learn something new. Questions also include others and lead to healthy debates. Asking questions makes us more open and humble.’
‘Is there a right way to ask them?’ asked Rahul.
‘Our questions should provoke thought,’ said Rakesh. ‘Use questions to enquire, gain trust and begin honest conversations. If you encourage the habit of asking questions instead of jumping to conclusions, life throws up wonderful possibilities.’
‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘How to make heavenly chai is the question now.’