This is the sixth blog of a series, “12 Simple tricks to Success” from Findamentor.com. We reveal one trick each month for you to read and practice so that in 12 months you’ll have developed some habits that can expedite your success. Enjoy!
Trick number Six:
. . . many of them, of yourself and others—any kind, most days
“To wonder is to begin to understand.” (Author unknown) This is one of the most influential statements I’ve read in my life. Wondering is about asking questions with an open mind to answers. Our intelligence is sparked in the process.
All humans have intelligence. Some of us don’t know how to maximize our intelligence, but that doesn’t mean we’re incapable. We each have different learning processes — ones particularly suited to who we are. Learn how you learn, follow your interests and passions, ask many questions and you will become very smart.
We can increase the range of our intelligence by simply asking questions. I believe in a law of intelligence, which ensures that every question ever asked is eventually answered.
“Everyone that asketh receiveth,” says Matthew in the Bible (7:8).
Answers may come in the form we expect, but often they come in unexpected ways and times. What we need is the patience to wait for answers and the openness to see them when they appear. Some of the answers may not come right away, but rest assured, they will come.
Einstein stated a theory that gravitational waves exist because he continually asked the question, ‘what makes the universe work?’ He was inspired by the answer he received from the universe so stated a theory. Theories are actually questions because they are not confirmed. By stating a theory I’m asking; How? 100 years later the universe provided the answer to prove the theory through other scientists. He asked the questions for human kind and the answer eventually came. Not all questions take that long to be answered.
I wondered how mobile phones worked when I first used one in 1976. 12 years later I got into the cellular phone business and attended courses explaining how they actually worked so I could explain it to customers.
I wondered about the similarities and differences between Christianity and other religions. I was looking for common denominators. I met many people of different backgrounds over the next few months and found many common denominators.
If you want to learn more, ask more questions of everyone you can think of. Eventually the answer will come and you will be more intelligent. As we ask questions and learn, we become more valuable in the workforce and to our networks of family, friends, and associates.
We can ask questions of children, teenagers, and co-workers—anybody with whom we carry on a conversation. We may learn a small detail about a person’s personal life, or we may find the solution to a complex corporate problem. It’s all learning and learning is valuable to our character. Every single person we encounter — regardless of age, race, occupation, gender, education, sexual orientation, income level, or religious or political beliefs — can teach us something.
The key is being open to learning without imposing negative judgments.
We make judgments about people and situations every day. Some positive and some negative. Negative judgments occur because we believe we’re better than others or we don’t have complete information or understanding or we’re afraid. Asking questions helps us understand and be less afraid. Asking questions before judging, helps us judge more positively which attracts more positive life situations to us.
One of the primary motives for negative judgment is to discredit others’ decisions, personal or professional, in an effort to validate our own or to feel superior. If left unchecked, negative judgment can lead to the implicit belief that everyone in the world should be more like us.
Difference, however, makes the world a wonderful place. Imagine if everybody were exactly the same. Would you like to be a clone? I wouldn’t. We all have our own paths and make our own choices. The more freedom we allow others to live their lives as they choose, the more freedom we gain to do the same ourselves.
Negative judgments block our ability to accept or gather complete information.
Without sensing compassion from us, for example, others will not be willing to share their whole story and we, as a consequence, will not learn as much as we might from the interaction.
My nephew shared a story with his mother about how he really had a hard time liking a fellow student, and then was surprised at how his feelings shifted when he found out how hard the student’s life had been. We were not born to like everyone. We can, however, learn from everyone when we keep our negative judgments at bay and inquire a little deeper with empathy and compassion.
When people feel judged, they don’t want to listen to our questions or opinions. They often withdraw and keep their thoughts to themselves. Sometimes they get aggressively defensive. The learning process stops for both sides, emotions heighten, block reason, and neither is able to accept responsibility for the negative situation. The more negative situations we put ourselves in the more we attract negative situations. It’s simple. If we want a positive life full of positive situations, we need to think and feel more positive every time we think of it.
One of the most effective ways to let go of negative judgments is to ask questions, examine why we have the judgments we do and then to take responsibility for communicating our desires, feelings, thoughts and intentions clearly, and with compassion.
By getting into the habit of asking questions when I’m feeling negative helps shift me to a positive state most of the time.
When my co-worker was installing a cellular phone into a customer’s new imported car, he inadvertently drilled into one of the car’s computer boards. The repair bill was $1500. When he informed me of the mishap, I had a few choices about how to react. I could have yelled, screamed, made him feel stupid, and then fired him.
That choice would have made the co-worker take responsibility for my anger, rather than his actions, and I would have been left with a big repair bill and one less employee who was an experienced, productive worker. I still would have been angry, and I would have had the additional expense of training another employee.
Instead, I let go of the anger — then the negative judgment — and looked at how we could turn the adversity into a benefit. I asked the co-worker why it happened (it was a new model of car that placed the computer board under the gearshift) and instructed him to phone all the competitors with whom we had strong relationships. He was to tell their installers of the new position of the computer board so they wouldn’t make the same mistake.
The result was that the co-worker was encouraged to take responsibility for his error, he felt supported despite his mistake, and my colleagues at other stores didn’t have to make the same expensive mistake. The worker received positive feedback from the other installers and felt good about himself in the end knowing he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. My benefits included a productive and willing co-worker and a number of grateful colleagues and competitors who would return the favor to me in some way in the future.
Asking why instead of moving to instant negative emotion and expression turned an adversity into benefit and attracted positive situations in the future.
Ask questions and you will learn, you will be more positive, you will attract positive people and a more positive life.