Ask good questions

As I have previously shared, some topics come up over and over again. Sometimes you just can't seem to shake certain topics. They just chase you down and pop up everywhere you go.

My most recent hound has been the importance of asking great questions.

It seems that no matter where I go, what I read or what I listen to it keeps cropping up in new and fresh ways. However it appears, the truth remains. 

Asking good questions is perhaps the most important habit / skill you can develop.

Why is asking good questions important? Asking good questions is important for at least three reasons:

1. Cultivating a learning mentality. A learning mentality is humbling because you have to admit that you don't know it all. However, it can be the first step towards unlocking new doors in your life. Everyone has something they can teach you, and asking good questions is how you figure out what it is. Ask questions that not only help you learn more about a particular person, but that also help you grow. Are you facing a major issue in your life? Is there a particular situation you're just not sure how to handle? Ask good questions of those around you.

2. Improves your relationships. Developing the habit of asking people really good questions shows people that they matter to you. One of the best ways you can show someone their value to you, is to ask their opinion. Dig deep in to who they are, what makes them tick, and what's going on deep inside their heart. It's quite difficult to dislike someone you've spent the time truly getting to know. Inevitably you will find common ground and something to appreciate about them. When you being to hold others in esteem and take a true interest in them, they will return the favor and take a deeper interest in you. As you esteem others, your value in their life will increase as well. There is no better example of this than marriage. Want to know one of the best secrets to having a great marriage? Ask your spouse intentional questions that help you learn more about them, and that communicate to them that you value your relationship. There isn't a relationship in your life that couldn't benefit from this type of intentional questioning.

3. Separates you from the crowd. You don't stand out from the crowd by being the guy with all the answers. Everyone knows that guy is a fake, and quite honestly no one wants to be around them. No, you stand out by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask really good questions at work, and then actually listen to the responses people give. Do that and you'll stand out just fine.

As I am growing in this area I also want to help you develop the habit of asking good questions. Below are 30 questions that can help you get started. Pick one or two questions and ask them over dinner tonight with your family, friends or roommates.  

  1. What's the best advice you've received, who gave it to you & how did it help you.
  2. What's the best advice you've ever given someone else?
  3. If you could do one thing for everyone in the world what would it be?
  4. What single event in your life had the greatest impact on you?
  5. What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
  6. You walk into a bar, what do your order from the bartender?
  7. Who are you reading?
  8. Who are you learning from?
  9. What have you learned in the past year that has impacted your life the most?
  10. What historical figure do you resonate with most?
  11. What is one thing that you've learned in your life that you feel most people overlook?
  12. How do you lead your family?
  13. What single person has had the biggest impact on you?
  14. What single person has had the biggest impact on your leadership?
  15. What single person has had the biggest impact on how you lead your family?
  16. How do you set goals? What are you currently working to achieve?
  17. What is the most impactful book you have ever read?
  18. What book do you most often give as a gift?
  19. In what areas are you currently working to improve?
  20. When you think of the word successful, who is the first person to come to mind?
  21. What are your daily rituals?
  22. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life?
  23. What are you best at?
  24. Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
  25. What one book would you recommend everyone read?
  26. Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is the most important thing you do to start each day?
  27. The Pareto Principle states, that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts, what is your 20%?
  28.  What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are you most passionate about?
  29. What rejuvenates your soul? What places or activities help you recharge?
  30. When do you feel most productive?