“We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong.” – Bono
Every New Year’s Eve, regardless of who I am with, I spend a portion of the evening posing questions. What matters to the people around me? Why? As they reflect on the past year, what happened that was of note, that made them pause? Why? What do they expect of the new year? I want to learn, better understand how people make decisions, what motivates them, what drives them to action. I seek to understand how human nature, human intent, interacts with the day to day realities of life. This is part of my general approach to life …that questions are at least as important as answers. Richard Feynman—a noted author— said it differently, and I like it. “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” Every time I have made a mistake, moved in the wrong direction, ended up in a bit of a quagmire, I look back and see that had I asked just one more question, been a bit more curious, sought for deeper understanding, I would have acted differently.
That is my intent for 2018. To continue to be a student of the world around us, asking questions, being endlessly curious about the drivers that impact the market, staff attitudes, funder’s priorities, government decisions and the non-profit and for-profit business environment. With the hope that these questions will lead to deeper understanding and better solutions.
So I ask of you… What are you curious about this year? What kinds of questions are you asking as you enter 2018? How might asking different questions, in different ways, with greater frequency change your view of the world? Lead to a smarter way to approach an old problem? What is it that you intend to study in an irreverent, undisciplined manner?
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Happy New Year!