Q & I

September 1, 2014 at 4:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“The trouble with life isn’t that there is no answer, but that there are so many answers.” – Ruth Benedict

Over the weekend I had the chance to be at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney. I love seeing speakers live and the Opera House provided an amazing venue for the talks I was lucky enough to be apart of. What I was reminded of while in attendance at the event was the importance of questions and ideas, hence the title of this post Q & I, rather than questions and answers, Q & A.

The other week, working with a group of Stage 3 students, I asked them to spend a few minutes contemplating what questions were coming up for them, from class, their experiences in their community or about life in general. It didn’t matter if they viewed the question as big, small or anything in between, it didn’t matter what theme, concept or area the question arose from, the only stipulation was what was bubbling away inside for them. What happened next was inspiring.

The breadth and depth of questions that came flowing out of each individual was incredible. Their eagerness to engage in and share their ideas rippled throughout the room. An energy and enthusiasm was created that carried over into the rest of the day, impacting the way each individual showed up and interacted with various activities and content.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reasons for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.” – Edmund Burke

The process still provided moments of hesitancy, like at the beginning some students wanted to check they had done it ‘right’. The process still provided moments of wanting to have and provide an answer, like when some students were sharing their questions others shot out a response to what was expressed. The process still provided moments of judgement, like when some students reacted to certain topics as ‘funny’ or ‘out there’. But in each of these situations, and throughout the whole experience, we kept coming back to what we were valuing and celebrating, each individual’s questions and ideas.

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. But it’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

So how do questions and ideas show up in your life? Are yours and others questions and ideas valued and celebrated, or is having or providing an answer the most important part of the particular interaction? How could Q & I, instead of Q & A, open up new opportunities in how you engage, share and show up as you explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically? As we strive to use our thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives, what role does knowledge and wisdom play within the Q & I vs Q & A way of being?

“… grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

The photo at the beginning of this post is one I took in East Africa in 2011. The baobab trees that I saw on that trip and in my year in East Africa a decade ago provided me with moments of wonder and awe. The proverb included with the photo reminds us of the questions, journey, inclusivity and connection that is present within the wisdom that we all share, are we as individuals and groups prepared to engage, listen, express, be inspired by and embrace it together?

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Greek Proverb


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