I ask ‘Why?’ a LOT!
Even when I think I know the answer. Especially when I think I know the answer. I ask, ‘Why?’ and then shut up.
My cousin is a painter and spent 20 year refinishing furniture and putting laminate (Formica) on furniture. I recently had a 50 foot long black wall built that I use to write out all the names of every member of the US Military who died in Afghanistan. The writing surface of the wall is a laminate and a few weeks ago I asked my cousin his thoughts if I was to replace this surface. He gave me his ideas and I shared it in the memory bank of my mind. Then the next week I had the wall at the manufacturer and I asked then their thoughts on replacing the laminate. My cousin was there and before they could answer he gave his opinion again. I never heard their reply and to be candid, I was angry with my cousin. I KNEW his answer. I wanted their uninfluenced opinion!
Even when I am an expert on a subject I often ask ‘Why?’ and never let on I am pretty good at it myself. Recently at the USA Memory Championship I was asking someone to explain to me their system on memorizing a deck of cards and then I was asking, ‘Why?’ For those of you who don’t know. I used to hold the record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards but I never let that enter the conversation and I walked away with good insight that I think could cut 10 seconds of my time. Conversations for me are not a place to show my knowledge but learn from others.
I enjoy conversations about the origins and meaning of life. Talking with an atheist and evolutionist recently, I never played my hand as to my opinion instead I asked, ‘If there is no God can there really be a right or wrong? Is it wrong to kill another person? Why? If we are just advanced apes is it really wrong? If the world is just a product of atoms and evolution and nothing intangible such as love or good then is it possible to love or are we just feeling chemical reactions?’
Not long ago talking to a very intelligent Christian I asked the questions, ‘You are suggesting to me that essentially every person who has ever lived in China, every native American, the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, every Hindu since the start of time is right now in a lake of fire being tortured and will be for eternity? They are being tortured because 6 thousand years ago a snake talked a woman into eating an apple and now their skin is on fire and will be forever? If there universe is only 6 thousand years old then how is it possible we see light from stars that are tens of thousand light years away? South America and Africa used to touch, you are suggesting the drift occurred in a matter of only 500-1,000 years?’
The evolutionist no doubt assumed I was a Christian and the Christian assumed I was an evolutionist. What was of interest to me was digging deep and asking them to really thoroughly explain their point of view.
No matter my level of expertise on a subject I ask ‘Why?’ and listen as if I have no expertise on the subject and that has made a world of difference for me in life.
Do you disagree with me on this? Why? 🙂