What's the difference between a strong and a weak question?

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Is there any such rule of thumb that distinguishes a shit question from a really powerful question? How can I ask more powerful questions?

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For me a strong question is either one that takes you out of your comfort zone, or one that questions something that you take for granted.


Each of us is a unique mix of the same things.

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A weak question often has the assumption that you already know the answer, and the only thing why you're asking it is because you want to understand the details of it, so you can further entrench yourself in the assumption that you already made, which is an assumption you don't know for certain that it is actually true.

A strong question would make you more ignorant instead of more knowledgeable. A strong question looks at the underlying assumptions that you are having in your life, and you then ask: "Do I really know for certain that this is actually true or not?". A strong question does not create knowledge but in fact destroys it. A weak question has its roots in past conditionings, and therefore the answers that come out of this question can not be original and fresh.

A strong question invites the unknown; A weak question tries to hide from the unknown.

So when you're asking a question, be aware of why you're asking it: Are you asking it because you are afraid of what is not known, and you'd like to get more logic so you can cover up the holes in your mental belief system so that it may appear to be more stable, or are you asking the question because you actually want to know the truth of the situation? When you are inquiring for the truth of the situation, what you will often end up with is seeing how you have NOT been truthful, and this will open you up to see new perspectives beyond your old paradigm because previously you were too myopic and attached to be able to see that there were other possibilities.

Edited by Skanzi

I am using a new account named "Nightwise". In in fact intend to stop using this account from now on and use that account instead. So I am not planning on using these two account interchangeably or intermittently. Only "Nightwise" from now on. I am doing so merely because I like the username much more. For some reason, that feels to be important to me. 

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@Cody_Atzori Haha, I like how you are asking a lot of questions here, but try not to overwhelm yourself with too much. Try to truly integrate the answers, and think about them deeply first before asking more questions. Additionally, use your assertiveness and resourcefulness and try finding out for yourself. :) 

With that said, I will answer your question.

Powerful questions do 1 of 2 things:

  • Enquire critical thinking
  • Engage emotional response

For example, most 'what' or 'how' questions are surface level and not powerful questions. They result in 'pre-made' answers that don't address the underlying problem succinctly enough, or may be irrelevant for your certain situation. These types of questions only become important once you are already a few layers deep. 

'Why' questions tackle something more fundamental. They undermine the motivation or purpose of something. They often require critical thinking and engage emotional response, because essentially, everything we do is predominately based on some underlying emotional impulse. The emotional brain picks the destination (holiday, dream career, status, etc.) and the logical brain helps us get there. That is, we think first emotionally, then rationally. 

That is why we need to ask the emotional questions first, and why they are the most powerful. It is only when we have understood why we want something, that we can engage the logical brain and ask the 'what' and 'how' questions.

For example, I want to quite my job. Why? Because I dream of a life where my job enables me with more autonomy, freedom, challenge and contribution. That is the emotional aspect. 
The logical aspect then asks 'what will help me achieve this'? The answer may be starting my own business, or freelancing, or working part-time. This is step 1 level deep. We can ask a next level deep 'what' question, like what type of industry? Self-help? Web-design? Marketing? Then you ask a another level deep 'what' question, and so on. 

But you realise, that none of these follow-up questions would of come about if we didn't start with why

Kinda went a bit off tangent there, but I hope some of that was valuable :) 

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