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36 Quotes From Successful People About The Wisdom In Asking Questions

36 Quotes From Successful People About The Wisdom In Asking Questions

I was 7 years old when my grandfather died. That was the first time in my short life that I had come into contact with death. The questions came swirling in – what does death mean? Where did my grandfather go? His body’s still here, so why wasn’t he? What’s it like “up there” without a body? Where is “up there?” These were big questions for a small mind.

Over the years, I read a lot, wrote in my journal a lot – asked questions a lot. Is God real? Why do bad things happen to good people? Am I fated to a certain destiny or do I truly have free will to make my own choices in life?

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Strangely enough, I still don’t have solid answers for any of those questions, but what I’ve realized is that as I grow older, and as I’m hopefully getting wiser, my answers seem to change and get wiser too; I’m realizing that it’s more important to ask a question than to rush to answer it.

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Here are 36 wise souls who agree there’s wisdom in asking questions!

  1. “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Eugene Ionesco
  2. “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” – Euripedes
    lh1
    • “The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.” – Peter Abelard
    • “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” -Joseph Campbell
    • “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing. – Socrates
      Ask Questions -Socrates
      • “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee
      • “[…] The art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.” – Georg Cantor
      • “I questioned God’s silence. I don’t have an answer for that. Does it mean that I stopped having faith? No, I have faith, but I question it.” Elie Wiesel
      • “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settling a question without debating it.” – Joseph Joubert
      • “The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.” – Sylvia Earle
      • “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” – Albert Einstein
      • “I think that probably the most important thing about our education was that it taught us to question even those things we thought we knew.” – Thabo Mbeki
      • “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon
      • “Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.” – Ernest Gaines
        Ask Questions -Ernest Gains
        • “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson
        • “Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them.” – Marilyn French
        • “The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering.” – David Whyte
        • “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” – Lloyd Alexander
        • “My investment of time, as an educator, in my judgment, is best served teaching people how to think about the world around them. Teach them how to pose a question. How to judge whether one thing is true versus the other.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
        • He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” – Voltaire
        • “Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.” – Paul Tillich
        • “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” – Ruby Dee
          Ask Questions -Ruby Dee
          • “In all my affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell
          • “If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” – W. Edwards Deming
          • “That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.” – Jacob Bronowski
          • “A wise man’s question contains half the answer.” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol
            Ask Questions -Solomon Ibn Gabriol
            • “Every man ought to be inquisitive through every hour of his great adventure down to the day when he shall no longer cast a shadow in the sun. For if he dies without a question in his heart, what excuse is there for his continuance?” – Frank Moore Colby
            • “We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell.” – James Stephens
            • “Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it.” – Max Planck
            • “Learn avidly. Question repeatedly what you have learned. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.” – Edward Cocker
            • “A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.” – John Ciardi
            • “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” – E. E. Cummings
            • “Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.” – Tennessee Williams
            • “We want to answer this classical question, who am I? So I think that most of our works are for art, or whatever we do, including science or religion, tried to answer that question.” – Paulo Coelho
            • “It is not enough for me to ask the question; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?” – Abraham Joshua-Heschel

            And my personal favorite:

            36. “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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            Ask Questions -Rilke

              Featured photo credit: Saiisha via NestInTheForest.com

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              Last Updated on March 21, 2019

              11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

              11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

              Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

              You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

              But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

              To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

              It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

              “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

              The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

              In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

              Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

              1. Start Small

              The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

              Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

              Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

              Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

              Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

              Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

              It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

              Do less today to do more in a year.

              2. Stay Small

              There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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              But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

              If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

              When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

              I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

              Why?

              Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

              The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

              Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

              3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

              No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

              There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

              What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

              Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

              This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

              This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

              4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

              When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

              There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

              Peter Drucker said,

              “What you track is what you do.”

              So track it to do it — it really helps.

              But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

              5. Measure Once, Do Twice

              Peter Drucker also said,

              “What you measure is what you improve.”

              So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

              For reading, it’s 20 pages.
              For writing, it’s 500 words.
              For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
              For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

              Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

              6. All Days Make a Difference

              Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

              Will two? They won’t.

              Will three? They won’t.

              Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

              What happened? Which one made you fit?

              The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

              No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

              7. They Are Never Fully Automated

              Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

              But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

              What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

              It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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              The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

              It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

              It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

              8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

              Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

              Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

              When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

              The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

              Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

              9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

              The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

              Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

              You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

              But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

              So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

              If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

              This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

              The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

              Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

              10. Punish Yourself

              Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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              I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

              It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

              You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

              No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

              The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

              But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

              11. Reward Yourself

              When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

              Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

              The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

              After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

              If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

              Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

              If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

              In the End, It Matters

              What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

              When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

              And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

              “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

              Keep going.

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              More Resources to Help You Build Habits

              Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
              [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
              [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
              [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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