left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: Are you asking the wrong questions?

Monday, December 14, 2009

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Are you asking the wrong questions?

Big QuestionsImage via Wikipedia

If you practice any kind of awareness training, you are aware of the power of questions. However, what you may not be aware of is that you may be asking the wrong questions - without you knowing it! The following excerpt from Dr. Neil Postman, the celebrated Chair of the Department of Culture and Communications at New York University, really illustrates this:

"A question, even of the simplest kind, is not, and never can be unbiased. The structure of any question is as devoid of neutrality as its content. The form of a question may ease our way or pose obstacles. Or, when even slightly altered, it may generate totally different answers, as in the case of the two priests who, being unsure if it was permissible to smoke and pray at the same time, wrote to the Pope for a definitive answer. One priest phrased the question 'Is it permissible to smoke while praying?' and was told it is not, since prayer should be the focus of one's whole attention; the other priest asked if it is permissible to pray while smoking and was told that it is, since it is always permissible to pray."

So what biases are you suffering from when you ask the questions you do? What beliefs are you reinforcing when you ask the questions you ask?

This by the way, is what we do in our courses. We question your questions to uncover the biases and beliefs that get in your way of having an extraordinary life.

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saraburns2000 said...

Great post for us teachers! In my last PLL course I became aware that I was asking questions which revealed what my students didn't know rather than what they did know. I'm reconsidering how to reframe this opportunity to assess learning. Thanks for the new example!