The last time I wrote my blog it was a little tongue in cheek regarding our parenting experience suggesting it is a common experience to every parent. The child’s propensity to ask the eternal question of “why”, “why” o for a respite from “why’s” some times, this question has had parents thinking for all time. I began in this way only to present to you the question that we should not lose or perhaps better said, an attitude we should not lose that of asking questions to stay as a continual learner and a growing learner.
Before anyone contacts me and takes up the issues of Questions & Questioning, I am not asking you to become a “Questioning person”. There is a hugely different approach to having a learning attitude, to becoming a person who is constantly learning, thriving on gleaning new insights and experiences, different to someone who is just plainly questioning everything.
We live in a world, certainly in the UK with cynicism all around, at present it is at its height, I am finding more and more as we live in a world of growing loss of TRUST. Why, with the great erosion of trust in old institutions, corners of our society that have always been there such as banks, health services, church denominations and every other institution, it produces a person to ask “…who can we trust? It is fundamentally producing a greater questioning and unfortunately it is reproducing a growing lack of trust in our society with the possibility of creating even bigger cynics?
Questioning constantly unfortunately brings about destructive elements, it can bring momentum to a full-stop, bind and prevent initiatives even before they are out of the starting blocks. Questioning could keep you second-guessing, wondering and grasping for a way forward, it makes you wonder sometimes if anything is acceptable. Be careful of questioning, it can even be the means for some people to take control or to establish higher ground and win control or dictate an environment just by continually questioning every one and everything, meet people like this?
Developing a learning way of life on the other hand is a must, discover a way of asking questions without being questioning. Questions must be formed, must be asked in an attitude of learning in-oder to progress. In the light of this I will continue in listing questions, adding to the 3 already asked in my last blog, I trust they become not only an interesting reading but points of learning for each one of us.
Do I empower and take people to a higher place?
Here is a wonderful line “my success is determined by the seeds I sow, not the harvest I reap”, that is, do I sow seeds into others to empower them, seeds that will continue and produce a harvest in their lives? Can I make my life’s aim to add value to others so that others might add value to an ever-expanding circle of more people. One of the challenges for all who are influencers/leaders is to add value to people and steer away from adding value to themselves. The servant leadership style of Jesus certainly added value to other people. In Eph 4:11 cf. we are told that the living ministries of the body of Christ, the church, should be equipping others, that is adding value to others rather than amassing to themselves. In the history of movements in our world one of the greatest orators of one movement in regard to issues of colour and race was Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Who said it well “life’s most important urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”
- This question provokes my understanding and my given-ness to mission
Do I stop and think?
Take time to think, one of the greatest lacks I’m told in all industry and in regard to developing any initiative is the lack of thinking that is done. Everything is action, doing, its pragmatic to really advance we need thinking along side doing. This is not a day-dreaming exercise I am highlighting it is taking time to think, to consider the plan to work a way through. I read once “a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk”, its taking time to think. Thinking will help you and I to live life more purposefully, to take hold of life that sometimes just constantly comes at you and not allow those circumstances to dictate, not allowing the expectation of others to determine, or allowing status quo to dominate having you to conform. Take up the pen of your own life and author your own life, write on the page of heart and motive how by first clearing your diary and taking time to think.
- This question provokes influencing/leadership
Who do I give my time to?
You cannot deny that the crowd you run with, the people you associate with will have a major influence on your perception, and of course your actions. People can even trace back their achievements or failures to the crowd they run with, that is the people they connect to. This is not an exercise on who to blame but we can certain trace failures and achievements to the relationships we have in our lives. Therefore make deliberate choices with who you spend your time with, be selected with whom you join to on your journey of life especially if you have influence or direct and lead anything. Choose companions that are those with a commitment to personal growth, those with potential for the now and future, people who will pour themselves out from others and carry a healthy attitude. Making a difference will always come down to the choice of relationships as its “…as every joint supplies…” growth occurs scripture says.
- This is a question of relationship
Do I know your strength and therefore stay in your strength area?
I’ve had so many people pass comment about working on their weaknesses while they take no notice or even disregard their strengths, this has become part of management training even working on your weaknesses. However effective people are diligently in developing their strengths. To be effective each one of us have to learn to partner with others, the reason for your weakness is to find other people to walk with. Learn to ask for assistance to delegate so that you can focus on that which only what you can offer to every environment. Its enabling you to offer your uniqueness while allowing others to offer their uniqueness to you. It’s not necessary for anyone of us to do all the work and certainly not to have an all-knowing attitude, it’s such a disappointment to find people who think they know it all our goal must be in staying effective while staying in our strength area then need others around us to add their strengths!
- This question brings to mind how effective I am
Am I caring for today?
The secret of achieving anything is determining what is required today, the daily schedule “I chose” the everyday focus I have. Realizing if i do not focus on today my time will be lost and will flitter away. Most people have heard or have been taught about writing a to-do list which is good and necessary, however I think a more powerful list which needs a an understanding is a simply action of writing a “not-to-do list”. A list that keeps you away from the little things that drain your time, your thinking and energy. This is not a blog to outline a “not-to-do list” may be it should appear in another blog but for now its sufficient just to pass comment. Asking this question are my daily routines, habits of life steering me towards a goal or simply filtering away my time. Psalm 90 tells us to “…number our days…”, the writer of the Psalm firstly encourages to realize the time is fleeting followed by its time to be serious about making each day count.
- This is an achieving and
Do I develop others?
“The ultimate test for a leader is not whether he or she makes smart decisions and takes decisive action, but whether he or she teaches others to be leaders and builds up a people who can sustain an advance the goal they set when they are not around. True leadership strives to create successors who will go beyond them”
- This makes you consider legacy
Am I investing myself?
In traveling several continents involving in different organizations, church families etc., wherever people are throw together with a purpose to achieve I have noted common characteristics in life-long learners. I believe this final question is hugely important and will be the foundation to all the others, it’s a question on personal growth. Listed is a simple list of my findings asking a question of each of us to look inside ourselves and make an investment to your own growth and learning.
Life-long learners are:
- People who possess a teachable attitude
- People investing in growth orientated resources and relationships
- People capture what they learn by applying the knowledge gained
- People who are reflective
- People who turn experience into insight
- People who pass on to others
- People who are willing to choose to leave their comfort zone
- People who develop personal growth
Finally develop the art of questions and help others to ask questions of themselves and their environment with an aim to find a learning attitude, enlarging this attitude, developing and being inspired through your learning attitude.