The Question Quest

May 28, 2024

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."
Albert Einstein

Our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, apes, are incredibly intelligent. They can use tools, solve problems, communicate, show empathy, plan for the future by storing food, understand the concept of mathematics and recognise themselves in mirrors.

In all the years of interacting with apes and learning how they communicate, how they learn, researchers in the fields of animal cognition and linguistics have noted that apes have never asked a question. Not even a toddler ape.

As we grow, we continue to ask questions because we are curious about the world. We like to know how things work, or why they don’t, when something will happen, where certain things are, what’s going on and who’s doing what.

Asking questions helps us gather new information or clarify things we’re unclear about. It’s also important for social interaction. Have you ever had an interaction with somebody who expressed absolutely no interest in your or others’ thoughts or experiences? It doesn’t feel good, does it? It feels so unsettling because, in general, we are hard-wired to want to be part of a tribe. Questions are a form of social exchange. Sometimes, they don’t even require particularly carefully thought-out answers. “How are you?” between colleagues as they share a lift generally involves no more than a “fine, thank you – and you?” But we understand that this question is part of the social glue that makes us human.

Tony Robbins, the influential life coach and motivational speaker, regularly emphasises the importance of the questions we ask ourselves. One of his famous quotes is:

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

In other words, the quality of our questions influences the quality of the answers we receive and, ultimately, the outcomes we achieve in life. By asking more insightful questions, we can uncover new perspectives, identify solutions, and take effective action toward our goals.

Just as young children ask questions that sometimes challenge our limiting beliefs and spark their imaginations, so should we.

In fact, young children are the wisest of souls because they have not yet become disconnected with their spiritual essence and have a pretty good idea of their inner fabulousness.

For as long as we’re on this planet, we’re on a quest to expand our knowledge and experience. A quest is an act of seeking something. And every question you ask is a mini quest for more knowledge, for more information. Each time we do this, we expand a little further.