I don’t know about you, but I am amazed when I learn new things in familiar territory. Does this ever happen to you? You’ve been around it forever, but out of the blue you learn something new. Or, something you were sure of is nothing like you thought it was?

I was at work today having conversations. It is a lot of what I do. I talk to people. I find out what is going on. I help where I am able. In one conversation, I was asking a set of questions about one topic and discovered something about another topic I didn’t expect. The questions took me somewhere I didn’t expect to go. It was like the tumblers of lock fell into place and sense started emerging. Where confusion had existed before, understanding started to grow.

I had been around the information for a long time. I thought I understood the process. It turns out I was missing some key points. I think that is what happens when we are too close to a problem for too long. It is very easy to lose our objectivity and lose our ability to see all of the details. We instinctively know there is a forest in front of us, but all we can see are the trees.

How many times does this happen to me and I don’t realize? What other areas of my life am I close to an epiphany, but don’t even know it? How do I get the barriers out of the way?

I think the answer lies in asking questions, and being willing to go wherever the answers lead you. In today’s example, I was asking one set of questions and asked for a concrete example to what my interviewee was trying to explain. In his explanation I found details I didn’t even know I needed. It was an enlightening experience.

Questions drive us forward. Questions are what keep us from being complacent. Questions can lead to progress. We just have to be ready when the answers aren’t what we expect.

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