Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Simple Question

I love questions.

I even love to be questioned.

Questioning, in one form or another, has gotten me everywhere. The worst times in my life, both personally and professionally, were when I bought the party line and acted accordingly. At times that party line, the way we do things around here, came down from my parents who really had planned out my entire personal and career track at the time of my birth. It also came from corporate culture that said women are sales assistants working an hourly wage, and men get to be salesmen pulling in hefty commissions. It came from culture that said this is the role the woman plays in marriage and this is the role the man plays. At every juncture, I found my way out by asking one simple question, with bravado and sincerity, why not?

I have found why not to be the single most useful way to start the process of seeing things from a different perspective. What the simple question of why not does is to help me find the place where I have unconsciously made assumptions that need to be re-considered. When I slow down long enough to ask why not, my thinking become expansive, imaginative, free. When I am following the path of unacknowledged assumptions, I feel limited and confined.

How you ask why not makes a difference. It can't be asked in the spirit of bucking authority. One must ask in the spirit of understanding that this behavior is your habit or your current comfort level, but what would it be like to do things differently. One should ask why not with the intention of discovery and curiosity. One must ask in the spirit of granting permission to yourself and to others to dream, to create the future that you desire. Why not?

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