Taking Others beliefs as your own

It takes courage to admit we don’t know the answers to certain questions. It takes even more courage to admit we don’t even know the right questions. But if we ask the wrong question we are guaranteed to get the wrong answer.

Ponder this for a moment: Think of a current problem you are facing. How did you come to define this problem? Did it magically appear in front of you with no influence from outside forces? Or were you heavily influenced by the media, or your family, or friends, or your employer, or your teacher, or multiple sources?

Do you have time to analyze the problem, really analyze it? Or are you relying on what other people are saying without doing your own research? And if you have done your own research have you looked at all sides of the question? Or just the side that bothers you most?

Looking at all sides of a question allows a problem to be solved in various ways. Deeper questioning allows for the most effective answer. Most of us don’t have the time, inclination, or self-discipline to research and analyze questions the way they should be deciphered. We simply pick which story sounds most plausible to our belief system and agree with what others are saying, adapting their words as our stance.

I challenge you to take one problem in your life and look at it from all sides. For a moment, set aside your emotions, beliefs, and pre-conceived notions. Ask a question related to the problem, gather information from various sources, ask another question, gather more information if needed, continue asking and gathering until you get to an answer that you believe is the correct one. Going five “why’s” deep is an effective way to get to the root cause of a problem

Refuse to accept what other people say as your truth. Research, analyze, ask, repeat. Until you have an answer that is your own. If it aligns with your original position that’s okay, at least you know it to be true for you. But you may find that you come up with a completely new position or approach.

In order to get to the root of a big problem you will need courage to face your own truth. Asking and answering the right questions can be unsettling and frightening as you stare the root cause of a problem in the eye. Sometimes we find it’s our own eye we are staring into. Sometimes it’s the eye of a family member or close friend. Sometimes it’s the eye of the dregs of society.

But would you rather be fighting the real problem by answering the right questions or would you rather continue boxing with shadows?

E.A. Fussell


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