I read somewhere that the Dutch term for “posing a question” is etymologically related to “plowing a furrow”. You dig a furrow to plant a seed: a new idea, a fresh perspective. It’s an image that’s stuck with me.
We – okay, I – tend to be bent on telling others what we think we know. So asking a question can seem like a detour. But working the soil of ideas can provide a chance to break out of fixed ways of thinking – for yourself and others.
Not long ago, I was talking with a friend about combining my job at Blendle, my book, and spending time with my one-year-old daughter. I went through what I was facing and everything I was considering. When I finished, my friend asked, “If you want to do all this, why don’t you try to do your work for Blendle in even fewer hours?”
Turns out that question was just the nudge I needed for a light bulb moment.
I didn’t need to cut my hours. I didn’t need to find new ways to juggle my responsibilities. A much more drastic decision was necessary: I needed to choose.
I’d been going around in circles on the issue, and the question got me unstuck. Questions can do that. Had my friend just boldly pointed me towards this logical next step, it probably wouldn’t have had the same effect.