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Learn by Asking

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Learn by Asking

Questions to get ahead in life.
Andy  Andrews
Andy Andrews More by this author
Sep 30, 2009 at 10:00 AM

When I was researching the key principles for my life I asked a variety of celebrities, politicians, and professionals some key questions to help find out what has made them successful. I chose questions that helped me see them in different ways. Being a firm believer that the quality of our answers is determined by the quality of our questions, I have used these opportunities to ask what I believe are some great ones. I wanted to ask questions that would either confirm what I already knew or lead me to a broader definition of the truth. I asked questions like:

  • What is the greatest disappointment in your life and how did you overcome it?
  • What’s the most important decision you’ve ever made in your life?
  • What’s the worst decision you’ve ever made in your life?
  • If you were to give an 18-year-old one specific piece of wisdom, what would it be?

Whenever you get the opportunity to talk to a successful person, one who has overcome adversity and overwhelming odds, be sure to have some questions in mind the answers to which will provide you with an education.

When I asked Jimmy Dean how he defined success, he wrote back, saying that success and wealth is a state of mind:

My grandfather, W. J. Taylor, was the most successful and wealthy man I ever knew, and I doubt seriously that he ever made more than $10,000 in any given year in his life. But he was the best farmer in Hale County, Texas. He knew that. He had the straightest fences, the cleanest end-rows. He had the neatest barn and the neatest house. He raised nine kids, he had a great relationship with the man upstairs and a wonderful inner peace. To me, this is success and wealth.

I asked him what the keys were to his success. One of them was hard work to which he commented:

I have no use for anyone who can help themselves and does not. . . . My greatest fear is that with all our federal aid, state aid, city aid, county aids, etc., that they’re going to be many wonderfully talented people who will never be forced to find out what their talent is.

I submit to you that one of the greatest resources for getting ahead in life is people. Talk to people who have been through the muck and come out on the other side. Ask them how they handled adversity, how they overcame, what they value most. It is questions like these that will lead to the best tools to succeed.

About Author
Andy  Andrews
Hailed by The New York Times as someone who has “quietly become one of the most influential people in America,” Andy Andrews is a best-selling novelist and in-demand speaker for some of the world’s largest organizations. The Traveler’s Gift, a featur Continue reading