Dreamers often fail to achieve their dreams because they keep second guessing what they are doing. They ask questions like: “Is this a waste of time?” “Will it work?” “Why are the results so poor?” and so on.
As a result, they act half-heartedly and fail to finish what they have planned. They fail to discover whether their planned action would have worked or not. This article takes a look at whether questions are a help or a hindrance.
We often think too much and talk too much and sometimes we talk and ask questions because we are reluctant to act. We may need to copy Tarzan of the Apes. He used words sparingly but was always poised for action whether this meant diving in with a crocodile or facing up to the king of the jungle!
Football teams start questioning the referee when they are failing to win. Instead of working hard and concentrating on the game they spend all their energy complaining and harassing the match officials. Their failure to recover from their losing position is almost certain.
Some people may have given up jogging because of the questions raised when one of the great jogging gurus died young. Why bother to jog when you can die early just like the majority who spend their leisure time watching TV?
No one doubts that many people have fallen ill because of their own actions such as eating too much of the wrong food or because of their inactions such as failing to go for a daily walk or workout.
But some of the fittest men and women have suddenly succumbed to disease and died young. Does this mean that we should give up eating in a healthy way and stop going for daily walks? I think not but some think yes. Why bother to live a healthy lifestyle when you may die young anyway?
When I started the martial arts, after watching the Kung Fu series which featured David Carradine as a Shaolin monk, questioning the teacher was not a good idea.
If you ventured the opinion that a certain move might not work, the teacher would demonstrate how well it worked and guess who they demonstrated on: the student who had had the cheek to question their methods!
A less dictatorial teacher would just laugh at the question and the majority of the class would laugh with him. I was always one of the keenest questioners until I learned the painful lesson that it was wiser to keep my questions to myself.
We need to realize that questions can often be an excuse for not getting on with the hard work of training and that as you train you will learn the answers for yourself without wasting the time of the whole class.
There is much then to be said for taking massive action with maximum effort and keeping any questions for later. You will get much better at whatever you are doing and will find you can answer many of your own questions.
Instead of second guessing your copy writing tutor, try following his or her suggestions and see what happens. Instead of doubting your health adviser just do as they say and see how you feel after a few weeks.
On the other hand, some questions deserve an immediate answer and can lead to new and powerful developments.
In the martial arts world, people started to question whether some of the traditional techniques would work in a street fight situation.
I once asked a world renowned martial artist at a seminar in London why people would choose to put a lock on someone’s arm by lying on their back with one of their legs dangerously close to their opponent’s teeth. He and his associates laughed at my question but neither he nor they answered it.
I have since realized that I was right about the danger of getting bitten when using this lock. In addition, lying on your back in order to put on an arm lock is suicide in a street situation.
Even if you are not bitten in the leg, your arms and legs are tied up controlling your opponent and one of his friends or even a complete stranger could easily kick you in the head. You could also be run over by a car or bus!
Questions like the above and other questions like “Why train for hours to be able to kick someone in the head when it is so much easier to punch them instead?” have lead to the development of reality based self-defense systems which concentrate solely on what will work when you are faced by a psychopath who does not care about rules of engagement or whether you will live or die.
These systems make sense and could save the lives of those who do not have the time or determination to train for years in the more traditional systems. They could also save a lot of wasted time learning and practicing techniques that are impractical for the majority of people.
So then, questions do have value.
We are left with the question whether we should question what we are doing or not? The answer, as is often the case. is to compromise or reach a balance.
Questions have their uses but not when we are supposed to be taking action whether we have planned the action or are following the training of an instructor we respect.
Questions will still pop into our minds like: ‘Is this really necessary?’ ‘Do we have to do this?” Save these questions up until you have completed the suggested actions and then you will be in a good position to have an informed answer.
Ask questions at the start of any project and after it is over or if it goes drastically wrong but, if at all possible, avoid questioning what you are doing while you are still in the process of doing it.
Last week, one of my students told me cheerfully that he had just been offered a job in the Royal Navy which would lead to exceptionally high engineering and diving qualifications. The job was clearing mines.
I hated pouring cold water on his dreams but felt it was my duty to remind him of the potential drawbacks of his proposed career like getting killed or badly injured. One of my teachers had been blinded when disarming a land mine. This had ruined both his life and his family’s.
The time for serious questioning or counting the cost was now before my student signed up and found himself in cold, murky water with sharks nibbling at his flippers whilst he was faced with the terrifying task of disarming a strange mine!
Questioning at the right time has great value but try not to mix it in with your actions. Once action is started, focus on the end result and only stop for questions if things go disastrously wrong. Feeling tired and discouraged is not a good reason to start questioning what you are doing.
If you can’t resist asking the questions early on, at least keep going with your original plan until you receive some kind of an answer.