What Happens When We Don’t Ask?

We are drawn in by the allure of novelty. A simple, simple question seems so right that it seems unanswerable and unspeakable. The temptation can be to get away from that question and go back to the familiar comfortable answers. But, if that’s the only way we will be inspired to seek out the answers to our questions, we might never know anything new. And that’s not good for our mental health.

If we are constantly asking ourselves the same questions, they get repetitive. We think, “Oh, I’ve never asked this before, what will be so exciting that it will make me want to look it up?” But if we don’t ask in the first place, the answer we’ll get is “no one cares.” This is a big problem. We spend the rest of our lives getting our ass handed to us. I’m not sure how old I was when I stopped asking anything new but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t too young or old.

I’m not saying that asking questions and thinking things are bad. I’ve asked and thought things. I’ll continue to do so because every time I do so I learn something new. I’d be a hypocrite if I said there is nothing in all the world that is important or that is interesting or that is worthwhile. There is a reason why we need questions. A lot of the things we need to know and feel comfortable with are things that we are going to wonder about for many, many years. Even if we know about those things, they can be difficult things to process and process slowly.

I’d like to do a little thought experiment. I’d ask myself for the last thirty years, what are the most important things in my life. I don’t know, but I’m going to pretend I do and I’m going to pick the questions I’ll use and give them to you. And you can pick your own.

“Why is this so important to me?” “Why am I the person I am and the person I’m becoming?” “Why do I need to do this now?” “Why must I do this?” “Where does this come from?” “What do these things mean to me?” “What does it mean to me?” “What makes me tick, and why do I keep doing things that are no good with all that I’ve got?” “What will it mean to me if I do X?” “What are my priorities?” “What are the consequences of those priorities?”

We are all drawn to new ways of thinking. We like what is new. And in order for it to become “new” – that is, for it to become something that we want to learn more about and become something that we are interested in – we have to ask some questions and take action to get to a place of thinking we don’t like. Maybe that’s something that we have to start doing for our own mental health first and then apply to other people who we come across who might give us the same questions.

What do you all think? What do you do when you hear someone asking the same questions over and over again? I’d love to hear it.