Mark and Emily agreed to meet for dinner at a restaurant at a particular time on a particular day. Both arrived at the right time, on the right day, but at the wrong restaurant. Each presumed that the "agreed upon" meeting place was the same restaurant location, but it wasn't and they were aggravated with each other for showing up at the wrong place.
Debra and Skylar were working together on a project. When they came to a crucial stage of the project, they realized that an important task had not been completed. Both thought that the other one had responsibility for handling the assignment. Their erroneous assumptions cost them time and delayed their project. It also caused unnecessary conflict.
Zoie's son, 16-year-old son Ethan, was late getting home from a party. Zoie was very angry with him because she was afraid that something disastrous had occurred. She began yelling at him immediately before he was able to explain why he was late. She rebuffed his attempts to explain and ordered him to go to his room. The next morning she read in the newspaper about her son's heroic actions of saving a child who had been a car accident. He was late getting home because he was helping a family in need.
The moral of these stories... Whenever we fail to ask for information that will confirm our understanding or when we presume to know what another person is thinking or doing, we open ourselves up to erroneous thoughts and actions, which can lead to unnecessary conflict. If we develop the habit of asking for additional information, we may enjoy better relationships and a more peaceful existence.
The habit of asking at least three more questions than you think is necessary may be a valuable one. In fact, if we adopt the "who, what, when, where, why and how" method of questions, we can be assured of making better decisions and taking right actions. It takes time, but so does correcting undesired outcomes.
I must confess that if I had applied the "ask more questions" methods recently, I would have saved myself some time and frustration. What would have happened if the people in the above scenarios had applied it as well? How different would the outcomes have been for each of them?
"I Make Good Decisions and Take Right Actions because I Take the Time to Ask Questions and to Listen to the Answers."
By Mary Rau-Foster
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