1 min read

What People Really Want When They Ask Questions (55 sec read)

Change Your Life in Seconds: Vol. 2, No. 14

Hey, I’m Sim, and this is my Change Your Life in Seconds newsletter. Every week, striking reflections that take seconds to read but will help you change perspective on life.


10 Thought-Provoking Reflections

55 seconds to read, week-long meditations.

10. When I’m alone, I want people. When I’m around people, I want to be alone. Sometimes I want to be left alone, with people around me. tweet now
9. Alone, together. tweet now
8. A long commute to work is dreadful, but a short commute is a passage preparing your private self to turn into your work self. WFH takes away a crucial transition, melting your private self and your work self into an amorphous being that’s neither. tweet now

7. Many people are so embedded into the social lattice that they aim to drain any spirit and enthusiasm out of you without ever realizing it. tweet now
6. A good book. Something that, when read 10,000 times, can teach you 10,000 different things. tweet now
5. Most books could be a list. tweet now
4. Knowing is not understanding, understanding is not knowing. tweet now
3. Laughter born from paradox is a spark of enlightenment. tweet now
2. Sometimes, when someone asks a question, what they want is not an answer but just to be pointed in the right direction. tweet now
1. People only believe in answers they (think they) reach by themselves. tweet now

Principles and Takeaways

A few more seconds, deeper meditations.

People are often not looking for answers as much as they’re looking for someone pointing them in the right direction. When you can provide this guidance with clarity, those around you will feel more fulfilled than if all you do is to give them an answer. In this way, you offer them a chance to learn through what they (think they) reached by themselves. Of course, this applies more to requests about perplexing or emotional problems than questions like "Have you seen my keys?" (Though those also offer great chances.)

When someone asks you a question, they might not be looking for a straightforward answer. Sounds like a paradox? Laugh about it.

So before answering someone’s question, ask yourself: What do they really want from me? It will shape your answer as an effort to help them.


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