Finding Answers


 The Interrogation ‘Asking Questions the American Style’

  A scene from a lousy American movie

In a dark room, with a lamp over your head, you decide it is time you get some answers, enough fooling around, this mockery has to end.

You corner your suspect, you are certain he has the answers you need, who else would!!
You start asking your question ‘what is…?
No answer….
Gritting on your teeth, you raise your voice in a desperate attempt not to hear the sound of your own heart pounding hard in your chest, and you start to sweat!
I said, what is..?
Again, no answer!

With a lump in your throat and shaky knees you decide to close in, after all your own career is at stake.
You grab him from the shoulders rocking him all over and knocking him down (I understand that in American movies they may do more than just rocking and knocking down, but let’s just pretend that these are also horrible and savage 🙂)

Listen potato bag’ you actually sound a little desperate, ‘… I will turn your life into a living hell if you don’t give me some answers, you better spell it out now, what is it…’

As tired and confused as you are, with a faint voice he speaks ‘’I don’t know!’

This is not working, you say to yourself, you decide to play “Bad Cop, Good Cop” (the all so well known alternate strategy), you pick him up, straighten his clothes and shake off some dust, offer him a seat and ‘…gum?’ (Usually it is a cigarette in the movie but again let’s just assume that a gum is just what is needed in situations as these!)

You soften your voice ‘I know you don’t want to be here, trust me neither do I, you may think I am enjoying this but I am not (you sound sincere and he is starting to believe you), it doesn’t have to be this way, just imagine all the beautiful places we can go to, all the things we can do, all the fun and happiness we can have, the satisfaction and the sense of fulfilment, and it is all in your hands, but you really need to work with me here, just tell me what is it that I am supposed to do with my life, I am not asking for much, just a word or two, some directions perhaps, it is your job, isn’t it, buddy?”

For the hundredth times I do not know, I swear to you if I knew the answer I would spell it straight and flat, but I don’t know, I really don’t know!’

With one last blow you knock him off the chair ‘You useless good for nothing bag of beans’ and you turn your back and walk away with ‘This is not over’.
In a room just next door with a huge terrace overlooking a wonderland kind of scenery, some men are sitting together sipping coffee and enjoying some fancy ‘GUM’.

They are having an animated chat in a foreign language!
‘Do you think he will go back in?’ One asks with an amusing look in his eyes.
‘You bet’ answers another, ‘he always does!’
‘Oh, God bless him, he is a persistent little thing’
‘Do you think he may ever come in here?’
No way, he doesn’t even know we exist!!!’
Just for the sake of a good argument, what do you think he is supposed to do with his life?’
‘Certainly not a cop!’ and the whole group burst into a loud laugh.

Well, I know he loves children, so something that has to do with children, I’d say’ The knowledgeable man of the group says.
‘Yes, he should write movies for little children, he has an incredible imagination and a very strong sense of plotting’ The leader of the group adds.
‘Indeed, he is very talented in this regard and always had a passion for writing, I always thought he will be another Walt Disney’ Says the shrewdest.
‘Totally’ They all agree.
Oh, I get the shiver just imagining how my life would be like if he knew, my life is much easier this way.’ The smartest of the group added lazily, leaning back in his chair.

They all turned their heads away appreciating the beautiful scenery and enjoying their fancy GUM!!!!!
The End
Now you may think it is only an ill written scene from an ill plotted movie, but you will be dead wrong!!

This is exactly what you have been doing day in and day out!
Some people (I used to be one of them) are in the habit of banging their heads against the wall. They keep asking themselves similar questions without getting an answer. They start doubting their self-worth; thinking they may not be smart enough, yet they don’t stop until they get a headache.
Then they start banging their heads all over again!

Here is the problem.
You are asking the wrong part of your brain, the wrong questions, in the wrong order, with the wrong state of mind!!!
When you ask a direct question, the part of your brain that is quick to answer is the one that helps you find solutions to mathematical problems. The one that knows that (2) is the answer for (what is 1+1) question. This part does not have answers to your greatest questions. The answers are somewhere else that does not even bother to pay attention to direct questions!!!!!

Now, I am not saying this part is worthless, or unable to help you, quite the opposite.
Being the first part of your brain to pay attention and the quickest to obey your orders, this part will help you set a methodology for finding the desired answers, and it is the part that you will use to collect, organize and categorize the required data. Again, very mathematically.

The Methodology

In any scientific research, you aim to answer a big question.
But you have to have a methodology to help you in your research; otherwise you won’t have a clear direction for your line of thinking.
You should use an appropriate approach, some ‘Given’ (The Input) and some ‘Conditions’ that will govern the outcome you desire.
– Question
– Approach
– Given (Input)
– Conditions to govern the outcome

Not having a methodology would be the classical condition of banging your head against the wall!
If you are asking wrong questions, in the wrong order, to the wrong entity, with no clear approach or line of thinking, with no start off base, or a clear idea of what the outcome should look like, and in a very bad mood, then good luck to you!!
First thing first
Being in a positive mental state is extremely important if you wish to find some answers.
The Limbic System- your emotional brain- is the part of your brain responsible for hiding a lot of the valuable information that you are looking for; along with its Amygdale (the small part that regulates your emotions and acts as an alarm button) act as powerful guards to the secret door of your deepest mind. To be able to unlock this door, you have to wait until the guards doze off!

If you feel down, anxious, worried, troubled, طهئان مخنوء مضايق…etc or any other negative emotion, it only indicates that the guards are wide awake and you cannot move any closer!!
(Please check ‘Meditation in Islam’ for effective ways to deactivate your amygdale and calming down your emotional brain, and how it is essential for more ‘clarity of thought’ by maximizing the consumption of energy by the neo-cortex!)
If you want to find answers, you truly need to calm yourself down before you even start thinking!!

Application (Ask and you shall receive)

1-The Question (Questions Are the Answers)
The questions are the answers indeed. ‘How’ we ask the question really determines the answer we get, the way we ask is the way to the answer!

I won’t go into details, but this is simply how our mind works, it responds to the main keyword in the question instead of the whole content, and tends to look for the answers accordingly. So you may mislead it to look in a place where the answer is less likely to be found!
Cornering the mind usually generates an ‘I don’t know’ response (As in the lousy scene above :))

Also, there has to be a logical ordering for the questions, you unfold the answer to a question only by using the answer to a previous question as its ‘Given’.
Sequence is important if you are trying to answer questions around ‘Life Purpose’, ‘Mission’, ‘Goals’ and ‘Vision’.

I have clients who actually try to find answers to these questions by asking them all at once, not knowing that the brain will actually use the answer to one of them to generate an answer for the other.

The logical order of thinking:
– You have to know your ‘Life Purpose’ first.
– Then you create a ‘Vision’ around it.
– Resolve your ‘Mission’.
– Then you set relevant, specific and clear ‘Goals’.
Not following this order would be a meaningless thinking process!!

2- The Approach
The approach is automatically chosen according to the questions you are asking.
It is about where you choose to put your attention on. It is a list of all what you wish to end up with, instead of run away from.

If you are in the habit of asking wrong questions, you are also utilizing an ill approach that may actually move you away from the answer rather than take you straight to it.
Imagine going shopping with a list of all the things you don’t want to buy!!

3- The Given (Resources; within as well as without)
This is actually a good one, and I am often amused by how it is usually overlooked!
And this is where you must actually launch the whole process, it is your start line, and you won’t be able to begin unless you have collected all the data needed.

In the case of our big question here, the ‘Given’ would be your core talent, your strengths and skills, your passion, the things that move you to act, what ignites the fire within you, your preferences and personal inclinations,….etc The list can go on and on but I am sure you got the idea.

In terms of the ‘Given’, I have noticed that there are three kinds of people;
-Those who don’t know their ‘Given’ altogether!
-Those who are aware of them but don’t know they are the ‘Given’ in this particular thinking process or how they are relevant or where they might fit in, in the process.
-And finally, those who are aware they fit in, but do not actually know how to use them effectively in the process. They do not introduce them correctly to the brain as the start off base to work on and begin thinking accordingly.
Amusing, huh?
 (Note: my Tamkeen Strategy helps you get clear about your own resources and will show you which data you need to collect first!)

4-The Conditions that govern the outcome
In this case these conditions would evolve around your values, and the outcome you are looking for should necessarily be in line with them. Otherwise, you may end up with an outcome that may be a cause of inner conflict and imbalance.

Your values reflect your individual unique essence and they move you to act or react, whether you are conscious about them or not, (Of course it is always more useful to consciously know about them!)
The outcome will be far more compelling if linked to your values, and you will be more able to handle the objections that may arise from any limiting beliefs you may have, and actually motivate you to keep going.

Before you even start your thinking process, you need to get clear about your core values, and identify the different kind of values you hold (Absolute, Relative or Means), and notice where might be a conflict and try to work to achieve Core Alignment!

Having all of that settled and sorted out, you are truly ready to start THINKING!