School of Life

Published in Features on 10 Mar 2015

I recently attend two courses at the School of Life. One was called ‘How to communicate better at work’ and the other ‘How to have better conversations’. Both classes were pretty theoretical (as the School of Life has arisen from making people aware of the philosophies we do or do not engage with in our lives). However, one key point I drew from each class was that good questions are key when communicating.

I recently read a document - The art of powerful questions - that phrases something I practice but don’t tend to articulate – ‘Why don’t most of us spend more of our time and energy on discovering and framing questions, when good questions are key to meaningful conversations? A potential answer posed in the document is that we are conditioned in Western culture to seek the ‘right answer’ rather than seek new possibilities or ask questions in the first place.

For those that sometimes need some help (and I include myself in that category), the School of Life has 100 questions to support conversations. The questions are broken down into several categories: love and relationships, sex, personality and emotions, self, family and relationships, culture and taste, work and money, travel, and life and death. Examples of questions include: Have you ever had a religious experience? If you were in charge of the Bill Gates foundation but could only spend the funds tackling one issue, what would it be? and do you have a technique for keeping calm?

So, trying to practice what I preach I’ll leave you with a question (and you can decide whether it's good or not). What drives you to seek answers and what would encourage you to question the status quo you experience more?