A subject that I, that is Alastair Gill, find more and more interesting.

The arrangement and choice of words used to inform or influence the understanding of something. Slight adjustment have the power to tilt the meaning of a statement leading to a different interpretation of an issue.


Over time I shall be adding short articles about subjects and issues that interest me.



Ask the Right Question - and get the right answer

Experiences accumulate as one meanders through life. If lucky and open minded, insights float to the surface. Insights become guiding lights or litmus tests for future decisions and thoughts. Tricks for life. One of these tricks I’ve called “Ask the Right Question”. It has a caveat. The commendation for this trick is that if you ask the right question then you will get the right answer. That is the reward.

So what do I mean by this ?

It is an “approach” to situations.

Imagine submitting oneself to hospital for a major operation. A normal question to ask the surgeon would be whether “it” will be successful. The reply may well be “yes”. The surgeon will be selective as to what criteria to use to assess success or otherwise. A limited list of criteria. The patient may have different considerations from those the surgeon has. For instance, what will be the recovery period and what will be the compromises to life style both in the short term and the long term ?

So, in asking the right question we receive an answer that is more “useful” to us. Usually further questions need to be asked in order to assemble a collection of information that will actually be useful and helpful in arriving at appropriate decisions.

One question should lead to another. For instance, “what do you mean by successful ?”, “are there any risks and what is the probability of them arising ?”, “what experience does the surgeon have ?”, “what support, technical and knowledge will the surgeon have ?”, and “does the surgeon have a vested interest in encouraging the patient to proceed and if so what is it ?”. So the list of questions grow. The skill comes in assessing which questions will be most useful to the patient. The patient has also to ask themselves internal questions, such as “what is not being said ?”, “why is something being said in a particular way ?”.

Skill is needed to use this trick in life. A skill which grows with practice. The essential need is to use ones imagination, informed by experience, to ask efficient, relevant, focussed questions whose answers will provide an accumulation of useful information. This focussed information can then help one to arrive at making the most beneficial decisions. An invaluable skill when applied to conversations and decision making.