Nothing has such power to cause a complete cognitive breakthrough as that of a question. Questions ignite curiosity, curiosity creates ideas, and ideas emerge into innovation. Once an idea has taken over one’s brain it is nearly impossible to uproot. When a question is asked, there is usually an expectation for an answer to fit. Questions propel the mind to soar back into stored subjective memories and references. They can stimulate and set the mind on a search for any information, and further evidence in and around an individual to support expectations. However, before one can thoroughly experience this progression, and process of curiosity to innovation, we must first take some time to assess the power of asking the right type of questions.
Sometimes certain questions that are asked, either get in the way of finding other innovative solutions or even solving the right problem. Questions, either open-ended or closed-ended have their benefits and drawbacks. While closed-ended questions certainly serve their purpose of gathering factual information, there is not much room for challenge or development. Open-ended questions can be beneficial in allowing someone to think outside of him/herself, but if not asked properly, they can be seen as manipulative or foreign. Asking “what if” open-ended questions about the future may create a level of discomfort or pain since answers are often not obvious or known. On the other hand, asking such questions challenges current assumptions that are preventing one from seeing breakthrough solutions, and these questions can narrow down a specific problem. So, what is the “right” style of question to ask?
Envision a door that is ajar. This door has the potential to spring open from curious buildup and into a realm of energy, discovery, passion, possibility, and maybe even danger. However, it also has the potential to be closed or slammed shut. A door that is ajar should ultimately be opened or closed depending on the competence and virtue of what lies beyond the door. What does that say about the status of the door? Well, that it is only temporarily ajar.
Imagine the cognitive breakthrough that individuals could have if they were asked “ajar-ended” questions. Very few individuals can manage to stand on one side of an attractive door and just leave it cracked open. On the other hand, if it is not enticing enough or even enticing at all, he or she is very likely to close it and move on to the next ajar door. With asking the proper “ajar-ended” questions, an individual is essentially set up to explode with flourishing, clear, harnessed and focused energy. He or she is not simply left to the abyss of the stressful and sometimes manipulative “what if” questions. Nor are they left bored and barricaded with the mundane close-ended questions. Instead, through the use of “ajar-ended” questions, he or she is encouraged to turn inward, reflect, and then act powerfully within himself or herself. The ultimate purpose of an “ajar-ended” question is to set an individual off on their own creative journey to seek dynamic answers, directions, power, energy, and potential.