NEVER stop asking a lot of questions

would be the advice I would give to my 20-year-old self.

I am going to explore this awesome question that I just heard today.  For about one minute as the other half was flipping through the channels, like he's warming up for that imaginary battlefield game he likes to play.  Flex those fingers and press those thumbs to the beat of your favorite song.  


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What advice would you give your 20 year old self? 


I can grapple with myself 
as much as I'd like and that would be the thing that I would tell my 20YOS (abbreviation for 20 year old self), never stop asking a lot of questions.  It is part of the wisdom I can say that I have 30 odd years later.  The difference between good and great is the ability to ask insightful questions.   The other one is to believe in PEOPLE.   I'd like to share my own discovery that becomes a tidy parcel within wisdom.

The person who comes to mind?
I think of Barbara Walters.  I think most, if not all of the greats, emulated Barbara Walters who is the benchmark of interviewing PEOPLE everywhere.  Carve away the personas, politicians, musicians, artists, directors, entrepreneurs, athletes and we all end up the same:  we're PEOPLE.  All of us.  Shed the religion, color, race, country, city, rural, occupations, preoccupations, interests, bias, knowledge, truths, sovereignty.  You.  One of the PEOPLE.  No better than the next, exactly the same.


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What makes us different, 
as in our DNA, is our characteristics that make up our personality which evolve by our traits.    What your traits are are steered by you based on the attention you may give it.  If you want to go into the gutter (PORN, RACISM, VIOLENCE) it is because you didn't keep that trait at bay, you continued to explore it, specify an interest level, and even perhaps it evolves into a really bad thing.  You are untrustworthy, not loyal, lean towards meanness, belittle, shuck others aside ... regardless of method.  

I would tell my 2YOS to stray away from those who want to drag you into a deep dark hole with them.  Don't feel sorry for them, as you may ought to do.  Don't even acknowledge them.  Not the slightest hook to snag your attention, however briefly.



These three traits I would suggest are worth considering honing in on:


  • Ask a lot of questions, every time, every situation, every where.  Once you establish it firmly as part of the core of who you are, you will continue to expand and ask even greater questions.  Others may even be amazed at the quickness and sharpness to ask a question just as it is entering others' radar.  It blips, and then before processing, be the person who asks a question that captures what everyone could be barely registering, never mind thinking.  It can return at a later time.  Removed from the message other than it appearing like a puff of smoke:  that was a great question because it required an answer that was more in depth and detailed.
  • Secondly, be aware of people.  Be open to new people, different people, in different situations, different backgrounds (whether economic, intellect or standing).  Find a way out of the aversion to odor, or behavior that is distracting, so as to be able to hear them.    I could have more easily suggested to pay closer attention or just simply listen but I didn't.  To make a point.  
  • Be your own person or personality.  Stick to your values, don't let anyone intimidate you, bully you, make you feel inferior in any way.  Gender is even stripped away so that you can be the person from the inside out.  Starting on the inside first.  Completing the outside is the easy part.  Understand your style or karma or aura you exude.  Don't try to hold back or allow others to censor you.  Any person [ whether friend, family, employer or place ] who wants to encourage you will not make you feel like you should hold back nor be told to be quiet [ whether written or vocal ].  


Don't let anyone try to squash that personality and enthusiasm for the continuous journey you are on.  

You won't be able to sell anything.  Your company, your case, your qualifications, your institution, your cause, your view, your anything will not be able to sell anything unless you can learn how to ask the right questions.

For example.  You are the CEO of your company and you are rubbing elbows with your colleagues and staff while selling your company's product or service.  It is pretty hard not to.  Especially since you probably got the job based on your charisma, leadership essence, confidence, vision.  

I wrote a while ago ..... I'll have to look it back up and link it here ] INSERT LINK [ ... about not working IN the business but work ON the business if you are its OWNER< CEO<PRESIDENT.  Well it is not exclusive, but the point is for anyone who has to sell anything.

If you are a sales representative >> you NEED to work on YOUR business!
What is that business?  We'll get to that later on.

In order to sell anything to anyone, you have to be able to ask great questions.  Those great questions will catapult you at the center of the PERSON [ views, criteria, influence, bias, desires, needs, headaches ].  By understanding the PERSON in front of you:  your parent as you ask for an increase in the university fund;  the sales rep who is asking his potential customer for the order; the CEO who is asking the Board for something to be approved.

If you've asked the right questions, it will magically be staring right at you.  The OASIS of sold!   When you can formulate, practice, evaluate a series of questions to ask that first important first impression meeting, to ask of your audience, hopefully of one as it is far easier.  [ You may need to assess why you are meeting in front of a group ... that's a red flag.  It usually means that the audience doesn't have enough confidence in themselves or have become so rigid that they've lost the ability of sensing instinct, gut feeling, seeing expression.



Five Questions?
Come up with a list of five questions that you want to ask your next prospect [remember, that prospect does not have to be a SALES call or situation].  Then, make it a practice to have five questions written down before any sit down for a meeting, a review, an interview, a report, a presentation.  Spend 10 minutes looking through the web page [ I realize that I should write about that now:  how to review a company's website and grasp their culture, their vibe, their engagement with visitors ] so that you can come up with five questions.

An INVESTOR
Think of yourself as an investor.  Yes, that sounds backwards when you think that you don't have the money to buy even "a share" in this company, just ignore that and transcend yourself.  Ask yourself:  "would you buy shares in this company?".

If you are attuned to selling to people, you will want to invest in them just as much as they will want to purchase or give you whatever it is you are asking for.   That is called evening the playing field.  Remember what I said before?  PEOPLE are the same except for how they BUY things.  



BUY THINGS
can be just the same as buying into things.  Do you buy into this opinion or that show or that writing or philosophy?  See, we are all BUYERS and there are sparks that initiate the action to buy.  

If you are not attuned to PEOPLE you won't get as far.  You will have to meet more and more and more PEOPLE to get into your zone.  Then again, as you meet more and more PEOPLE in whatever situation FIVE QUESTIONS imagine what will unfold.  

If you like to cut corners, you probably didn't even last to the finish of this post.  Unless it benefits you immediately [ can you copy, plagiarize or imitate this?] you are long gone.  Those are probably the less honest type of sales anyhow and they won't jive with my philosophy derived from my traits.



DISCIPLINE
is a trait or characteristic.  Which does it mean is which.  It is both an adverb I think and a verb in English, as in a thing or noun rather than an action.

In order to have a DISCIPLINEd PERSONality, you will have had to hone your traits to come up with the right ingredients for your own unique PERSON.  I am wondering somewhat if I have ADD or attention deficit disorder.  Someone with a psychological background I was [here it is again] asking more insightful questions asked me if that were a possibility.    Not as an assessment, nothing like that, simply generated from a conversation.  

Examine your own traits.  What are your leanings?  What gains your interest quicker than others?  Explore the maybe and the why.