I recently watched the excerpt of a Harvard University Graduate School of Education graduation address by Dean James Ryan. The speech outlines five essential questions — questions Ryan believes you should regularly ask yourself to become both successful and happy in life.
Ryan’s five questions are:
- Wait, what? — asking for clarification before drawing conclusions — this is at the root of all understanding
- I wonder… — I wonder if as a way to improve the world or I wonder why as a way to remain curious — this question is at the heart of all curiosity
- Couldn’t we at least… — as a way to get started on consensus — it is at the beginning of all progress
- How can I help? — acknowledging that others may have a better idea than you do on the method of assistance but still volunteering to assist — this question is at the base of all good relationships
- What truly matters? — focusing on the important things and what you value — this question gets at the heart of life
Ryan advocates habitually asking these questions throughout life, and I agree that they would make your world a better place if you did. Pick one of Ryan’s questions and be sure that you ask it today (and then another one tomorrow, of course!) Once again, the question may be more powerful than the answer.
For more, read: Wait, What? by James E. Ryan