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Inquiring and Thinking for the Best Results

Teaching That Changes Lives - new book by Dr. Marilee AdamsThis month saw the publication of my third book, Teaching that Changes Lives. When someone asked me what inspired this new book, I realized that it was the same core yearning to make a difference that inspired my first one, The Art of the Question. The very last section of the book is entitled “Let Us Inquire Together.” Now, 15 years later, it feels even more right than when I first wrote it! I’d love to share with you a few snippets from this writing:

  • As Learners we can join in creating an age of inquiry, rather than merely living in an age of information . . . Information is generated by questions, be they thoughtful, thoughtless, or foolish.  In other words, information can only be as valuable as the questions that generate it – and the questions with which one responds to it.
  • In a world increasingly overwhelmed with information, we can ask Learner-centered, solution-seeking questions about what to do with all we know . . . Learner answers would be rooted in sensing the webs of connections that have always existed among individuals, families, society, and our physical world. I believe we share an intuitive knowing that any viable—even desirable—future, must pay homage to this knowledge and build upon it.
  • One way to describe – or initiate – a paradigm shift is by asking questions from within the current paradigm that can only be answered from outside it.
  • As Learners we can join as participants in a living dialogue about a win-win future. This inquiry positions us outside the limitations of the Judger’s paradigm, and creates a spaciousness where these question-centered methodologies can make the empowering difference.
  • Taking advantage of the question-driven nature of thinking, choice and responsibility, we can dedicate ourselves to speak, listen, and act together in enlivening the spirit and expression of genuine community.

I selected “Let us Inquire Together” as the overall theme for these blog articles because I passionately believe that inquiring together is what makes all our lives and relationships satisfying and successful. Inquiring together also means thinking together—and we all know that the best thinking leads to the best results. I believe that that’s what’s needed to have a world that really works for us all. A blog is one of the best ways to expand “us” and help build a community of like-minded and like-hearted folks.

Over time, I’ll be sharing stories, examples, and tips for being successful question-askers—as well as news, such as our upcoming trip to Malaysia, Singapore and China. Of course, there are many others who share this passion for inquiry and who have created wonderful work around it. I’ll share some of their writing, interview many of them and also invite some of them to be guest bloggers. I believe you will be enriched and stimulated by their thinking.

Our on-going conversation will be much richer through your comments and contributions and I enthusiastically invite you to join our learning community of inquirers. Here are four questions from The Art of the Question. Let us inquire together about them.

  • How can we be both loving and practical in creating a win-win world?
  • How can we accept and manage our individual and collective Judger tendencies?
  • What will it take to step together out of the win-lose paradigm and into a win-win one?
  • How can we remember to keep asking questions such as these?

What are your thoughts and reflections about these questions? I would love to hear from you!



Thank you for sharing!

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Permanent link to this article: http://inquiryinstitute.com/blog/inquiring-and-thinking-for-the-best-results/


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  1. Mark Norris

    Hello Marilee

    I’m a certified parent coach and work specifically with parents whose kids have special needs(Adha,autism)

    The approach I work with is called Nurtred Heart approach and is very powerful.

    I have read your 1st book and integrate questions into my coaching sessions with parents.I love it when yous say that in order to initiate paradigm shifts is by asking questions.The approach I work with deprograms parents in order to re-program them so that they can re-discover their role as parents and learn to re-nurture their relationships.
    I would be interested in sharing with you my experience as related to your eventuale-book on parenting nthat you are considering publishing.

    Also, do you ever come to Canada? I live near Quebec city and even though I work with French families
    that isn’t a problem Congratulations on your profound committment in making this a better world,Mark

    1. Dr. Marilee Adams

      Thank you for writing and sharing the great work you are doing with parents. We have always found that the Learner/Judger perspective and questions makes such a difference for parents around the issues that arise with kids. I am delighted that you are using some of this with your parents. We will have more postings as we get started on the parent ebook. At the right time I would love to hear about your experiences. We sometimes get to Canada. Not as often as I would like. Thank you.

  2. Akrura

    Here is a learner question: What this problem is an opportunity for?

    1. Dr. Marilee Adams

      That is a great Learner question that can lead to all sorts of learnings. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Akrura

        Questions are the compass for a map of our everyday thinking.
        – Josip Bujas, HolosOne, Split – Croatia

  3. Dr. Marilee Adams

    It is a sad paradigm. That is why I am committed to keep bringing more of this work and the work of others that produce thoughtfulness and win win thinking to the forefront so we can keep influencing the areas that need it the most. Then I practice it daily in my conversations in the areas that are most challenging.

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