I kept six honest servingmen
(They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who (Rudyard Kipling) Good Questions Trump Smart Answers. If you want to get to the heart of a matter, ask questions. Approach problems from different angles  ask why, why not. Consider the different perspectives  ask what if. Try to falsify your conclusions  do your best to prove yourself wrong.  An example for you  try to establish the principle behind the following sequence. You can propose the next number in the sequence as many times as you want. You can only propose the principle once: 2 4 6 8 10 What do you think? Are you Mr Smart Answers or Mr Good Questions? Person A  Mr Smart Answers:  Is the next number 12? Yes  The principle is that the next number is the previous number + 2. No Person B  Mr Good Questions:  Is the next number 12? Yes Hmm, it could be that the sequence goes up by 2, but I haven't tried anything else yet. Is the next number 13? Yes  Okay, perhaps it is that the next number has to be greater than the previous number. But I haven't tried a lower number, let's test it. Is the next number 5? No  Cool. You can't go backwards. Let's test to see if you can stay the same. Is the next number 13? No  Right, the principle is that the next number in the sequence has to be greater than the previous number. That is correct  Sometimes the obvious answer isn't the right one. Sometimes it is. Sometimes there are dependencies and second order effects, sometimes there aren't. To get to the heart of the matter, start by using our faithful friends  who, what, where, why, how, why not, what if. Comments are closed.

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