For many years, I’ve kept reiterating that what brings people purposefully together aren’t answers but questions. That’s because these questions are like quests that bring a “company“ of people together, all adventuring for the same thing.
While reading more of How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens, it’s becoming more and more evident to me that this intuition I’ve had about questions forms the basis of one’s research or work, as described in the book.
In effect, most of what we connect with in our daily lives usually ties into an open question in our life that we’re trying to answer. Thus, when we bump into something during our journey, we compare it with one of these overarching questions (as Richard Feynman describes) to see if what we’ve found is meaningful and matters in trying to answer this specific question.
If what we’ve found is meaningful then we collect it as a step in our larger journey of trying to answer this question. What I’ve just described here is described as a sequence in terms of note taking within Sönke Ahrens’ book. In effect, it’s a stream or clustering of notes that all relate to something meaningfully important to you.
But the thing that is becoming so very evident to me is that instead of just doing the obvious which is getting excited when we find new information and knowledge that we can add to this stream, we need to also step back and immediately go beyond this as well.
Why? Because the thing to realize is that more often than not, a lot of these things we’re connecting with and collecting aren’t completely self-evident to us at first. More often than not, especially within my own life, they’ve just been a feeling or an intuition to follow. It’s only after I’ve explored them for a while, which requires trusting myself that this feeling will lead somewhere, that they finally reveal themselves to me (i.e. I never fully realized I was researching creativity until almost a decade after research “it”).
So all said and done, more and more I’m realizing that instead of continually looking downstream of my thoughts to see and find what will emerge as an answer, the greater importance is more to look upstream at its source to see and find what is the question that is producing this stream of thought in the first place.
Because more and more it feels like when I collectively understand these key questions that are producing these creative flows within my life, it will in turn help me understand how all of these streams of thought are connecting up and becoming an empowering larger river that eventually leads to an inspiring ocean and a new world of possibilities beyond it.