This post is inspired by John G. Miller. John is the author of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability, Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional and co-author of Parenting the QBQ Way. You can find more at http://qbq.com/
What You Don’t Know Can Kill You
Especially in video games or if you are a squirrel.
Almost every video game can demonstrate this principle in any number of ways. I think of all the arcade platformers as being epically guilty of this, but here are a few scenarios I have found myself in.
Scenario 1: Given the Bird
You are a ninja, hopping around and killing things, then all of a sudden:
A crow flies out of nowhere and performs a mid-air takedown on you. Now the invincible ninja is falling down a bottomless pit, thanks to a small blackbird.
“Why didn’t you tell me….I didn’t know the bird could do THAT…”
Scenario 2: Getting a Head
Change of scene: You are a well trained member of an elite special forces team, versed in Special Tactics And Rescue Services.
You are walking the dangerous halls of an abandoned mansion, creeping with slow moving zombies, when you encounter what looks like a cross between a gorilla and an alligator. Next thing you know, it is lunging at you, and you don’t have a head.
Or a recent save file.
“Someone should have warned me! One hit? Really?!”
One touch spikes. Harmless looking mushrooms. Water. Fire. Flying Happy faces. Electrical Seaweed. Any number of innocent or random things can end a game with very little warning.
But this principle applies to our lives as well.
Squirrels Die Too
Back around 2001, I was working at the Chesterfield hotel in Palm Beach Florida – it was a great place to work, with an awesome team of professionals. (That actually was the most difficult job that I have left – the people treated each other like family).
One thing about South Florida, is the always present squirrel running around. Palm Beach Island, for all it greatness, still has a squirrel or two. They can often be seen darting back and forth through the streets, causing panic in drivers everywhere.
They also like to climb around on powerlines, usually with a higher degree of success than their street crossing efforts.
One day while working at the front desk of the hotel, I heard a loud bang- like gunfire- and suddenly, the electricity to the building cut off.
For a little while, we had no idea what happened – but then one of the guys in valet called me over to see something that he found. There in the grass, just below the telephone pole that carries the powerlines, was:
A crispy, fried squirrel. And I mean, really crispy.
Apparently, the squirrel misjudged a jump, or bit a wire, and was electrocuted.
Intent and Ignorance is Irrelevant
Just like all the scenarios mentioned above, we can ask ourselves bad questions. Questions that often lead to blame and fingerpointing, but seldom change the outcome. Just because we don’t know the dangers involved, that does not mean that we are spared from the consequences of our choices.
It’s like that conversation with the police officer who pulls a guy over for speeding. “I’m sorry officer, I had no idea it was only 45mph on this road.”
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, right?
Here’s where all of us can step up to the plate a bit and practice personal accountability. It can be really easy to shrug our shoulders and say “I didn’t know.”
And maybe the squirrel knew, and maybe he didn’t.
Either way, not knowing did not save him from the natural, immediate, and fatal consequences.
Better Questions Lead to Better Answers
In the book QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, author John G. Miller talks about how to create a better question – and better questions lead to better answers.
Here is a crash course that you can use today to ask yourself better questions.
- Ask a question that starts with the word “What” or “How” (avoid using “why” or “when” or “who”).
- Use the personal pronoun “I” (not them, they, [insert other person’s name]).
- Focus on a specific action.
“When is someone going to offer me a better job?”
“How can I make myself more promotable?”
“Why don’t we have more resources to get the job done?”
“What can I do to get the job done with what I have in front of me?
See the difference? Pick up John’s life changing book HERE.
What Can I Do to Avoid Being a Victim of Bottomless Pits?
Asking yourself better questions – it works because you start to focus on what you can do, not on what you think is out of your control. After all, I can only control me and my actions. Life is a lot better when I focus on what I can do, rather than focus on what I cannot do.
Think of your biggest problem/frustration – now create a better question for yourself.
If this has been of value to you, please leave me a comment below letting me know how you will use this approach.