Words of Wisdom 003: On questions and your influence

After spending time with a group of people, my wife and I will often reflect on the quality of questions we asked to measure the quality of the conversation. It got me thinking about questions and influence.

On questions and influence

Your legacy is determined by the quality of your questions and the degree you live out wise answers. Quality questions invite discovery. Powerful questions cut to the core of what matters most.

To increase your influence, ask better questions.

Questions are the lifeblood of wisdom. Questions open us up to curiosity. Questions enable discovery. Powerful questions empower us rather than cripple or stall us.

Start by asking yourself better questions. To increase your awareness, surround yourself with people who ask you thoughtful questions.

Questions invite curiosity, require humility to care about what is outside yourself, and courage to face what you might find.​


His notebooks are the greatest record of curiosity ever created, a wondrous guide to the person whom the eminent art historian Kenneth Clark called "the most relentlessly curious man in history.”...Best of all are the questions that seem completely random. “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker,” he instructs himself. Who on earth would decide one day, for no apparent reason, that he wanted to know what the tongue of a woodpecker looks like? How would you even find out? It’s not information Leonardo needed to paint a picture or even to understand the flight of birds. But there it is, and, as we shall see, there are fascinating things to learn about the tongue of the woodpecker. The reason he wanted to know was because he was Leonardo: curious, passionate, and always filled with wonder.

Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci


Think about your to-do list and ask: What is most important? What can I learn today?

Think about a process or system and ask: What is missing? What one change could have the most impact?

Think about your community and ask: How can I help? Who can I serve?

Think about a transition in someone's life and ask: What's the story about how you started? What was surprising?

Think about a place you are stuck and ask: When is a time that it worked? What if I was willing to do what it takes?

Think about ten years from now and ask: What can I do today that will take me where I want to be ten years from now? What won't matter to me in 10 years?

Think about how you think about a personal struggle you have and ask: Is this thought true?



What is one question you can ask this week? What is a powerful question you'd like to share with me?

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Live wisely,


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