I grew up hearing that “no question was stupid” or “the question NOT asked was an opportunity missed”. I heard it all the way through school and college and even through graduate school. It was no surprise when I heard these same words echo out of my mouth to my own two little girls. I know now that when a parent says it to a child it is actually two pronged. One being, if you hear the question, you know more about what they are thinking. And second, one question leads to another and eventually has the capacity to inspire learning and creativity.

Questions help our minds expand to new places. Questions can lead us into new directions. Questions can sometimes give us answers we aren’t ready to hear. Questions can often lead to more questions instead of answers. Whatever the question, it is sure to open a new door of self reflection and clarity provided there is an effort to seek clarity.

This is an important topic because when there is clarity of an issue, we are less likely to make the same mistakes. Clarity means getting to the heart of an issue so that you understand why the same mistakes are made over and over. Making the same mistakes repeatedly is unfortunately quite common. However learning from those mistakes doesn’t happen as readily. Why is it so hard for us to learn from our mistakes?

I don’t have all the answers, in fact asking the right questions often lead to more questions instead of answers. I know from a life long journey of self examination that the real learning from our mistakes has to come from a profound consequence or memorable experience. For example, I learned the hard way through divorce that I needed to find someone who didn’t just fill my needs but that had core values that were similar to my own. It was years of learning and asking questions of myself that helped me figure out what my core values were, what was important to me in a partner and how my own issues have blocked me from finding the right one for me. It took years of dating after my divorce and my fear of ‘making the same mistake again’ to realize that spending less time looking outward and more time focusing on me, made all the difference. Discovering the answers came faithfully from all the questions. Each relationship (even the brief ones) before I met my husband unlocked critical questions that taught me something. There is no ‘right formula’ in figuring this out. This process began for me as challenging and at times extremely frustrating because just when I had the answer about what was important, the growth I had experienced gave me a whole new perspective and lead me to go into ‘unknown territory’. After realizing that there was no going back, the fear of the own known started to excite me instead of frighten me.

The process was grueling and slow for me at times, but the important thing is that I LEARNED. And when I “got it” light bulbs went off in my head and all of the sudden my direction changed and I was ready to move on. Move on to explore more and ask more of myself. There is a happy ending for my own love story but too often I hear and read about this struggle from others.

Asking the question, whether it is internal or to others has never lead me in the wrong direction. It gave me more to think about, more to understand and more to give others. I believe that asking questions even the same one over and over until you have a clear understanding is the only way to learn from our mistakes.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books