Everyone loves answers. Believe me, I love that feeling of brilliant clarity I get when something “dawns on me” as much as the next person.

But as a larger culture, I wonder if we’ve become answer-obsessed.

It’s easy to see why we’d be that way. To get the answers for most of the test questions we had during our school years, we can now just pull out our iPhone, type the phrase into Google, and get it.

But those are fact-based answers.

Unfortunately, much of our lives aren’t made up of facts, but of the gray in-between things we call “opinions,” “paradigms,” “lifestyle choices,” or “worldviews.”

These answers aren’t as easy to come by. But they are exactly the questions we must ask, because in the new economy they are all that will matter. Seriously. Everything else will be online, at our fingertips.

Also, as much as we might like it (or as much as it feels good to do it), we can never give these complex kinds of answers to another person. Why? Because answers that live in the gray and are served up by another person aren’t ever worth anything — because they didn’t cost anything.

The big, tough answers we all need are the ones that we have to “pay” for. We must spend time thinking, reflecting, and processing. It’s hard work. But it’s always worth the price.

P.S. This is the future role of the true manager/leader/teacher/coach/mentor: to learn how to ask the right questions so the person who asks can answer it for themselves.

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