How to make tough decisions without asking for help
Using Socratic questioning for better life decisions
Whenever you are confused about taking complex decisions about life or stuck between choices, use this sample questionnaire to ask yourself questions.
Asking for advice from friends or family may not always be the right choice if they don’t have skin in the game for the problem you are stuck with.
This will help you to build second-order thinking as well!
Socrates believed that "the disciplined practise of thoughtful questioning enables the scholar/student to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas"
The best way to understand any concept, theory or ideology is to learn its basic theories and question them and find the answer to them.
Socrates taught his pupils by asking the questions. Questions were regarding understanding the concept in a better way, its assumption, perspective, rationale, reasons, facts and evidence, implications and consequences and questions about the question.
Below I am mentioning the list of questions he used to ask. It is not an exhaustive list. You can add or remove as per your convenience. Also will attach a more exhaustive list of questions to add in future.
Questions for conceptual clarification:
Used for getting deeper into the concept. Basically involves like tell me more.
why are you saying that?
what does this exactly mean?
what is the nature of...?
what do we already know about this?
are you saying this... Or ....?
This makes you think about pre-assumption and unquestioned belief that you have built-in your mind.
What else could we assume?
You seem to be assuming ... ?
How did you choose those assumptions?
Please explain why/how ... ?
can you verify or disprove that assumption?
What would happen if ... ?
Do you agree or disagree with ... ?
Questions about rationale, evidence and reasons
Why is that happening?
How do you know this?
Show me ... ?
Can you give me an example of that?
What do you think causes ... ?
What is the nature of this?
Are these reasons good enough?
Would it stand up in court?
How might it be refuted?
How can I be sure of what you are saying?
Why is ... happening?
Why? (keep asking it -- you'll never get past a few times)
What evidence is there to support what you are saying?
On what authority are you basing your argument
Questioning viewpoints and perspectives
Most arguments are given from a particular position. So attack the position. Show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints.
Another way of looking at this is ..., does this seem reasonable?
What alternative ways of looking at this are there?
Why it is ... necessary?
Who benefits from this?
What is the difference between... and...?
Why is it better than ...?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?
How are ... and ... similar?
What would ... say about it?
What if you compared ... and ... ?
How could you look another way at this?
Probe implications and consequences
The argument that they give may have logical implications that can be forecast. Do these make sense? Are they desirable?
Then what would happen?
What are the consequences of that assumption?
How could ... be used to ... ?
What are the implications of ... ?
How does ... affect ... ?
How does ... fit with what we learned before?
Why is ... important?
What is the best ... ? Why?
Questions about the question
And you can also get reflexive about the whole thing, turning the question in on itself. Use their attack against themselves. Bounce the ball back into their court, etc.
What was the point of asking that question?
Why do you think I asked this question?
Am I making sense? Why not?
What else might I ask?
What does that mean?
This is not an exhaustive list, you can build your own too.
Socratic Questioning along with the First Principle Thinking can help you to go deep into any intellectual ideas.
Use this post as a guide whenever you are stuck with any problems and want to go deep into them.
Lastly, only you can help yourself when you are in a problem. Ask yourself tough questions to get the right answers. You may face hesitation to ask deep questions but little practice can help you to go long way.
I’m signing off.