Have you ever entered a situation wondering just how you were going to make a decision? Wondering what exactly it would take for you to make the right decision? Georgian pastor and speaker Andy Stanley gives quite the answer to help articulate a new thought process for this thinking. In his book, The Best Question Ever, Stanley states that no matter what circumstance you face, asking “what is the wise thing to do” is the best question you could ask. This is certainly up to interpretation but if you think about it, he has a point. Think about it this way.
Your boss tasks you with the ultimatum of creating a new and improved five-year marketing plan of the company by the end of the week. Today is Wednesday and you still don’t know what you want the company to be marketing to their investors. Reaching out to your boss this late in the week would make you look like a poor planner, even incompetent to some extent. What do you do? Google marvelous marketing plans that helped companies survive impotent turmoil? Not exactly. You reach out to a close friend or mentor. Finding out what exactly it is that gets them through a tough time. You certainly don’t say the first thing that comes to mind when asking others. You think, “what is the wise[st] thing to do” under these circumstances? Maybe it’s reading a book or two that has helped your close friend or mentor out of a terrible situation.
Another aspect to The Best Question Ever is knowing and admitting that you don’t know. Stanley states that this is one of the best kept secrets of wise people. He doesn’t mean not knowing in an academic way; I think I would sound like a terrible student if I let professors know that I didn’t know anything. Instead, answering “I don’t know” to a question or decision that you truly do not know the answer to, and then moving on. In the end, this realization of not knowing portrays that self-actualization. Also noted as the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In essence, you know yourself more than most people know about themselves in a lifetime. Next time when you’re wondering what you should do in a tough circumstance, ask yourself “what is the wise[st] thing to do?”