skip to Main Content

You’ll never answer the last question, so make the first one count

Often times when people hear of an insight that could potentially change their lives, the first thing they do is test out its validity by trying to think of a counterexample that would discredit it.

For instance, when the idea known as “The Law of Attraction”, which is a very old concept by the way, became popularized through The Secret, many people were confronted for the first time in their lives with the possibility that they could play a more creative role in their experiences. But before putting the idea to serious practice, many individuals immediately responded with tough philosophical questions like:

If  we attract our experiences with our thoughts, then how do you explain the holocaust?

What does a tough-minded optimist do with tough questions?

Such questions are fair, as well as intriguing, but as one might imagine, they are quite delicate and difficult to answer in an emotionally satisfying way. Hence, it should come as no surprise that many people dismissed the Law of Attraction as untenable because it failed to provide, at least in their eyes, a compelling explanation for the problem of human suffering.

People respond to new ideas and suggestions quite routinely with skeptical questions and tough counterexamples. Tell someone that hard work pays off and they will point out an example of someone who worked really hard and still failed to have their big payday. Talk with them about the importance of investing and they’ll mention the one person they know who was scammed in a Ponzi scheme. Encourage them to follow their heart and they will demand an explanation for why the “follow your bliss” philosophy didn’t work for their Uncle.

I don’t think people do this to be difficult. I think people really do want to experience positive changes. I think people are simply evaluating ideas in accordance with what they’ve been taught is the rational thing to do.

Well, here’s my two cents on this whole issue:

Penny #1 For any given piece of advice, however good it may be, there will always exists at least one person for whom it does not seem to work
Penny #2: Every philosophy, no matter how comprehensive, will leave some important questions unanswered and some significant facts unexplained.

You don’t need these rules to be otherwise in order to find the point of view that’s right for you.

The questions don’t need to end in order for you to begin

Once we have waxed and waned philosophical about all the complexities of life, there is one question that stands above all others when everything is said and done:

Are my chances for creating a better quality life higher with or without this particular point of view? More plainly put, does this idea offer me the possibility of something more than what I currently have?

That’s a question that only you can answer, but when you’ve answered it, you’ve answered the question that really counts.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to radically change your life just because the piece of advice you’ve been given doesn’t explain why the holocaust happened.  Don’t hold back on trying something that feels right for you because you can’t explain why that same course of action didn’t work for someone else.

Questions are fun and important. I would encourage anyone to do all the questioning their heart desires. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to solve all the mysteries of life before you can answer the questions that are necessary for you to act on your dreams.

As one of my professor’s was fond of saying, “You’ll never answer the last question”, but if you make the first question count, it wont really matter.

That’s my two cents.


T.K. Coleman

Leave a Reply

Back To Top