One of the reasons I love investing is that it rewards people who ask different questions, and listens to the answers. There is nothing more satisfying than answering an important question – especially if it’s an answer that the rest of the world has not yet recognized.
It’s only more recently that I’ve come to appreciate the power of open questions – questions that cannot be answered, at least not yet. These are the most interesting, the most rewarding…. and the most uncomfortable.
My cure for this discomfort is to find friends who also love questions, such as Rainer Maria Rilke. In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke famously notes,
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Parker Palmer recently reflected on this passage from Rilke in a wonderful post for OnBeing, turning the questioning practice towards his own life.
In this autumn season, our steps tend to quicken, moving slow-moving projects towards action. As we zip towards the answers in many contexts, let’s also hold a space for the bigger, more interesting questions. They don’t all need answers… at least not yet.