Ask the Question Early

There's a variation on Ask a Better Question that in some ways is actually a better tool than Ask a Better Question itself. It's what I call Ask the Question Early.

Before I explain this tool, let's talk about human nature. Let me ask you, if you have something due next Thursday, when do you start it? Be honest. You're thinking, "I'll start it Wednesday," right? Or, you may be thinking, "When is it due Thursday? Late in the day? Maybe I can start early Thursday."

Well you're not alone.

It's often human nature to wait until the last minute to do something. I propose that, even if you're not going to start working on the project until the day before it's due, you visit the problem now. Consciously. Spend 20 minutes with it now. Ask the question early. It will get your imagination perking.

The best thinkers ask the question early, giving themselves many opportunities to be inspired.

How long does it take to find the solution to a problem? Quite often, it's a nanosecond, but let's use a full second as our unit of measure. If you start a day ahead of time, you have 86,400 seconds. If you formulate your question a week ahead of time, you have 604,800 seconds to work with, over half a million extra opportunities to come up with a big idea. If you need to score a touchdown, do you want 30 seconds on the clock or three minutes? To ask is to answer.

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