Turn A Wall Of Confusion Into A Doorway With Nouns

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on November 14, 2011

When people are confused, it’s usually because they are missing a few W’s.

The fact is, if you ask people enough how questions without occasionally referencing the what, who, where and when, people tend to go into a trance state, and use confusion as a substitute for what they do not know. That’s ok, because confusion is a gateway to new understanding. But someone has to go through that gate. With the right question, that can be you.

The missing “W” refers to people (who), places (where), things (what), and time (when.)

When people express a limiting idea, like “nobody cares” you can ask, “Who doesn’t care specifically?” or “Nobody cares about what?” or “Where don’t they care?” or even “When don’t they care?” If someone tells you that, “I lost my way,” you can ask “Where did you lose it specifically?” or “What way did you lose?” or “When did you lose your way?” If someone says, “I don’t have enough,” you can ask “What don’t you have enough of specifically?” If someone says, “I don’t have time,” you can ask “When don’t you have time specifically?” Or “Time for what, specifically?”

It is usually a good idea to find out the nouns of who, what, where and when, before pursuing words related to the process question of how. A misunderstanding of something so basic as a noun can send you down a detour from which it is difficult to return. Ask for nouns before verbs.

Comments?  Please leave them below.

Be well,


Previous post:

Next post: