Introduction: Wait, What by James E Ryan
I saw my friend with the book Wait, What by James E Ryan, and borrowed it from her. When I saw the book, I was thinking that it was about learning how to be patient, but it is not about that. I am glad that I read it because I learned so much. Wait, What? is about five essential questions to ask yourself and others.
James E Ryan is the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. The Dean made the remarks at the 2016 HGSE Presentation of Diplomas and Certificates, and it went viral. A publisher asked him to turn the speech into this book which was published a couple of months ago.
James Ryan’s 2016 Commencement Speech
As a professional, if you want to become successful, it is important to spend time asking thoughtful questions, and coming up with truthful answers. The five questions that James E Ryan covers in Wait, What covers a number of questions that you could possibly ask.
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What is Wait, What by James E Ryan About?
Spend some time thinking about the right questions to ask. If you ask the wrong questions you will get the wrong answers. Below you will find the five essential questions to ask yourself and others.
Essential Question: Wait, What?
You ask this question as a way for someone to repeat something. It could mean, did you really say that, or are you kidding? You use this question to ask for clarification. It helps you to slow down and not jump to conclusions, or make snap judgments. This question can save you from embarrassment.
Essential Question: I Wonder?
You can pair this essential question with Why and If. I wonder ‘Why’ helps you to stay curious. I wonder ‘If’ helps you to stay engaged with the world and to try something new. The two are related. Keep asking yourself I wonder ‘Why’. This question lead to wonderful discoveries and keen insights. Messages and clues are everywhere waiting for us to discover and interpret them. After I finished reading What is Wait, What by James E Ryan, I started to play around asking myself, “I wonder why…” and “I wonder if…”
I wonder if helps you to test your limits of what you can accomplish in life. When you ask yourself, I wonder if I can do that, you will find new things you love to do. I wonder if helps you to stay engaged and to change your circumstances. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, start asking yourself, ‘I wonder if.’
Essential Question: Couldn’t We at Least?
This essential question forms the core of a series of questions. When I first read this question, “Couldn’t we at least try to get along” popped into my head. It helps you to get unstuck. So, if you find yourself feeling like you are stuck-in-a-rut, this is the question to ask yourself. You use it when you want to make progress – to move ahead. Couldn’t we at least agree also builds consensus. This helps you push back against group polarization and extremism.
Couldn’t we at least, is also a way to overcome fear when doing something new. Couldn’t we at least, starts the conversation, so you can move forward. It does not mean it will always be a success, but at least you are willing to do something different.
Essential Question: How Can I Help?
This essential question is about offering help without believing or acting like you are the saviour. Asking how you can help nudges others to face their problems. Asking how you can help is about showing sympathy and empathy. There are many times when all someone wants is to be heard, for someone to listen to what she has to say. Asking how can I help, allows that. The ball is now in the other person’s court. If she needs your help, she will ask for it.
Essential Question: What Truly Matters?
This essential question is very meaningful today because of the busyness of life. It guides you through meetings and major life decisions. It forces you to get to the ‘heart of the matter’. It helps you to distinguish between the essential and the non-essential. So many people waste time focusing on meaningless tasks that take them no closer to their goals. Sometimes we get caught up in minutiae and lose sight of what is important. This question allows you to focus on real work and not on fluff.
It allows you to be as efficient at work as possible, so you can do all the non-work things that matter. Most people work so that they can finance their passions. When you focus on the things that really matter to you by being efficient, you have the time to spend with family and friends, pursue your hobbies, and passions that matter to you. Asking yourself what truly matters helps you to be vigilant, to figure out strategies to live a consistent life, and this allows you to live a happier, more fulfilled and rewarding life. Essentially, this question helps you to take stock of your life. Are you living your best life?
Final Thoughts: Wait, What by James E Ryan
This is a short book, but I found myself reflecting on the words between the pages. There is one final question in the book, and it is about making sure that you lived a life worth living. I recommend that you buy a copy of Wait, What by James E Ryan, a Book Review, and listen to the longer version of YouTube video if you enjoyed the shorter one.