What if we openly shared the questions we don’t have the answers to?
Rob Hardy asks this question in this essay about FUQs (Frequently Unanswered Questions), pronounced as fux. 😀
He says FUQs are “big, ambitious questions that defy easy answers, yet still captivate and compel us to explore.”
FUQs also remind me of the idea of 12 favorite problems shared by Richard Feynman for better thinking and problem-solving.
“Keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it help.”
We might not be scientists actively researching and finding solutions to problems.
But, we can apply this to life, which in itself can be a mystery and full of unanswered questions and unexplored problems.
Whether you call them problems or questions, it does not matter.
What matters is defining them and the willingness to live through these questions. Because these bold questions, according to Rob, “can fill our lives with wonder” and “open up new possibilities for how to be the author of our own existence.“
Since I first started working for myself last year, I realized I have also faced a lot of frequently unanswered questions, both from my end and from my parents. 😀
- How do I pursue my audacious creative dreams while making enough to survive and support my family?
- How do I become financially abundant while finding and doing things I love to do?
- How do I convince someone to marry me when almost every arranged marriage prospect only cares and asks about my salary package and company? (This one is from my parents, of course. :D)
- How do I let myself be seen and loved?
- How do I stay open to life possibilities while pursuing definite goals?
- How do I stop feeling lonely at times and bring a sense of connectedness/meaning in my life?
- How do I find and sustain a lifelong, loving relationship aligned with my core values?
- How do I have a better relationship with my parents who don’t understand me?
I don’t have a clear answer to any of the above questions.
But, there is something about them that makes me curious and excited to live through them without expecting a definite answer in the near future.
The only winning move when confronted with a FUQ is open-hearted exploration, and reporting what you discover along the way.
The open-hearted exploration demands a certain comfort with uncertainty. Because if you always seek certainty, you’ll find it difficult to explore and experiment with different ideas. As they say, you rarely grow within your comfort zone. You gotta step out into the unknown to experience what life has to offer to you.
As Rob writes,
when we’re courageous enough to live a FUQ—allowing the question to guide us into new decisions we wouldn’t ordinarily make—that’s where the real magic happens.
Of course, it is not going to be easy.
The fear of uncertainty won’t magically disappear overnight. Perhaps it never will.
It has not disappeared for me yet. I feel fear almost regularly. I wish I could be more fearless.
But, I think being afraid is completely natural and okay. You need to take one step at a time. One day at a time. Sometimes, when things get overwhelming, it is okay to take two steps back too.
What is important is the willingness to experience and live through these frequently unanswered questions.
So, if you have never done this exercise before, do this today:
Take a piece of paper or open an empty page on your favorite note-taking application. List down at least 12-15 questions you do not have the answers to. See which of those questions create a tinge of excitement and curiosity within you.
Maybe, they can trigger a new start for you in the new year 2024! 🙂
Until next time,
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