You Should Start Asking Questions Now

10 Comments Posted in Personal Development

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Questions anyone?

One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything. ~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Everyone went through the education system where we are suppose to sit in the classroom and ask questions when we don’t understand. However I discovered that as we grow up, our ability to ask questions goes in the opposite direction. It may be due to shame, embarrassment, ego or maybe the fear of standing out in the crowd.

Asking questions is one of our natural way of learning. Whenever we are confused, asking questions help us to gather more information to understand the subject better. But when we are scared to ask questions, we will not learn as well as we possibly could.

Why People Are Afraid Of Asking Question?

Notice how children always love to ask questions? They are always curious for answers and that is why children are such great learners. They tend to ask the “why” questions. They want to know why things happen and they usually get their answers from the adults. But sometimes even the adults couldn’t answer their questions.

Children have no qualms about asking questions. Their curiosity about the world makes them want to learn more about what is happening around them and they do not have the fear to stand out, embarrassment or pride to hold them back from asking questions. Being able to ask questions and get immediate answers help them to learn quickly.

Adult on the other hand fear to ask questions because due to fear and ego. They hold themselves back from asking questions because asking questions may seems like they are lacking in knowledge and look stupid.

Fear is another factor that cause them to refrain from asking questions. When we are an adult, we mind what others are talking about us more than when we are a child. When a child ask some questions that cause an eruption of laughter,they will just laugh it off and goes on to ask another question. However if this scenario happens to an adult, most probably he/she will be embarrassed by the situation and will promise themselves not to ask another question again to avoid looking stupid. That is why people say that children are better learners but not because they have better brains, but they are always fascinated by their surroundings and they would not give a second thought about asking questions to satisfy their curiosity.

The moment when we have decided that asking questions is a sin and we should stop asking question to protect ourselves from embarrassment, we are giving ourselves obstacles to obstruct us  from learning.

How To Start Asking Questions Again

Stop thinking that you know everything – People who think that they know everything will stop asking questions. They will just be like a cup filled to the brink and a cup(person) filled to the brink will not be able to take in any more water(knowledge).

Let go of your ego – Acting like you know something when you don’t know can cause you to stay a fool forever. If you don’t understand something, ask necessary questions to help you understand it. Rather be a fool for a moment than a fool forever.

Don’t worry about looking stupid – Most people think that the question they want to ask will look stupid. But most of the time, others also have the same question. Just see yourself as doing a favor for others by asking the question.

Have the courage to go against the crowd – In the classroom, majority of the people don’t ask questions. Raise up your hand and ask a question when you don’t understand something. Only a few people will raise up their hands to ask questions, be the minority who understand instead of the majority who chose to stay as a fool.

Parting Words

Humans have a strong fear of looking stupid and also the desire to belong. That is why we refrain from asking questions as it can cause us to look stupid and we also try to stay the same as the majority of the group by not asking questions.

I know it can be embarrassing to look stupid when asking questions and people prefer the herd mentality rather than going against the crowd. But all these are things that don’t really matter if really want the answers to your questions. You can either be a fool for a moment or forever. Choose your pick.

Cheers,
Vincent

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10 Responses to “You Should Start Asking Questions Now”

  1. jay says:

    this article is a great way to remind yourself how normal it is to ask questions. I especially love the quote “…fool for a moment or fool forever.” it’s a great booster for one of those situation wherein you don’t understand something in class and hesitate to ask a question.

  2. vandealer says:

    “Humans have a strong fear of looking stupid and also the desire to belong.”

    I think this is my main problem really :/

  3. Vincent says:

    Hi Randy,

    This is the first time I heard about the male answer syndrome. But answering for the sake of answering is the surefire formula for embarassment. 🙂

    Vincent

  4. gas card says:

    Another thing alongside the fear of looking stupid by asking questions, is just the opposite fear of not answering questions. Instead of saying “I don’t know” people will just say an answer that may be completely wrong for the sake of answering.. a bit idiotic but all too common. Males are more opt to do it, and its actually called the male answer syndrome, which I learned about in college.

    -Randy

  5. I used to never ask questions, not because I was afraid, but because I thought it was a hassle. When I went to the movies for instance, a lady kept kicking the back of my seat. I finally decided to turn around mid movie and tell her to stop. She didn’t realize what she was doing and apologized. Sometimes asking questions doesn’t hurt you at all.

  6. Vlad Dolezal says:

    You’re right, asking questions is really powerful. And fun 😀

    One of my idols in this regard is Richard Feynman. If you haven’t read his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”, do so. Awesome read!

  7. Vincent says:

    @Positively Present

    It will really save us lots of time if we get clarifications immediately by asking questions. Something that only needs 5 minutes to be clarified may end up using a week time if we refuse to ask for help.

    @Srinivas Rao,

    You are right! That is a great example. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    @J.Chu | SuccessRevolution.com

    You just need to include a link to others article in your blog post and there should be a trackback on their blog. Hope that helps.

    Cheers,
    Vincent

  8. Vincent..

    Your article just come on time 🙂

    I am new to blogging and pretty low-tech.
    I am facing some problems, know some bloggers, but SHY to ask and afraid whether they could help me or not.

    Now, I have a question how to use:

    Trackback
    I was doing trackback to other blogs’ articles related with my last article, I followed the steps, written “already ping”, but when I checked there were no my trackback stick on ppl blogs.
    Is there anything I miss?

    I’ve surfing around to find help but still failed.

    I will be so grateful if you and your readers can help me.

    Thanks…

  9. Srinivas Rao says:

    Hey Vincent,

    I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s unfortunate that our natural curiosity wanes because of criticism from people as we get older. I remember talking to a kid in a mentorship program that I was in and he asked me “Do Kangaroos box with each other.” In that moment, I thought, you’re in sixth grade, this is kind of a nuts question. But what I realize after reading your post is that kind of thinking is exactly what leads us to stop asking questions.

  10. I’m a firm believer in asking questions and, more often than not, asking questions has saved me a lot of time and wasted energy. Sure, I risk looking stupid sometimes, but most of the time, people don’t care and I usually learn something or avoid doing something that would take up more time or mess something up. People should always, always ask questions. Clarification is so important! Risking two seconds of sounding stupid is so worth the benefits you get from doing something right or learning the information you need to.