There is a magic to asking questions. We are encouraged to ask questions in school, at home, and at work. We ask questions every day, whether we realize it or not. We may internally ask ourselves questions about the meaning of life, about our personalities, and even as little as what we want to accomplish before we start our day. We even rely on technology every day (“OK, Google…” or “Alexa, play…). Here is why there is such power in inquiry.
Let me start off by sharing my childhood struggles with asking questions in class. I was tremendously shy growing up, so shy that I even recoiled from asking my own elementary teachers for help when I had questions about the lesson! As a result, when it came time to take tests, I wouldn’t score as high as I wanted to, all because I was too shy to satisfy my curiosity!
Fast forward to high school… I realized that I could not get by and live up to my scholastic potential if I kept all my questions inside of my head. So, I had to transcend my invisible barrier of shyness and push my questions out. Once I crossed over to inquiry, my fears and insecurities gradually vanished, I entered a realm of more learning and understanding, and I was more confident when I took tests. I hate how long it took me to break out of my shyness and fear when it came to asking questions; I was afraid of other classmates perceiving me as “clueless,” but I know now just how vital it is to ask questions about anything in life.
Who asks questions? Anyone! Teachers often ask questions although they are the ones answering the questions. Every great teacher is a greater inquirer; in order to know, one must ask. Scientists from past decades and today have an influx of questions to ask and that’s what leads them to some of the most groundbreaking discoveries (the physics behind gravity and how radium was used in the medical field, for instance). Activists often question social justice and equality, about how and why it came into the picture and how to rectify any social issue. Parents ask questions on how to raise children and entrepreneurs constantly ask questions on how to fortify their business. The more questions we ask, the higher we climb in our lives and the more we can give to others with our talents, intellect, and wisdom.
When to ask questions? There is no right or wrong time to inquire about something. Confusion can bind the mind and our potential. The only way to break that bind is to boldly embrace inquiry. Some people may believe that asking question after question makes them look clueless, but asking questions is a sign of intelligence. If we don’t ask for knowledge, we don’t receive knowledge. Why do you think that straight-A student is so academically successful? Because she is so inquisitive! She asks questions in class when she’s lost, she asks herself questions and seeks library books to satisfy her intellectual curiosity, she listens to new information and is open to receive it. So, any time is the perfect time to ask questions.
Why should we ask more questions in general? We create new ideas when asking thought-provoking questions. When we ask novel questions—either to others or ourselves—we may even birth new ideas for a business, organization, blog, book, or a social movement. [Fun fact: Polaroid was discovered when a toddler asked his father “Why do we have to wait to see our pictures?”] Asking questions challenges our thinking and keeps our minds sharp! Asking questions prompts us to take action. It triggers our creative and emotional skills that can serve us quite practically when solving complex issues.
There is no wrong in being inquisitive. The next time someone complains about you being too inquisitive, take pride in being someone who seeks knowledge, wisdom, and creativity!