Ask dumb questions!

Why people need to overcome the fear of asking dumb questions? Many of us often feel ashamed to show the lack of knowledge, preferring to pretend to understand the subject. The reason for such reactions is our concern about the opinion of those who surround us. Jason Feifer in his article ‘Want the Upper Hand? Ask the Dumb Questions’ explains, why it is so useful to ask  “stupid” questions. Describing his past fear of sounding silly and ignorant, Jason illustrates his point of view with his experience as a novice journalist. In the beginning of his career he felt afraid that someone can find out his incompetency in some aspects of the discussion. However, a good advice combined with gained experience taught him that asking ‘stupid questions’ is rather beneficial than humiliating. In fact, people seem to speak more when asked a basic question because of the willing to explain and share their knowledge.

Ankur Jain, a successful businessman Jason spoke to, points out that the ability to ask simple questions makes young entrepreneurs benefit in terms of their career. It allows them to approach to an issue in a fresh way, not limited by the acknowledged statements, which leads them to finding new solutions. The reason for them to ask these questions is not just their inexperience, but their willingness to learn more and understand the subject. Those who prefer to keep silence so as they look smart lose more than the ones questioning convenient facts. ‘Shelving the pride’ is a key to making new discoveries. Moreover, mostly people want help and are ready to explain everything patiently, which sometimes is really inspiring. According to Jason Feifer, you have to embrace your ignorance in order to reach new opportunities in your life.

To tell the truth, it was extremely pleasant to read this article and realize I discovered this simple thought quite a while ago. The point is: revealing your inexperience makes the communication much easier and more comfortable for all the speakers. First, overcoming the shame of looking dumb destroys the emotional boundaries that limit our sincere participation in the discussion. When you admit to yourself and the one you speak to that you don’t know something, the conversation becomes  more natural. In other words, it demonstrates a simple essence: we are all humans, and it is okay to not understand something. Overcoming the fear of admitting my insufficient knowledge made me feel so free in the discussion that from that moment I keep the promise given to myself not to let my complexes and frights to complicate my life.

Another point is that any question is a request for knowledge which contributes to one’s intelligence. Agree with me, an attempt to learn more, to explore the unknown deserves to be respected. A genuine willing to understand the issue shows one’s interest and curiosity which drive a person to new findings and revelations, uncovering the secrets of the world. I believe gaining new knowledge is vital for a constant development of the mind, so ask more and learn more, try to conceive causal relationships instead of blindly assuming the facts. It’s a key to be smart rather than pretend to.

The last things I want to say still astonish me with their simplicity. While we fear asking for explanations from people, they actually enjoy the opportunity to pass their knowledge. People like being treated as professionals, they like to see that somebody is truly interested in what they are talking about, that’s why letting one to demonstrate his or her proficiency is probably the best way to make the conversation feel easy and comfortable. To get the most out of the discussion, just be honest and open, ask questions, listen to answers, enjoy the process of communication. At least I can declare that this policy makes my life a bit more enjoyable and simple.

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One comment

  1. MJ · August 31, 2017

    A very good first entry Lisa! Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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