“…From very young, we are taught to ask questions,
so we keep asking until we find answers…”
This is a quote from Nobel prize winner, Dan Shechtman, in response to being asked why there are such a high percentage of Jewish nobel prize winners compared to any other race. This is not an article about Jews, but rather about the characteristic of people who excel in any way.
If you would always ask questions and never accept blank answers such as; ’that is just how it is’, you too would be much smarter than you are, and maybe, win some prizes of your own such as;
Self-esteem, confidence, clarity of mind and a stronger sense of presence.
There is much to gain other than more information, and that is what this article is really about. The preceding list are some of the many other benefits of asking sincere questions.
When someone tells you something that is not clear, usually you will just go along with it and say you understand, but you do not. When someone then asks you what they meant, you may get upset and frustrated with being asked, and neither you nor the other person will understand what was so bad about being asked for an explanation.
The reason is simple, you said you understood but you had no idea what they meant, but for fear of looking foolish, refused to admit you did not understand and reacted with an attack to protect your ego. In this way, stupidity perpetuates itself and permeates the world with people who can talk but cannot really say much of value and meaning. There is a big difference between being able to make noise or able to communicate.
Asking questions is the only way to increase your being, because that is the only way you can improve yourself with skills such that you can express your natural desire to learn and grow and thus create more and better things for you and other people.
If you ask someone what they meant, and they cannot clearly explain it, then you know they have no idea what they are talking about. You now have a choice, to stop there and be as ignorant as they are, or to search deeper for the answers, assuming this is a question of value.
The most important thing to remember when you are asked a question is that when you do not know, say; “I don’t know.” Then add to that; “Let’s find out.”
Test yourself with everything you are learning about or listening to in a conversation. Can you explain it in detail such that anyone would understand it fully? If you cannot, then you need to ask more questions.
The normal benefits are obvious, but as I said, this article is about the personality and spiritual benefits. The question we must ask is; ‘why don’t I ask for more details?’ or ‘What prevents me from asking more questions when I do not really understand something?’
The answer is the key to why we have any level of low self-esteem and the many thoughts we have from time to time about being stupid or any negative self-attack. It is our ego.
Our ego is the part of our consciousness which wants to be liked, have success, look great and smart and be the centre of attention in a good way. Our ego does not want to be ridiculed, put down, seen as stupid and rejected. Our ego is also the devil that attacks us with the thoughts of our being stupid, and thus limits our experience of life by making us inhibited, shy, self-conscious, and afraid to speak up and get what we want, or take chances to approach that hot person we really want to go out with.
By forming the habit of always asking questions you will eventually overcome the weak fearful ego and gain tremendous self-confidence which has obvious benefits to your life.
The child will emulate and be a copy of the parent.
Parents, please encourage and endure the constant questions of your children with patience and effort to help them find the right answers. It may make your life more tiring. Although you may also learn a lot, one thing is certain, your child will have a much better adult life.
The mind grows like any other organ, based on the quality of the food you feed it. Good questions get good food.
A good question is one that is sincere.
A good question is one that is not asked for the sake of asking or to show you are paying attention or interested. A good question is one that comes from a sincere desire to know, to understand, to improve your ability to pass on correct knowledge to anyone who asks you.
Your questions may initially lack substance, but that is due to a fear of asking due to your current level of intellectual capacity, which is of course limited because you have not been asking questions and instead just been taking a few words that have no value or clear explanation and stopping there.
What is your real question?
The last point I would like to make in this article is the most important. Many people feel they have something inside that wants to come out but they do not know what it is. I express this feeling as the first question you had when you were born. Your real question for your life is not anyone else’s and not anything someone else can suggest that you can adopt.
Imagine being born, popping your head out and opening your eyes. Perhaps you started as a movie star with your father filming the birth, lights blaring into your eyes, lots of giants all around you, noise, and of course the screams of your mother. Very strange and somewhat scary. What would be the first thought of this infant? Is that question any different than what is deep in your heart right now?
As we grow up and become the person we are, our language, culture, country, religion, family, etc. we push that one question aside since no one can answer it. As time passes, we acquire through no fault of our own, a plethora of other questions and desires which overshadow the one real first question we had.
Given that our mind is able to recall things from our long distant past, such as our first telephone number when we were young children, it stands to reason that somewhere deep in our mind, our first question remains.
Practice asking every question that you can of every person, or of God or of your own mind and imagination, and eventually you may find what your personal first real question was. That is the beginning of finding happiness and success in your life. You never know, it may lead you to invent the next major world changing device, perhaps a flying car or beautiful music, or a cure for cancer, or simply a peaceful life. We all have our own question, we just have to learn how to ask it and follow where it leads us.
Our real question is one that has no finished answer.
It leads us in a life of perpetual growth.