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FAQ: Why should I ask questions, anyway?
The enquiring mind of the human being is one of the things that set us apart from other forms of life on this planet. If the first caveman hadn’t asked himself ‘How can I make a fire?’ – and found an answer - the human race would never have progressed to its current level of sophistication.
Are questions ever ‘stupid’?
No question in the honest search for an answer can ever be considered stupid! Have you ever noticed how the most successful students in schools and universities always ask the most questions in class?
They get answers in order to help them to understand the subject right away, instead of floundering through textbooks, or asking the ‘nerd’ who kept on bothering the lecturer for answers as to what’s going on!
Asking questions shows that you are really thinking about what’s happening around you, and helps you to get answers much more easily than if you have to try to find them for yourself.
When you really have no understanding of a subject, you don’t even know what questions to ask! The only stupid question is one that is not expressed and that remains unanswered as a result.
How can asking questions improve my life?
Whether you are seeking the answers to practical, philosophical or spiritual questions, asking others about their experience may inspire and inform you. If the answers don’t seem to fit, more questions arise, and a wealth of information can be obtained for the individual to sift through in order to find the answer with the ‘best fit’ for their own situation.
These answers could range from the mundane to the esoteric, but in all cases, they help your thought processes to find a direction and allow for future action.
Asking questions improves your life by giving your thoughts and actions direction. When you have direction, you are on the road to success and achievement.
Asking questions demonstrates a thirst for knowledge, and as it has often been said, ‘knowledge is power’. Powerful people question and listen, then think and question again until they arrive at an answer they can act upon.
What if I prefer not to ask questions?
The person who does not seek answers, does not find them, or finds them with unnecessary difficulty and effort. Have you noticed how some people won’t ask for directions no matter how lost they are?
These people would rather wander around for hours than stop and ask someone the way. What a waste of energy!
Businessmen ask questions: ‘How can I improve my profits?’
Housewives ask questions: ‘How can I cook this superb dish?’
Mystics ask questions: ‘What is the way to inner peace?’
If you make use of the answers provided by accepted knowledge, you save yourself a lot of time and energy. When you find an unanswerable question, you have lit on an opportunity that you can explore for yourself, thereby increasing the combined resource of human knowledge.
How should I formulate my questions in order to get a useful answer?
Even when asking yourself something, you need to frame the thought clearly. Sometimes, you’re so confused that you don’t know what to ask. Stop and think. Identify the problem. What’s bothering you about the information you already have?
Questions will always be framed as one or more of:
A ‘what’: for example, ‘What is quantum string theory?’ This question is all-encompassing and is great for when you honestly don’t know what something is or what to do.
A ‘who’: for example ‘Who invented quantum string theory?’ Here, one wants to know about people, and their interaction with the subject in question.
A ‘when’: ‘When should quantum string theory be applied?’ This is historic information. It tells you how knowledge has been used in the past.
A ‘how’: ‘How do apply quantum string theory?’ Now you get down to practical details. How can the knowledge be used?
A ‘where’: ‘Where can I find more information on quantum string theory?’ With this question word, you seek direction: a place or a circumstance.
A ‘why’: ‘Why is quantum string theory important’? ‘Why?’ questions challenge the existing knowledge to see if the reasoning behind it is sound.
Questions and answers are essential thinking processes with which one can attain current knowledge, and perhaps even progress into unexplored areas of thought. Knowing how to ask questions and evaluate the answers is the basis of analytical thinking, a talent that has made the human race the rulers of the earth!