Is asking questions something we do less of as we get older? Or do we still ask questions, just not as well as we used to?
As a child I was told that there is no such thing as a stupid question (though later in life I would encounter a few which would certainly qualify). The point is that I was encouraged to be curious and to inquire. This seemed to contradict my experience at school, where teachers awarded points to kids who raised their hands to answer questions, but were not always open to answering them. I was sufficiently awarded at home for my many questions, and then sometimes sent to the principal’s office for asking questions at school. Teachers and children don’t always agree on the line between curious and smart ass.
As an adult, it seems that we are less inclined to ask questions. Perhaps it started in high school, when egos and reputations became paramount. No one wants to look stupid, or admit they were not fully paying attention. Not everyone shakes this off. They carry it along with the rest of their adolescent baggage, to their detriment.
I recall being at a conference with a very interesting keynote speaker, who opened the floor to questions afterwards. There were a few raised hands, but they mostly wanted to fangirl their admiration and appreciation. Ok, fine. It wasn’t a big room, so the intimidation factor was low. Everyone was professionals in their field. No newbies. Leaving the room I heard a few people comment that they wished she has spoken about X or described more about Y. The floor was open to asking the speaker, and they were silent. They lost the opportunity to get the information they wanted. Why?
Asking questions is the only way to really figure things out. Whether it is in a career, or a business, in parenting or gardening – questions are not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of wanting to break out of ignorance and into understanding. Learning to ask the right questions to the right people is a whole other thing. As with everything else, it takes practise.