Not asking questions is a question in itself. -Anonymous
These days you see a lot of people on social media with the “Ask me anything” posts and I sometimes wonder why someone will open themselves up for such torture. Interestingly, I realized that these people get asked a lot of questions about their individual lives. The answers they subsequently provide make their timelines rather engaging and interesting to visit. I later found out that this is usually a form of engaging with followers. On second thought, I have grown to appreciate whoever came up with that concept at the major tech companies. That person deserves a raise.
It is easy to sit on the fences and not ask questions. What you end up doing is guessing and assuming things throughout your life and that can be detrimental to your personal growth and development. Most average people that I know like to listen and not engage. I can somewhat agree that it is part of our Ghanaian culture to listen and obey rules rather than talk back, question, or give feedback, and this culture is robbing us off meaningful dialogues.
This piece of article is a solo reflection on my personal way of engaging with people. In my previous post I spoke about being vulnerable as our vulnerability matters. So here’s me talking to my younger self and teaching her that asking silly questions matter too. Sometimes I personally dodge certain events and meetings because I know I’ll have to engage, ask and answer questions but I find that disruptive to my personal and career growth. So here goes:
Act like a child
I am beginning to understand why children are very creative and smart because they let their imaginations run wild. Have you ever engaged a young child before? They tend to be curious and ask all the questions about the world around them. “Mummy how are babies formed?”, they will ask. They may continue by saying, “Why is daddy taller and bigger than I am, how can I also grow bigger?”. These questions, although they may sound silly, shows how kids are just full of awesome ideas that can spark creativity.
Unlearning to relearn
Considering how most of us were brought up, it is important to unlearn certain bad habits. Just as it is sometimes difficult to give children the outright answers, their questions are important for problem solving. Thankfully, one does not need special skills to be asking the right questions. I realized that the more you are open to learn about new things, your minds-eye opens up to the possibilities of grasping more and more knowledge. I have learnt that forming a community of like minded people who fuel your energy and passion to learn new things to learn is key.
Why ask questions?
Becoming like an interviewer in any social circle is important. But asking questions just to show off your vast knowledge about a particular topic rather than being the student can come off as rude. You want to approach questioning with a teachable attitude and spirit. Our inability to ask the right questions can cost us the right network as well as, business deals. Therefore asking enough questions can play to our advantage.
“So what’s the way to go?”, you may ask. Well, I’m beginning to watch more Ted Talks, attend virtual meetings and engage with the right people, while keeping a journal and asking the right questions. At least that’s my little way of teaching myself not to forget to ask the right questions. Let me know how you’re asking people the right questions and at which events and occasions you are doing the questioning. I’ll be looking out for feedback in the comments section.