May 15

The Art of questioning, master this art for successful life

It has happened n number of times to me in the past. My brain has had a question, but I have always stopped it from slipping out, thinking I would make a fool out of myself. Only later would I realize that somebody else asked a similar question. And were applauded for asking such a great question! Do you relate to this situation. Then you need to understand the art of questioning.

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge. Thomas Berger

What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language. — Jane Goodall

Interesting fact on art of questioning:

At the age of four, children ask over 400 questions a day. Between the ages of two and five, the average child will have asked about 40,000 “why” questions, simply because they do not know.
As we age, apparently we do. By the time, we reach 44, adults only ask around six questions/day, mainly because we think either we know or are afraid of admitting that we do not.

Some one liners on Art of questioning:

  • Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why. And rest is the history.
  • We don’t know what we don’t know, and won’t know unless we ask questions.
  • The people who do not ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.
  • It is fine to be a fool for a minute by asking a question then to be a fool for life time by not asking.
  • Knowing the answers will help you in school. Knowing how to question will help you in life.

Now we have understood the importance of asking questions let us discuss the few wonderful benefits of asking questions

Benefits of asking question:

  1. We learn about life:
    We all see a child asking so many questions in a day that is how a child learns about everything. This is the best method for learning, which we all stop applying when we grow up.
  2. It will keep you humble:
    It reminds you that you do not know everything, and that is perfectly fine. As there are gaps in your knowledge, which you are filling up.
  3. It improves quality of our life:
    The quality of our lives is directly related to the quality of our thinking. “The quality of our thinking, in turn, is determined by the quality of our questions.
  4. It also prevents self-satisfaction:
    It signals a thirst for new data and an unwillingness to be content with the current status quo.
  5. Questioning makes you more open:
    Your mind start working logically and it gives information already stored in the brain once you start asking questions.
  6. You understand people better:
    Most people love to answer questions about themselves.  We’re all hungry to be understood, not just because we want to get our way but because we want to feel important. 
  7. It improves your decision-making ability:
    as asking questions will give you all types of perspective for the situation in hand.
  8. It will give you happiness:
    as asking right and logical question will make you happy and satisfied.

Analysis so far:

So now you must be thinking that I will give you some tips for asking wonderful questions or to improve your art of questioning. NO, I am not going to give you any such tips as I believe there are no tips as such.
There cannot be a short cut for practice and perseverance. So to ask wonderful questions we need to practice asking questions. and with continuous practice and habit of asking questions we will improve the quality of our questions.

In the next post we will analyze why people do not ask questions, what are the reasons and the possible solutions.

Till then you can check my list of questions to ask yourself to know the progress of your life

click here

Remember these powerful words, if you want to master Art of questioning.
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July 7

Why we do not ask questions, Analysis of reasons and solutions

In my previous post The Art of questioning, why we should ask question, we have discussed on some facts about the art of questioning and its benefits. So today let us analyze the reason why we do not ask questions and the possible solutions for the same.

There are two main reasons why we do not ask questions or why we lack curiosity.

  1. Personal
  2. Environmental or Upbringing

Personal: Let us analyze the personal reason in details

1. Fear: one of the main reason why we do not ask questions

Fear of what other people think, fear of what if I have asked a dumb question, people may laugh at me.

Solution: “Face your Fear”.
Yes, it is easy to say than doing it. However, we need to face our fear. If you fear to ask questions in a public forum. Then you can start developing the habit of asking questions in a smaller set of people, or you can start in a one-to-one conversation.
All I am trying to say is that we need to start developing a habit of asking questions; once it will be part of our habit we will start asking questions at the public forum also. In addition, once you start asking questions, your logical thinking will improve and you will start asking more logical and wonderful questions, which will benefit not only you but also people at large.

2. Ego: Why we do not ask questions because we have ego

If this is the case then it is a bit dangerous, as fighting with fear is much easier than fighting with Ego. We do not ask questions when we think we know it all. Moreover, if you really know it all then you should be on the other side of the table. However, you do not know it all, you have no fear but still, you are not asking questions because of your status and ego then it is very dangerous.

Solution: As we already know, asking questions makes us humble, so here also the solution is asking questions only. If in the public forum you do not want to ask questions because of your Ego, do not ask. Ask the question to the presenter in a break one-on-one, but ask. Once you start asking questions in this way you will understand that you do not know all things, there are a lot many things to learn, this will make you humble, and you will start asking questions in public forums also.

3. Shyness:

There are people who have a very good question to ask but still, they do not ask because they are too shy and they do not want attention.

Solution: These types of people need some practice and preparation so they need to do is:

  • Decide that you will speak up at least once during a meeting.
  • Give yourself a reward, if you will ask a question in today’s forum or discussion or meeting you will buy this.
  • Eliminate your negative thoughts and ask questions by the closing your eyes when you are alone.
  • Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy.
  • Do not allow your inner critic to put you down.

4. Other People are not asking:

Wah, what a reason for not asking questions.
Solution: If other people are not asking questions it could be they are falling under any of the above categories or they really do not have anything to ask, but that does not mean that you will not ask any questions.

These are the few basic personal reasons why people do not ask questions especially when they are at the public forum.

Environmental or Upbringing: Yes this affects our mindset and become main reason why we do not ask questions

Now let us understand this:

1. Discouragement by parents:

As a parent, we sometimes discourage our child for asking so many questions and sometimes we even punish them for asking questions in front of Guests or when we are at any public place. Therefore, the upbringing of a child plays a major role. We should not kill the curiosity of a child.

2. Our Education System:

After upbringing, the second reason is our primary education system. We often get complains from a teacher in a Parent-Teacher Meeting that your child is asking so many questions. We need to understand that which is the normal scenario, asking questions, or being silent. Rather than this complaint, there should be a complaint that your child is not asking anything in class.

3. Your Friends:

Then comes the third reason, before you become mature enough to understand the importance of asking questions and learning. Your friends, relatives, and companions with whom you spend most of the time, these people easily influence us. They control how we think, how we act or react. We start behaving in a particular way and we become like them. Therefore, if they discouraged our habit of questioning, slowly we stop asking questions and our curiosity is killed.

Conclusion and some thoughts:

I believe these are the main reason why we are not challenging the status quo, why we do not ask questions, why our curiosity is killed.

Therefore, we need to work toward this and change our way of thinking so that we can develop a habit of asking questions in our child, students, or our friends. It is our responsibility, our social responsibility.

Having said all that, while we have to get better at asking questions, it is also equally important to be in an environment, which fosters the culture of asking questions and giving encouraging answers. Below are a few pointers on how to achieve this:

  • Do not make fun of others or shame them for asking questions.
  • It is perfectly fine to not know the answer to everything.
  • Be humble in accepting the above fact.
  • Encourage people to ask questions.
  • Learn new things while discovering answers to unknown questions.
  • Encourage your kids to ask questions and answer their questions nicely.
  • Share your learning

Let us encourage people for asking questions and let us make a good environment for people to ask questions.