How often have you bitten your tongue in an effort not to be that guy/girl? Where you sat in your classroom, your teacher had given you your assignments, your friends scrambled for their pen and paper to get started, and you? You were puzzled, looking around the room trying to get a hint as to what it is you were supposed to be doing. So the question arises; do you really want to be that one student who timidly pops their hand in the air to say ‘What are we supposed to be doing?’
This situation may as well encompass growing up itself; the fugitive steps to act like you know when you don’t. To fake comfort, when clearly it stayed in bed when you got up this morning. Only today, in real life, we are too intimidated by life (your teacher 2.0) to even put our hand up and ask, while unaware that there are no stupid answers to stupid questions. Nowadays, falling out of the norm and seemingly not measuring up is terrifying, so we pull from our inner Meryl Street and perform as someone who is always in the know. Yes, you understand and therefore nod confidently when your morning meeting speaker gives your team all the stats, abbreviations and jargon at work. The alternative is putting your hand up and ask those 101 stupid questions.
A list of questions is representative of a mind that seeks growth. So your younger frustrated self, wondering why on earth they are now introducing letters to your mathematics class which ought to be all about numbers – ask why and find some satisfaction in the answer – to promote critical thinking, identify patterns and problem solve. Yet going through years of algebra, not knowing why you are doing so will put a stopper as to how enthusiastically you learn. We, humans, look for purpose, if we can’t find any, we are likely to underperform, and these idiotic questions make sure you won’t.
Not knowing is human. Not asking is a decision. Not knowing and seeking knowledge is growth itself.
‘Stupid’ simply gets to the basics, the basics which we rely upon to build a worthy, strong and robust infrastructure that we call knowledge.
If you were to be able to see all the questions you have ever asked Siri – what would you find? Yes, a bunch of questions attempting to ascertain just how intelligent your voice assistant is (and quickly hitting the limits) but how about the ‘stupid’ ones? The ones you wouldn’t ask your boss, but the ones you’d love to know the answer to. Yes, the hilarious questions on yahoo answers hit a new low, but they got their answers didn’t they? Even if the answers were dipped in sarcasm and meme-use, you can confidently say these are stupid questions that make you think right?
Where do you start understanding, if not by asking the obvious? If you don’t start at the beginning, if you have your fundamentals wrong, chances are these acts of omission will affect your outcome – all of which would have been negated by you raising your hand and asking. You ask the ‘stupid’ questions because they are the greatest ones to pose, masquerading as stupid.