Q not A
A four-year-old girl will ask almost 390 questions a day. Eventually these numbers dwindle as she ages, in part because they don’t include the questions she mutters to herself while submerged in emails. It is typically in everyone’s best interests that mumbled email questions remain unremarked upon. But, what about the questions that aren’t articulated? The kind of questions that should be asked with confidence? Questions like: why did having an answer become exclusively more valuable than having a question?
There’s an obvious answer to this: Why ask a question if not to get an answer? To this I say, why not ask a question that may have no answer? Try it out. Ask a question that has no answer. I can guarantee it will be profoundly more interesting than one with an answer. I’ve tested this theory, and odds are people will not call you a twit when you ask them what the meaning of work/life is.
Here are four difficult questions you can ask yourself to get over the hump:
- Am I not asking my question because I am afraid of what people will think of my intelligence?
- Am I not asking my question because I doubt the intelligence of those around me?
- Am I not asking my question because I am afraid it may result in negative ramifications for myself or others?
- Am I not asking my question because I don’t believe I can add value?
Having an answer doesn’t make it the right answer, but asking questions makes room for multiple possible answers. So, what questions do you have?
Danielle Burley is a Program Manager at Impact Americas.