The quote today comes form Naguib Mabiuz – author, who says “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
I have a pet hate, actually to be completely honest – I have several pet hates, but for the purpose of this piece, I have a pet hate. That pet hate is people who don’t ask questions!
Not, I’m not talking about asking questions for the sake of asking the question – I am talking about asking the question, because you don’t understand the statement! Believe me there is a huge difference.
Those of you who know me, know that I run a workshop/course on “A practical Guide to Starting a Business”. I have facilitated the course with people on a ‘one on one’ basis and I have stood in front of a group of people and delivered the same course material. In both instances I have received ‘blank stares’ from equally ‘blank faces’, when, as I go through the course material, I have asked the question (that I am sure most of you who have delivered any kind of course material, asks from time to time) “Do you understand what I have just said or would you like to ask a question?”
I am not sure if it is because people are scared of looking like a fool, or what the reason is, but somehow, somewhere, someone has no idea of what it is that I have just said and they don’t ask any questions! I cannot understand this at all. You see for me, a person looks more like a fool, if they tell me that they understand something when they don’t, because when it comes to doing the practical side of things and they can’t do it, then they look like the fool. I am often heard saying that ‘the only stupid question is the one that you do not ask’.
I’ve got to the point now, from pure frustration, where, when people tell me that they understand what it is that I have just said, I ask them to firstly repeat what I have said and then secondly I ask them to tell me in their own words what they understand from the statement – you’d be amazed at the different kinds of answers that I get! Some of them would be really amusing if the situation were any different.
So ask the question, it doesn’t matter how stupid you may think that you look or feel – but at the end of the day, you will be the one that understands the content and you will be the one that will stand ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest.