When I was young, my little brother always asked questions. The slightest spark of curiosity elicited my brother to ask anything he felt like without hesitation. He cared about the who, the what, the where, the when, the how, and of course, the why.
As time went on, he began to stop asking questions, as most children do.
I’m not sure when we decide to let life take control and society dictate our paths rather than pausing and questioning whether we are truly satisfied with our lives and everything surrounding it. This going with the flow phenomenon as we get older causes us to replace our curiosity with mere acceptance. We accept what others claim as being right or wrong. We accept the social constructs of how one’s life should be lived. We accept our lives for what they are, regardless if we are satisfied or not.
We fail to question these things because we think we know enough already (emphasizing the think). We cannot settle for enough because we do not know enough, nor will we ever.
Not asking questions is a problem. A huge problem. Why is this a huge problem? Why in fact is it so important to ask questions?
Because we get answers. And without answers, we move through life without knowing. Not knowing is sad, destructive, and impedes fulfillment. Not knowing is a problem.
Those who ask these questions are the ones who will thrive.
These individuals who are willing to ask the big and daunting questions should be admired and appreciated (rather than being snickered at or criticized) for they are (more than likely) allowing us to hear the answers to things we didn't even know ourselves. They’re the ones who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Need further proof? Think about the most successful, most influential leaders of the world. They all started off by asking simple questions. Think of Steve Jobs. All he asked was, “Who is Apple and where do we fit in this world?” This question allowed Apple to become a $1 trillion-dollar company. Steve Jobs has since then become one of the most acclaimed innovative thinkers of the world. Innovation is a much-needed quality today, and innovation stems from asking questions. Now think of key figures like Malala Yousafzai, who asked for girls to have the right to an education in Pakistan. She has since then sparked the conversation of educational rights for women all over the world. She is a leader of change. She is someone who has changed our global society for the better, all because she asked a question.
If we want to make an impact and leave the world a better place, we, therefore, cannot take an ignorance-based approach to life. We need to throw the “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” mantra in the trash because, in the end, ignorance destroys and only holds us back from finding fulfillment. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Essentially, we cannot navigate our lives relying on just our own intuition, because merely relying on just our own intuition stunts our growth and can impact those around us, for worse. If we want to change our society for the better, we need to pose questions to others that will spark conversation. We need to hear others’ perspectives and values to understand all kinds of seamless possibilities which will inevitably allow us to find the answers we are looking for.
Not only do we need to ask others questions, but we also need to ask ourselves questions. We need to question our values, our choices, the things we dictate that measure our success. If we don’t ask ourselves these questions, we may never realize that some of our ideas only hold us back preventing us from enrichment.
We need to recognize that asking questions is not the same thing as being ignorant. There is no such thing as a stupid question (actually there is. It’s questioning whether or not you should ask a question that’s a stupid question, because this shouldn’t even be a question!). Quite frankly it’s exactly the opposite. Questions lead to answers, and answers lead to curing ignorance.
However, I think that people don’t ask questions due to more deeply rooted feelings instead of the worry of appearing to be ignorant. I think that unconditional fear that we have in asking questions is, in fact, finding out the answer.
Answers can be scary. Knowing can change everything. However, we must recognize that although in the short-term these answers can appear detrimental and life-altering, in the long run, these answers can be the fuel and path to our fulfillment.
We need to question everything. Because questioning everything develops humility. Questions are the source of everything and the way we can cultivate the life we want.