Knowledge is having right answer, when in doubt ask

Knowledge is having right answer, when in doubt ask

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.

In life, we often do not have answers to most questions; be it concerning ourselves, others or situations. We read situations, make assumptions and arrive at decisions many times.

We all scramble to arrive at solutions, whereas most times what is more important is not the solution but the right path to the solution.

So how do you get to the right path? Simply put, when in doubt, ask. Truth be told, knowledge is having the right answer, whereas intelligence is asking the right question.

The art and science of asking the right questions is the source of all knowledge. The biggest mysteries or challenges of life have been solved not by doing the right things or making the right moves, but rather by asking the right questions.

Let us take the example of one of the most revolutionary inventions made by man — the wheel. The earliest wheels are believed to have been used for pottery making. Imagine if human beings back then did not question how this simple tool could be put to better use.

They probably could have never dreamt of the radical change that simple questions could ever trigger. We would still be riding on camels or horses or even worse walking between the ends of the earth.

Despite the fact that someone back then dared to ask the defining question, it took almost 300 years to use the wheels for transportation.

Although the wheel revolutionised the way early human beings travelled and transported goods, it was not a perfect invention. Asking questions about it triggered an unprecedented shift in human and technological evolution.

It is often said that judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. Yet many of us lay more focus on getting answers than asking questions.

Or even worse, some bury questions under the carpet. Here are some interesting facts about the art of asking the right questions. The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know very little, if not nothing; many people think they either know too much or too little.

The ego of knowing too much makes them feel belittled to ask questions. On the other hand, knowing too little sets in the complex of feeling stupid. Either way, people desist from asking questions.

But remember; He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool for ever. If you are afraid of asking questions then you are ashamed of learning. So whether you know too much or too little, don’t hesitate to put up your hand and ask a question.

There is no stupid question, stupid people do not ask questions. They fear looking silly, fear about how others will react or fear about the impression they will create of themselves.

The result, they desist from asking questions even when in doubt. Remember, Don’t be afraid of the answers. Be afraid of not asking the right questions. You don’t learn anything by talking, you learn things only when you ask questions.

Ask the right questions if you want to find the right answers: Asking the right questions takes as much skill as getting the right answers.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Take risk, ask more questions, and more importantly, ask the right question.

Making mistakes

Don’t ever be scared of asking the wrong questions, you are not reaching far enough if you are not making your share of mistakes or if you are not asking the right questions. Successful people ask better questions and as a result get better answers.

Take the attitude of a student, never too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new. You are never big enough to know everything, or to have solutions to all problems.

You learn more when you ask questions rather than talking about it. If you are a sales person, the purpose of asking questions is to find out the pain that either you have or that others have. When you understand the pain, you are better equipped to offer solutions.

So while most people find asking questions either difficult or fearful, here are a few tips on how you can cultivate the art of asking questions:

One, research about the subject.

Knowing about the subject in question can trigger your thoughts or steer them in the right direction. And when you are in the right direction, you ask the right questions that take you closer to the right answers.

Two, remind yourself that asking questions does not make you a stupid, instead it is the other way round. You will remain stupid if you don’t ask the right questions to the right people at the right time. And remember, no time is the right time other than now. So go ahead and ask.

Three, complicated questions may have simple answers, so don’t think that your complicated questions will complicate your situation. Every complex questions have relatively simple answer.

Bharatam is the founder and Chief Mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. Sri chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. He can be reached @Sbharatam or

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