A few years ago I took my boy on a trip that we make together every year. We left the house at 6 a.m. on Monday and got home at 9 p.m. on Thursday. That is just 87 hours. However, that is 84,293 questions!
I mean, 10-year-old kids can ask questions! They are question machines! It was a virtual question-palooza! He wanted to know why we got up so early, why we chose that airline, when we would get there, what things meant in the books we were reading, how they got the jelly filling in the donuts, and on… and on… and on…. For four days!! Even my friend who drove us to the airport told my wife later that he asks a lot of questions, even at 6 a.m.! Anyway, you get the point.
I found myself repeatedly saying what thousands of you have said many times yourself, I’m sure:
Stop asking so many questions!
And then it hit me: This is why so many people lose their ability to achieve success. We tell them to stop asking so many questions. That’s right; we methodically strip our children of their innate inquisitiveness. And then when they get older we wonder why they don’t think for themselves! We told them to stop asking questions! They were born with a desire to understand the world around them and we, because of our frustration with the process, tell them to stop asking questions. What happens when you tell someone repeatedly to stop asking questions? They stop asking questions. It is a classic example of negative feedback and association. The chances are high that it happened to you to some degree.
But being inquisitive is inherent to long-term success. We must constantly be asking questions of others and ourselves. We must relentlessly be questioning processes that we use. We must always question whether or not products can be improved. Questioning is what produces new answers, which leads us to break new ground.
Where does that leave us? Recommit yourself to asking lots of questions. Start by going through the basics: Who, what, when, where, why and how. Except, put “why” at the front of the list. Why? Because “why” gets behind the scenes more than the other questions do. “Why” deals with more than facts; it deals with motives and reasons. “Why” can be very enlightening.
After all, “Why” is about 80 percent of all of the questions that kids ask, and if anybody knows how to ask questions, it’s kids. That is, if we let them.
So, as you live your life, let yourself ask lots of questions. Yes, people will wonder if you are a troublemaker, but you will know that you are pursuing enlightenment, knowledge, and the wisdom that will take you far beyond those who choose to live as others tell them life shall be lived!
Don’t stop asking so many questions, and if you have kids at home, don’t stop them either!