One of the fundamental truths of life is that there will always be questions.
We come up with answers to questions on a daily basis, but new answers can often result in new questions.
No matter how far we advance as a species, we will always have questions that need answers. It can feel uncomfortable asking questions. Questions imply that we don’t have the answer, which in turn, can make us feel stupid.
It’s one of the reasons a lot of us don’t like asking for help for fear of being ridiculed. While this is a fear many of us hold, it is not a legitimate one.
Questions are vital to ask. They allow us to plug gaps in our knowledge and they are one of the most important ways we advance as a species.
Without questions and our inquisitive nature we would have not developed to the point we have reached today. Questions are a vital part of our existence and we should not be afraid to ask them.
When we feel afraid of asking a question for fear of ridicule, it’s important to remember that no matter how smart someone is, or was, no one has all the answers.
I have recently bought the last book written by Stephen Hawking before his death, Brief Answers To The Big Questions.
It’s an eye-opening and stimulating read, which I highly recommend, but I mention it for another reason. I mention it because Hawking is considered to be one of the smartest people that ever lived. Yet in the book, he asks questions and ponders the answers.
When you read the book you realise how smart Hawking was. He was a genius in the field of theoretical physics, but he was also wise.
Hawking was not afraid of asking questions, in fact, he revelled in it. He enjoyed pondering the bigger questions in life and seeing whether he could answer them or not.
Despite his profound intellect, Hawking did not shy away from the fact that there were some questions he did not know the answer to.
In fact, he embraced it.
Hawking enjoyed pondering these questions, he saw it as a challenge and something that we should all do more of. While Hawking is viewed as a genius by most, the fact remains that even he did not have all the answers.
Hawking was at the cutting edge of theoretical physics for the majority of his life, but in his last book, he makes no bones about the fact there are some things he does not have an answer for.
This may bring a sense of disappointment, in some of us, but Hawking frames it differently. He sees it as an opportunity to learn and grow. To acquire new insights and push the realms of human knowledge.
We may feel stupid from time to time when we ask questions, but we need to frame the situation differently.
We need to look back to when we were children. Back then, we had no inhibitions about asking questions. It’s what children do, they are curious about the world, and to quench their curiosity, they ask questions.
As we grow up, we lose this sense of curiosity and neglect to ask questions. Maybe it is a result of growing up, or maybe it is a sense of ambivalence that grows inside us as we get older.
Whatever causes this malaise, it is important that we regain our childlike curiosity and not be afraid to question what we are unsure of.
Answers Are Only The Beginning
Questions are an important part of life and we should be asking them constantly. It’s important to remember that it is ok to ask questions and that it’s ok not to have an answer.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we develop a fear of what others may think of us.
“If I ask too many questions, they’ll think I’m stupid.”
“What if that question is stupid?”
“They might not know the answer anyway.”
These are all thoughts that have flittered through my mind at times when I have debated asking a question or not.
Most of the time I can ignore these thoughts, go ahead, and ask the questions regardless. But other times, I have given in to these thoughts and passed up opportunities to learn and grow.
We need to realise it’s ok not to have all the answers. We are human, it’s impossible to know everything. We are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world, we can only understand so much.
One of the beauties of life is that there will always be questions to be answered. There will always be areas for development and growth.
Instead of viewing this as a negative, we should use it as a positive and dedicate ourselves to constantly questioning the world around us, and our role in it.
Questions are what make life interesting, they are salt in the soup. Without them, and without new answers to find, life would be rather dull.