Character Creates Opportunity® – Ask the Question: January 8, 2015

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, today’s topic is on the importance of asking questions that can help us learn, grow, and reach our full potential.

Have you even been in a situation where you had no clue about what someone was talking about or no understanding about a concept that a close group of friends or colleagues were discussing?  Most of us have had an experience or two like that and we will most likely have more as we continue along in our lives.

We have all heard the old saying, “there are no stupid questions.” However, we have all experienced a few times when that has not always been the case and so our tendency is to keep quiet, muddle through, and hope we won’t look like a complete fool in the discussion.

The problem with keeping quiet and muddling through is that without asking questions to gain understanding, we don’t add “new tools to our toolbox,” our growth is hindered, and we fall short of reaching our full potential.

We learn and grow when we move beyond our current borders. One very simple and effective way to grow is to have the courage to ask a question when we don’t understand.

Recently, there has been a great deal of published research on the benefits of asking questions that I hope will encourage all of us to ask when we don’t understand.

One conclusion from the research is that when we ask questions to better understand a topic, we learn (not too surprising).  However, there were two additional conclusions that I hope will encourage all of us to overcome the fear of asking questions: (1) When we ask people a question about a topic or idea they are discussing, we are actually providing them with some encouragement and a boost of confidence.  People feel better about themselves when they are genuinely asked a question from someone who wants to learn.  Encouragement and confidence…what a nice gift we can give someone just by asking a question.  (2) In turn, because that person feels affirmed and a little more confident about themselves, they actual think more highly of the person who asked them the question.Ask a Question

In essence, when we genuinely ask questions to learn; (1) We learn (2) We encourage others and (3) People end up thinking more highly of us, which could open doors for future opportunities for growth and raise the bar on our potential.

So the next time we are involved in a discussion around an idea or a concept we don’t understand, stop and ask a question…every time.  We will be headed in the right direction.

When we develop the courage to ask a question, we build and strengthen our character, and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to learn, grow, and reach our full potential.