It goes without saying that neither you nor any human being on the planet has all the answers. Everyone on earth is slowly learning and growing every single day. Each person picks up new knowledge and information every so often to add to their natural database of knowledge in their brains. To achieve this end, we must ask questions.
Since the dawn of time and the beginning of understanding knowledge and civilization, asking questions has been a part of the human canon. We all know that we’re capable of asking questions. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, many begin to feel ashamed of doing this instead of pretending to know many things.
This kind of behavior is completely against natural human development. It’s also a toxic way to live your life, as you need others’ input to grow and change for the better. Still not convinced? Here are 11 reasons why it’s important to ask questions.
1. It’s How Human Beings Naturally Learn
From the time you were a child, you learned by asking questions. You learned through a mix of positive and negative experiences – and a whole lot of curiosity.
That’s how human beings continue to operate well into adulthood. The only difference is that you lose your lack of shame and fear as you grow older. Eventually, you’re not sure if it’s okay to ask questions or not.
The good news? Most of the time, questions are totally welcome, so ask away! Bring back that childlike curiosity you once had. You’ll find that your brain adapts very well to learning by making queries.
2. It Lets You Reflect
Questions don’t have to be asked to others. Sometimes, you can ask them of yourself. This comes in handy most during periods of self-reflection. Self-reflection is the act of pausing and taking some time out to think back on current or past situations. During self-reflection, you would typically:
- Consider your behaviors, whether past or present, and determine if they are still suitable
- Pinpoint the sources of mistakes or negative actions on your part
- Determine what lessons you’ve learned from the time you’re reflecting on
- Decide how you best handle similar situations in the future
Self-reflection is a very positive and highly crucial step for personal self-improvement. If you don’t question yourself, you can never truly reflect in this manner. Here are some examples of questions you might ask yourself during this reflection period:
- How did I feel during the time of the incident?
- Is there anything that bothered me over the week that I haven’t address?
- How did I react when that event happened? Was it on reflex? If so, what triggered it?
- How can I communicate this need in the future?
- Do I feel fulfilled in my work? If not, why?
- What can I do to improve my situation?
- What is the takeaway from the mistake I made?
- How can I better myself for the future?
- What would be a wiser way to handle things if this issue arises again?
3. It Helps You Understand What You Face
Life is full of challenges that come at you almost constantly, and chances are you’re facing one right now. Asking questions in that situation will allow you to skip the guesswork and get down to the nitty-gritty of the problem.
Often, you may spend a lot of energy simply trying to use inference to figure out what needs to be done. Asking questions, even if you don’t get a straight answer, will clearly indicate your areas of focus and provide additional insight.
4. It Provides Gifts To Your Mind
When you ask questions, you’re gifting your brain numerous benefits that it can use later. Here are some things that are “gifted” to you from the simple act of asking questions:
Questioning the things around you makes your brain more flexible, allowing for better perception, more tolerance and understanding, and an increased ability to be unbiased in your life.
When you ask questions, new signals and patterns in the brain are formed, pinging back and forth. The more patterns the brain creates in this process, the more likely it is to become flexible. In this context, being flexible means accessing additional stored memories and information without returning to a previous, less-functional state.
· Positive Thinking
Asking questions, especially if it’s difficult for you, gives you a better understanding of how much control you have over your life and actions. This can help you feel more at peace with yourself as you learn to regulate and manage your emotions for the future.
5. It Gives You Better Answers
Trying to solve something based only on your insight or answer works only in cases of objective truth or fact – and that’s only if you know that fact, to begin with. But with more subjective dilemmas, asking for help or ideas from outside opinions can be very beneficial. This is because:
- More perspectives give you more ideas to tackle the situation – and more combined years of experience behind it all
- Your brain automatically jumps to the first solution it thinks of and can benefit from other ideas
- Other people offer unbiased answers to your situations; you may be too close to your own situation to find a truly rational answer on your own
6. It Makes You Learn Instead Of Judge
It’s easy for human beings to slip into the bad habit of judging others instead of seeking to learn their point of view. You can break this habit or pattern by learning to ask polite questions before you even think of judging someone. This is a clearly positive trait, as it:
- Stops you from hurrying in
- Gives you the chance to gather all needed information
- Informs you whether a solution is needed
- Keeps you trained on the big picture
7. It Encourages Cooperation
Asking questions is a good ice-breaker for many situations, but it also forces you to work with other people. This teaches you lessons in teamwork and/or leadership, depending on the role you happen to take on.
Collaboration comes with a lot of great power. For years, research has indicated more positive results from those working in cooperative groups than those working alone. As such, putting all your heads together is more likely to result in success than you attempting to go solo.
But you can’t fully cooperate if you act above everyone else! Asking questions shows the others on your team that you’re willing to listen to them, encouraging better collaboration and idea-sharing.
8. People Will Like You More
Have you ever been in a situation where someone introduces themselves to you, then spends ages talking about just themselves? Chances are you wound up not liking that person very much. On the other hand, you may have noticed that you tend to get along more with people who ask you about yourself.
Studies show that you are more likely to make a positive impression on someone if you ask them questions first. This is for several reasons:
- Human beings naturally reciprocate subconsciously perceived favors; after you listen to them, they are likely to want to listen to you in return.
- Most people like talking about themselves and are appreciative of those who let them do that.
- Letting others talk about themselves first gives you the chance to demonstrate your active listening skills, showing your conversation partner that you’re a good person to talk to
- You have the chance to ask memorable and unusual questions that will leave a lasting memory of you in the other person’s mind.
9. It Will Make You A Better Leader
There’s a saying that the best leaders are good followers. This is probably why high-and-mighty, know-it-all leaders are the kind, never of asking anyone any questions. Don’t be that kind of person!
A survey actually found a link between effectiveness in leadership and curiosity. Those who ask more questions of the people they work with tend to be viewed as better leaders. When you ask people questions, you’re showing them that you care while also collecting information that you as a leader may require.
10. When You Ask Questions It Can Influence Others
When you ask someone a question, you have the ability to ask it in a specific way that will lead them to the answer you want them to have. This is a prevalent tactic used in methods of persuasion.
While this isn’t something you’ll want to do with friends, family members, or even most colleagues, it’s a nifty trick that can work wonders in certain situations. Hone your ability to use it to your advantage, and you’ll be pretty impressed with the results!
11. It Forces You To Rethink
Sometimes, asking questions will net you an answer that you absolutely were not expecting. In that situation, you have to rethink your entire perspective and approach. It can be quite a shock at first, but maintain your positive thinking!
You need to look on the bright side of this kind of situation. Being unwittingly forced to rethink your stances is actually a fantastic thing. It shows that you’ve met an intellectual equal and gives you the chance to learn something completely new and unexpected.
This can open up the floor for more questions. Ask that the person elaborate on their point of view, or ask a quick clarifying question. You might soon find yourself in the middle of a fascinating discussion!
It’s easy to fall into a habit of being a know-it-all but refrain. The act of asking questions is beautiful and ripe with possibility. The people around you have so many unique ideas and perspectives to share and know more about certain topics than you do. You truly have nothing to lose by asking these questions to those with more information.
We don’t need to maintain the tropes of never asking for directions, faking knowledge to look cool, or being too proud to request knowledge from those who have it. It’s time to take bravery and curiosity into your hands and ask questions to your heart’s content. Who knows what knowledge you’ll uncover in this manner?