Rule #7 Continued: Ask Questions

Asking question is more of an art form than a science. I'm reminded of the scene from Labyrinth when the protagonist asks "How do I solve this labyrinth." The answer of course was to go deeper into the labyrinth. But she didn't want to solve the labyrinth, she wanted to to got the castle. A task we discover was very easy if she had only asked the right question, perhaps "How do I get to the castle?". It's a silly example but should make it clear that the primary obstacle to knowledge is asking the correct question. Or just asking question in general. 

A common saying is "Curiosity killed the cat." I'm not sure of the origin of it but my Dad would never let me use that as an excuse to not learn something or ask questions. "But satisfaction brought it back" would always be his reply. Turns out he was right. The saying was much like the novel Frankenstein pointing out the "folly" of ambition. Unfortunately it's very wrong. Ambition drives creativity, innovation, and learning. I learn because I want to know. I ask questions for the same reason. The curious cat may end up dead, there is clearly a risk to curiosity and ambition, but the curious cat always learns something. And if he does die he dies happy.

This lesson of asking questions is one of the few I can look back on and say I wish I had learned it much earlier. Specifically this stamen: "Ask questions and insist on answers." I was always a curious child but I was too polite to ask a question that may embarks someone or myself. I should have asked those questions. I would have learned that my 4th grad teacher was an achiest who was trying to teach me the principles of relative morals and natural selection instead of having to find out 15 years later and having to unlearn her dogmatic lessons. I would have learned that my collage physics teacher was incompetent much sooner and taken a greater effort to teach myself the material. I would have learned my Grandmother was a Christian Scientist and that much of what she taught me was not only from her religious doctrine but completely false.

I feel my posts about Rule #7 are rather week which is a shame for such an important topic. I'll have to really spend some time meditating on this one to catch up. So I leave with this. 


5 Keys to learning

  1. Be curious, Be ambitious.
  2. Ask questions and insist on answers
  3. Be humble and willing to learn anything from anyone.
  4. The most effective way to learn is to teach.
  5. Find wise councelers and listen to them.


Best forture cookie I've ever gotten. "A man who asks a question is ignorant for a minute. A man who never asks is ignorant for a lifetime." How many times have I missed out on an answer because I was embarrassed to ask and look ignorant. Prime example: my 15 y/o brother-in-law is in many areas smarter than me. He'll ask me a question with the looming unstated, "if you don't know the answer, I'll be happy to tell you," and I want to keep his respect and act like I already know. So far, I've listened to that stale fortune cookie with it's priceless advice and I've both learned much, and never seemed to lose his confidence in my intelligence.

Yeah I actually got the "Ask question and insist on answers" part from anothe blog post. Not sure from where though. I also heard a little teaching about askign questions to get your money's worth from collage. If the professor is bad force him to teach you by asking good quesitons.