“ Beta, aap sawaal mat karo.”

“ Tum bahut sawaal bahut kartein ho.”

‘ He keeps asking questions, it is so painful.’

‘ You are asking questions because you did not pay attention in the class.’

If these statements remind you of your childhood, then you are on the right track. The focus of this article is on the lost act of questioning and how our intellectual growth is stunted and the quest for wisdom is hugely impacted when our natural tendency to ask questions is initially discouraged and finally demolished completely in our childhood.

The impact is so deep that even as we become adults, we continue in that same vein of thinking and are more comfortable following commands, requests, suggestions, advises and orders. We rarely, if ever, question what we have been told, not even trying to understand the logic and reason behind the statement, not allowing for the scope of possibility that the speaker’s knowledge in the field might be outdated and it’s the confidence that they have on the subject, rather than the depth of effort they put in continuously, which is reflected in their approach.

And this very lack of confidence in asking questions, decides our destiny in many cases. And we either realise it too late, or worst never realise, that had we questioned many things in early stage in life, our lives would have been completely different.

  • Why should I do Engineering just because everyone else is doing it?
  • Why should I not take the public transport and spoil myself with the privilege of a private car, when former is more efficient and faster?
  • Why should lack of strong financial prospects discourage me from a career in sports?
  • Why should I work late in the night in office just because others are and why can I not come to office early in the morning and work?
  • Yes, parents might prefer me waking up early and studying, but as a teenager, one is naturally prone to studying late in the night.  

The simple art of questioning does two things. First, it helps one to re-evaluate the boundary conditions or rules that constitute a fact. And even if the original understanding still holds true, gives one the sense of satisfaction that the due diligence has been done in the decision made.

  • Why should I work for so many years in a job which is not giving me any significant learning? Just because a long tenure in one company is the norm in the industry and I get some brownie points which might really not be of much value eventually?
  • Why should I be asked to make all three meals everyday ? Instead, if a cook is coming and doing the task, then I can probably earn two or three times more than the cost of the cook and the extra income can benefit the family, while I get to make use of my talent and further my career prospects as well.
  • Why should the kid not be playing for 30-45 mins every day, even during the exams, if it can help him free up his mind, refresh himself, defocus and come back with some positive vigor and energy and his productivity levels in studying goes up significantly after play?
  • Why should we all still discourage gaming blindly, when professional gaming is now established as a career with people making handsome money, it is having great benefits in-terms of reflexes and ‘gamification’ being the hot terminology to motivate people to do the most mundane of tasks, either at work or at home.
  • Do I need to eat a third bhatura? Do I need to have it just to please the host?
  • Do I need to continue watching this movie, just because others are happy (perception) watching it? Why not save the next one hour, even if the last two are already gone? If nothing else, I can just go, take a walk, get some fresh air?

In almost every aspect of a normal day, there is scope to rethink, to question and to change what we do. Why should I continue sitting? Why should I not take a break from watching the TV every 25 mins, walk around and ensure good blood-circulations? Why should I not try saying no to that extra helping of sweet? Why should I not get irritated by that type of music my kid is playing? – just because I do not like it, does not mean it is bad.

In Summary, the process of questioning is the how knowledge evolves, and wisdom is gained. It helps us give logic to our quest for knowledge. It re-ignites the need to know. So, keep asking questions. Most importantly, stop discouraging kids from asking questions. Question them if they do not ask enough questions. Question your way to success, question your way to enlightenment !

here are some questions to end on a funny note. please add more comments and join the fun!

Pic credit: gkbria