The progress of humankind has been possible because people are curious and ask questions. From the beginning of time, people have asked why, how, and is there a better way? We have never accepted a situation as permanent. If we had, we would still be living in caves. The sea of knowledge is infinite. Asking questions is the key to getting answers.

Children embody this. They are the epitome of curiosity. Kids ask questions about anything and everything. Their world is a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Children have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. They want to know why, why not, what for, how, and when. Getting into the habit of regularly asking questions connects you with the inexhaustible quest for knowledge you had as a child.

Yet, in spite of the proven value of questions, there are those who never question anything. They accept their circumstances as inevitable. They don’t seek to enhance their understanding of a situation. There is no curiosity as to ways of improving their effectiveness in reaching goals.

There will always be much more that you don’t know, compared to what you do know. So, ask questions to get the information or answers you need. The learning process is dependent on asking questions. Asking questions is a sign of intelligence. Intelligent people are identifiable by the questions they ask. Not asking questions keeps you ignorant.

All smart, accomplished individuals ask lots of questions. They never accept the status quo. They constantly seek more information. Their curiosity knows no bounds. The top experts and specialists in every field always seek to increase their knowledge by asking questions. Asking the right questions is how you get pertinent information.

Have you been asked to do something at work but didn’t understand why? Did you wonder why there were certain procedures you had to follow? Has a doctor given you information which didn’t make sense? Have you been curious as to why a part on your car broke? Were you ever unsure of how to tackle a problem? Asking questions broadens your perspective. You learn more than you realize.

Never hesitate to ask questions of anyone. A person’s willingness to answer questions is an indication of their level of expertise. Those who are confident in their knowledge are happy to provide explanations when asked. A person who isn’t willing to answer questions may not be a good source of reliable information.

Questions are especially essential when you are given information which doesn’t make sense. Don’t simply accept information because the source claims to be knowledgeable. Be wary if the person giving you the information claims you shouldn’t question it. Legitimate information will always hold up to scrutiny.

The process of formulating questions requires a great deal of thought. It greatly accelerates the learning process. Your brain becomes stronger through use. Formulating a question requires you to analyze a problem and consider various perspectives.

A questioning mind is always thinking. You are looking for underlying concepts. You want to comprehend the reason for doing something a certain way. You are interested in people’s motivation.

Understanding why and when something is done is just as important in knowing how to do it. Even when you have a well-developed skill, use questions to explore how you can boost your expertise. There is usually a way to do something better or more efficiently.

Asking questions gives you valuable insights you would not otherwise have. Don’t allow anyone to inhibit your questions through intimidation. Asking questions is a skill which improves with practice.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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