It's Better To Look Stupid Than To Be Stupid

Asking stupid questions is always better than correcting stupid mistakes.

I spent fifteen years as a university professor, and I’ve spent the last fifteen years as a professional speaker in several hundred organizations. One thing I’ve noticed in both environments is people’s reluctance to ask questions. No one wants to give the impression of not knowing something.

That’s sad, but it’s also insane. The fastest learners on earth are human children because they’re not afraid to ask questions. Oh, they may drive us crazy, asking “why” for the tenth time, but they’re also on the surest road to success — the gathering of additional information.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture where, as some people say, “appearances are everything.” In other words, if you don’t know everything, at least look like you know everything. Don’t ask questions. That will blow your cover.

Again, that’s insane. It’s insane when people would rather remain stupid than appear stupid.

So go out there and ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about what other people think. Your success is more important than their approval. And your success will come in direct proportion to the number of questions you ask.


Action:  Decide to make this a week where you gain at least one significant insight. Find a person at work that is truly excellent at what she does. Tell that person you respect her work, and then ASK that person if she would share one thing that has really helped her be successful.