A Stupid Question?

You’ve heard it said, “There is no such thing as a stupid question!” But is that really true? Without over-analyzing grammatical syntax, the implication of the term stupid question is really that the questioner is, themselves, stupid. So the real issue is whether or not asking any question is simply revealing your stupidity.
Let’s not drag this out. Let’s cut right to the chase. No. If you ask a question you are not displaying stupidity. And I can prove it to you.
First, stupidity (the lack, or a lower value, of intelligence) has nothing to do with knowledge. You can be the smartest person in the world and, if you don’t know something, you just don’t know it. A smarter person may have an easier time learning things, they may even be able to extrapolate things they don’t know from other things they already do, but not knowing isn’t stupid. It is just lack of knowledge. And that can be fixed.
So how do you fix it? You learn it. And how do you learn it? You look it up. You research it. You take courses. You read. And you ask questions.
Not asking questions isn’t stupid either. But it is foolish. You may be uncomfortable or even down right afraid to ask a question in a public forum. That’s just one more reason to have a mentor you can approach privately! But it isn’t a lack of intelligence that leads to that type of behavior and being uncomfortable, or being shy, can also be fixed. It starts with simply doing and continues through practice.
I offer a number of online workshops and study programs and I regularly tell my students to consider this: Albert Einstein, the physicist, is consider to have been perhaps the most intelligent person to have ever lived, but YOU are more computer literate than he was. Think about that. YOU are more capable with the computer you are using right now to read this than was the quintessential genius Albert Einstein. Why? Because of lack of intelligence on Einstein’s part?
Hardly. It wasn’t stupidity. It was simply lack of knowledge. For all his intelligence Einstein knew nothing about personal computers. I know this because I know that personal computers weren’t even invented during Einstein’s lifetime. Without the knowledge it just didn’t matter how smart he was.
So, think what you could do with just a little more knowledge? Got a question? Ask it!

5 Responses to A Stupid Question?

  1. Kathy Henderson-Sturtz October 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    The only stupid question is the one not expressed when an answer was wanted and had the potential to be useful. My experience is that every time someone precedes asking a question with “This is probably a stupid question but…” there’s at least one other person needing the answer and wishing they had the nerve to ask that very question and very grateful the other person spoke up!
    Kathy Henderson-Sturtz recently posted..Sometimes it’s best just to let goMy Profile

    • Steve October 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      Exactly! When you bundle up enough courage to pose (and post) your question, you are not only helping yourself, you are potentially helping many others who aren’t quite there yet. And, not only do you help then, by virtue of the answer you get, with their unasked question, by stepping forward you give others the courage to do the same. Nice.
      Steve recently posted..A Stupid Question?My Profile

  2. Lisa October 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    I loved this one! I have always been quite inquisitive and at times, I’ve been told a bit too much. I like asking questions. Like Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I think it was Socrates, haha! 🙂 Loved the bit about us having more computer knowledge than Einstein, an interesting idea to ponder. Thanks for making me think today 🙂
    Lisa recently posted..A Different Take on BullyingMy Profile

    • Steve October 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      Lisa, always glad to make you think. And I have a post coming up shortly on that, too. :o)

  3. Cheri October 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    That Einstein bit is an effective way to make a point. Just this afternoon I was completing a task, and my husband commented that he doesn’t know where I learn to do things. I told him I just seek out the information and then I learn it. Sure, there have been times I haven’t wanted to ask something–whether in person or online–but usually I have the gumption to realize that if I don’t ask in some form or another, I’m probably not going to learn the answer, and that just seems silly, if it’s something I want to know.
    Cheri recently posted..Snapshot Sunday #10My Profile

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