Growing up, asking questions was my MO. If I didn’t know the answer to a problem or issue, my teachers and parents encouraged me to seek it out. I have always been the type of person who was and is hungry for knowledge, a forever learner; I will not give up until I figured out the answer. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I was never too proud to ask for help when needed, to get further clarification or guidance about something.
I was that girl in school who was waving her hands in the air like she just didn’t care. I was basically the OG Hermione (without the whole magic thing).
When I got to college (a psychology major), I quickly learned how to analyze a question down to it’s nitty gritty parts. I could rephrase them, identify which questions were good to ask, who to ask them to, and what the best time to ask them was. Contrary to how it may seem, I began to see that asking questions meant that you were on top of the game; instead of falling behind, scrambling like your morning’s egg breakfast to catch up, you were moving forward.
It was only after I had graduated grad school when my comfort level and view on asking questions changed. Suddenly, I was thrown into this in-between place, this working professional, adulting phase of my life where everything was just. so. new. I knew I had to ask questions (or I knew I should be asking questions) — questions regarding certain processes and procedures at work (Who do I talk to about ordering more books for the library?”), my 401K (What is it and how do I get one?”), my car (So, that ‘Check Engine’ light thingy being lit up isn’t a good thing, right?”), and life in general (Would I look good with a bob?”).
I knew I should have been asking these questions, but I also felt that as a 28-year old strong independent working woman, I’m was and am at a place in my life where I should know what I was and am doing.
Should being the operative word here.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over and over again (sometimes this required learning the hard way), it’s that just because you reach a certain point in your life–whether it’s your 28th, 45th, 83rd birthday, graduation from college, your wedding day or when you finally get that promotion at work–you’ll never just magically have all the answers.
That’s something only my girl Hermione would be able to do. And yet she still would be all about asking questions.
No, it’s not about the reaching a particular age, or checking off a certain accomplishment; it’s about the process, the journey and what you learn about the world, life, and more importantly yourself, along the way.
If I could offer any piece of advice to you, and to myself, it would be to never, ever stop asking questions.
I work as a librarian so part of my job is helping to answer questions that students pose to me, all day, every day. I’m in the business of knowing. But that doesn’t mean that I do.
Know everything that is.
Not even close, my friends. I don’t think I’m finished learning and honestly, I hope I never will be. Somewhere along the line, we got this idea that asking questions meant that you were inferior, unintelligent, or incompetent. I say this because for a very long time, I was afraid to ask questions for fear of being seen as these very things. Over time however, I began to realize that there is power in a good question. You are taking the initiative to seek out the answers. Not only that, but having the ability to acknowledge what you know, as well as what you don’t is invaluable. If you can see your weak points and have the courage to challenge them head on, you can grow.
Having a lifelong curiosity can only help us, can only feed us, can only fuel our passion and drive to succeed. Why would anyone want to stop that?!
If you’re not certain about a certain policy at work, ask your manager or fellow co-worker. Believe me, he or she would rather you take a few minutes to ask them about something that could be very important, than have you just take an educated guess and risk royally messing up (I’ve been there, done that and let me tell you, not so fun). If you’re not sure which healthcare plan would be the best, ask the medical professionals or your insurance company for further clarification. If you’ve driven past that same sign four times, your GPS is yelling at you, and still don’t see where the turn off for the highway is, ask for directions.
But most of all, if you’re still trying to figure out where you want to be, what you want to do, or who you want to become, ask yourself. Take some time to think about and reflect on all that you’ve experienced in the past and the goals you have set for the future; the things that excite you, are passionate about, and make you smile. Be sure to also recognize the things that still challenge you, scare you and/or make you doubt yourself.
You might get the answers to these questions right away, in ten days, in five years, or 30 years down the road. You may never quite figure it out.
But that’s okay.
Life has a funny way of working itself out, even when we don’t think it will.
In fact, it’s usually the exact moment when we start to doubt, that life will throw us the answer in the most unexpected of ways.
The important thing is that you continue to ask the tough questions. Questions to your teachers, your friends, your parents and yourself. Never stop wondering, learning, achieving, growing.