What is the one thing that drives you to live a better life? One thing that helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…
Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?
“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?… What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”
The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.
Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.
Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.
On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,
“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”
It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?
- fosters your creativity
- foster critical thinking skills
- can help you advance in your field
- increases your knowledge and aids your memory
- can help you discover new ideas and information
- can help you make better decisions
- and can help you to identify the unknown
Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.
Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone – has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.
I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.
It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.
We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:
- Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
- Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
- Look for a quoted source for all claims and statistics.
- Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication causes me to sleep eat. Only after doing some searching online, I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
- Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
- There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
- You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
- Standard administrations like the FDA filter claims, but even they are bypassed. Companies recall products from the shelves every month.
- It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.
And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!
ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service, KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.
You can ask for the nearest and cheapest gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha helps you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”