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How to get over the fear

of asking questions


An ancient Chinese proverb states: “He who asks questions remains a fool for 5 minutes, he who does not ask any, remains a fool fore ever.”

I think almost everyone found themselves in a situation where a simple question would have been sufficient to make your life much more simple. But you were afraid to ask the question. The fear can be a result of many things, such as anxiety, fear of being annoying, fear of asking a question you should already know the answer to etc.

However, I do truly believe that overcoming this fear is crucial for your success in life. Not just in your career, but also in building relationships and becoming the best version of yourself.  

There is simply no way of knowing everything. There is no one who knows everything, not even experts. Every expert will tell you that they still have a lot to learn. Going back to the ancient time, Socrates once said: “I know that I know nothing.” The more you learn, the more questions you will have about a topic. After understanding how little you know, it creates a sense of humility, making you realise that asking questions is something completely normal and wished for. Furthermore, one needs to be aware that you are not the only one asking questions. If you are in a meeting with colleagues, it may seem intimidating seeing everyone comfortable with the discussed topic. However, if you are having doubts about something, it is highly likely that you are not the only one. Just like you’re afraid of asking a question, it is also possible that your colleague feels the same. So by being the brave one, you might even encourage someone else to get over the fear.

Questions start discussions. Your question might spark a thought or bring a new perspective to the issue. Asking questions is not a waste of time nor will it take away from productivity. Quite the contrary, it will contribute to the brainstorming. No one will look at your weirdly nor judge you, in many of many experiences, people of power often have a lot of respect for those you show interest. While you might worry about the questions damaging your image, they might actually boost it. Your passion and desire to learn more will serve as a good example.

By asking questions, you minimize your mistakes and travel along your journey a lot faster. Challenge yourself and others by asking tough questions.

As my Maths teacher told us in high school: “There are not stupid questions, just stupid answers.”

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