He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.
Arguably the biggest fear that plagues most students is their tentativeness to ask questions. Instead of getting the answers to their queries, they are often more concerned with the fact that their questions may come over as foolish. It goes without saying that this hesitance only hinders their growth.
Let’s face it, no one wants their peers to think that they are inattentive or stupid. This is especially true for introverted students, who aren’t the best at communicating their needs or queries. The result? Even when they are genuinely curious about something, the fear of being critiqued by their friends or classmates keeps them from airing their concerns.
However, one needs to understand that this ridicule, if any at all, is short-lived. Even if your question indeed was foolish, no one is going to mock you for that forever, or at least it isn’t going to affect you for all your life. On the flip side, the stakes are much higher if you do not ask the question – for starters, you are not going to learn something you easily could have if you had summoned the courage to speak your mind. You basically squandered the opportunity to learn something new just because you couldn’t get over your fear of people judging you.
Besides, the more you feed your inhibitions, the likelier they are to keep your mind caged in the long run. It’s actually a very slippery slope – once you start keeping your questions to yourself, you force yourself into a shell that becomes the biggest roadblock to your growth. Ultimately, your apprehensions about not coming across as ignorant at a given moment manifest themselves into something much more enormous – you remain ignorant for the rest of your life.
Ancient China was the source of many a nugget of wisdom. One such adage goes as follows: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”