“Why do you ask so many questions in class, Scott? You look like a fool who knows nothing.” To my classmate I replied, “But I DID know nothing about the topic. We all did, until I asked the question and got an answer. I...
“Why do you ask so many questions in class, Scott? You look like a fool who knows nothing.” To my classmate I replied, “But I DID know nothing about the topic. We all did, until I asked the question and got an answer. I’d rather be foolish for the minute that I ask a question, than foolish for a lifetime of not having had learned the answer.”
Family and friends would not understand why I poured through stacks of unrelated books: biochemistry, motor science, neuroscience, mechanics, nutrition, endocrinology, movement therapy, cognitive psychology, immunology. I didn’t understand why my health had suffered so much when others, with seemingly worse lifestyle habits, had not. When I couldn’t ask questions, when no one was available to teach me, I went off exploring on my own.
Many answers didn’t reveal themselves, but the exploration did teach how to ask better questions than before I had begun. The journey taught me how to explore a topic:
1. without judgment, master an understanding of the basics;
2. without expectations, allow for your brain to integrate it with what else it had learned;
3. with patience, await for the solutions, or new higher quality questions, to bubble to your consciousness during unrelated activity;
4. and with diligence, apply the material throughout life, even when your audacious ideas seem new and unfounded.
Whenever I research a new project, the above works most of the time (other times, I remain stumped for a time). But inevitably, if I throw ingredients into my brain, a recipe will unfold. Ideas will come. People will shake their head at their craziness, and I will carry out my idea anyway despite my craziness.
Your brain holds a magical black box, where knowledge doesn’t accumulate; it expands, connects and multiplies. Feed your brain, and you will create ideas you had never before imagined. A single article, book or interview with a field expert, could be the catalyst which changes your perspective forever, as your mind will concoct a new, higher quality question from it.
Life is a curriculum you get to design yourself, selecting the courses you want to study by the questions that you ask. Flex your brain. Challenge your mind with new weight, and move it in curious directions. It may seem random, and people may chide your whimsical exploration. At first they’ll ask you why you’re bothering to study what interests you, but then later, others will ask you how you managed to learn so much about it.