Be Brave Enough To Ask Seemingly Simple Or Stupid Questions

Since 2018, I make it a point to ask again and again until I understand points (even when everyone but me gets it), at the risk of sounding or looking dumb. I don’t regret this at all, and it’s since improved business, relationship and even investment decisions by asking seemingly “stupid” questions.

Most of us fear to look dumb.

We don’t want to look or sound dumb to our bosses, investors, family, friends or colleagues – that’s why we as humans rather die than speak in public or look dumb lol

But I feel and think that there is an opportunity where we can develop a very specific learning superpower

  1. if we can recognize that sometimes it’s good to zig when everyone’s zagging

  2. if we can overcome the fear of looking dumb by asking seemingly stupid questions

Usually the dumb questions are the questions that is sitting right there in front of that no one seems to be asking BUT it could be the most important and smart question to ask

So I am not the brightest light bulb in the room and I know it – and when very smart people share ideas with me or teach me like I already understand (oh bless these kind souls) when I don’t such as complex medical issues, financial instrumentation, insurance, legal matters, investment, projections etc

If I don’t understand and If I’m discussing direct with the presenter, I ask

  1. what does this mean?
  2. how does it affect me or anyone?
  3. what can I do to get the outcomes I want?

Or if I’m in a group, I

  1. Raise my hand
  2. (Optional) Apologize if you’re in a group saying “sorry to delay the meeting but…”
  3. I don’t understand, can you explain that and how it works?

Sometimes presenters gives me this look of “I just explained” or “you’re the management/leader but you don’t get it?” Some of my peers may start to roll their eyes or look away when I ask these simple questions….

…but if I don’t get it, I don’t get it (I did say I wasn’t the smartest…).

Plus I want to understand because if I don’t understand and act as though I understand…

  1. I will not be able to apply the teachings
  2. I wont be able to teach the concept to my peers
  3. I will make unnecessary mistakes
  4. the costs of hiring the presenter will be wasted

So I want to learn and keep improving and keep making better and better decisions and because of that, there is no such thing as stupid questions in my vocabulary.

Example of Chris Sacca, billionaire investor – when he was entry level in Google, he would attend really high level meetings with the twins and top leadership, and initially they would ask him, “what are you doing here?” and he would say “I’m just here take notes” – and they let him stay. At some point, they expect him to be around and then he would be the one to ask dumb questions. Such as the very obvious pink elephant questions in the room that no one asks or no one dares to ask. And because of this ability to override the fear of looking stupid by asking obvious questions, he’s created incredible breakthroughs in investing (he’s a billionaire investor) – of course other smarts involved as well in research and decision making.

Also, if we want to ask these seemingly dumb questions, I believe that there will be others who want to ask these questions also but they are just scared or embarrassed.

In this case at the very least, everyone will learn and understand more together and at the best, you may find better and better ideas to your next

  • best selling book topics
  • profitable 6-7 figure businesses
  • picking the next best investment (maybe the next Uber?)
  • etc

To conclude, don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need to get the job done. If you don’t understand in a group meeting,

  1. Just raise your hand
  2. (Optional) Apologize if you’re in a group saying “sorry to delay the meeting but…”
  3. I don’t understand, can you explain that and how it works?

Repeat this until you get it – happy learning.

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