Are you a person who has more answers than questions? When someone says something that you don’t agree with, what is your reaction? Do you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong; or write them off as ignorant, ill-informed, or perhaps even crazy? Think about it. What is your response to a challenging statement that questions your beliefs or ideas of right or wrong, good or bad, fact or fiction?
I would argue that asking questions is more important than having answers. The person who has all the answers is the person who has stopped learning. When you stop asking questions, you limit your ability to grow. I’ve said this before, I think doubt has more to do with strengthening one’s faith than belief does. For some, this is seen as a dangerous way of thinking. To them I say, heck yeah it is. There is nothing “safe” about faith. Faith should be filled with a good share of “fear and trembling”. This process is what helps our faith to continue to grow.
There are others who aren’t necessarily afraid of asking questions, they are just too busy or find it easier to never challenge their current way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, this can be comforting. As the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through life easily labeled as ignorant. I’d rather ask questions and take risks, even if it means making mistakes along the way. I can learn from mistakes.
It’s been a goal of mine to get others to think more deeply about the things they say or do, or the choices that they make. I’ve attempted this in both superficial conversations, and deeper discussions. I have noticed, sometimes I can come across as a jerk, or as being difficult. And for that, I apologize. It is not my intention.
A few friends have told me that they really have to stop and think about what they say before talking with me, cause I often call into question the meaning of their words. And it frustrates them. At times, I do this to entertain myself (and occasionally others), or keep the conversation interesting. It kind of becomes a game. But mostly, I just want to keep them thinking. I’d rather not leave a conversation with the other person getting the idea that I’m normal, like I enjoy talking about the weather. I want them to leave and think “that guy’s a little different”. To be honest, if I don’t mildly offend you at some point, I’m not accomplishing my goal.
So, next time you hear something that ruffles your feathers, or that you’re not sure how to digest, take a minute to let your mind process the information. Don’t be afraid to try to understand another’s perspective without passing judgment. Maybe don’t be the person with all the answers, always trying to defend what believe. Try asking more questions. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn.