I used to wonder why some people would rather ask questions that seem basic than try to find out the answers on their own. Some months ago, I had to confront a friend with this mindset and tell them they were too inquisitive. I knew that it was a good attitude but, I felt like it was an attitude of total dependence and total dependence is not an attitude to which I am subscribed.
Here are two questions for you to begin with:
- Would you rather ask a person a question or Google the answer yourself?
- Have you ever had one of those really bumpy weeks where everything seems like chaos but somehow, the week ends in an unexpectedly positive way.
I recently experienced a bumpy week full of anxiety, frustration, disappointment, significant humbling moments, disagreement, reconciliation and finding answers to a long-overdue question. By the weekend, I was out of words to describe my state of mind.
The week began with a flood of panic before I made a scientific paper presentation. Usually, we all get nervous before these big days, but somehow, we manage it. However, for me this time, I could not manage my anxiety. I was the first presenter and had this intense pressure to get my colleagues off to a perfect start. To be so good with my presentation.
However, that presentation turned out to be one of my least impressive presentations. Except for the good designs, everything was bland, and I sped through my words, forgetting the need for pauses and emphasising key contents.
Further into the week, I had a disagreement with a friend, and instead of handling the situation calmly, I did not. I let out my emotions as harsh as they came. However, I apologized later.
To close up the week, I received an average grade on a project I expected an excellent result from. I thought I knew the task but, it turned out I did not have the magic to turn my blog writing skill into scientific paper writing skill at the very first opportunity to do so. Apparently, there’s something called a learning curve and asking questions.
Right in front of my laptop, looking at that result and crying, I realized a humbling truth: it’s okay to aim for the best, but it’s also okay to not be the best, and it’s always better to ask when in doubt.
I realized that I have not been asking enough questions. I have lived many of my years like a treasure hunter who only picks clues on her journey and never asks those around if they know about the treasure she is searching for. It is thrilling to jump into bed every night, knowing that I searched for my own answers without asking others for clues or answers. More recently, I’ve allowed myself to dwell so much on my ability to be smart and independent that I neglect opportunities that look like dependence.
I could have asked more questions from my project supervisor. Trying to solely navigate my journey around the world is not better than accepting the ideas that my friend acquired from experience and from asking people. Also, the answer I got to my long-overdue question could have been gotten about five months ago if only I had asked at the time.
Independence is a great skill that is often highly relevant for starting life or a career that we dream of. But, it is important to know when to put away the independence cape and ask for help. It is important to know when to be dependent when to immediately seek human or expert’s clarification about a confusion rather than plan to ask Google.
It is a great thing to know your skills. However, it is even greater to identify when you need to go through a learning curve and while you go through it, be humble to ask for as much help as you can get. Your body and the people who care about you deserve better than you putting yourself through difficult times when all you need to do is ask for help.
The internet is great for providing answers, especially in uncomfortable situations when we are too shy or have no one to talk to. But, there is no big deal in asking people -sometimes, random strangers- for answers when you don’t have the answer to a situation. The smart thing is to gather answers from a few heads if there’s no one expert or to get the answer from an expert.
Moreover, when you get the answer, verify, clarify and most importantly, use it.