I once had a work colleague who was about to retire. I had known him for years, worked with him on and off throughout our time together. I once reported to him on a task force team. I caught up with him before he left to thank him and wish him well. Inevitably our attention moved onto some of the changes that were being rolled out in that company at that time…what we thought…what was possible…what was unlikely.
‘You will be OK though’ my colleague said, ‘you are intrinsically so inquisitive’. The first part of this message – being OK – is always good to hear I have to say…any time any day…on any topic. It’s true of course. Not so much about me I hasten to add, but about all of us. We are all so much better at handling any change – good or bad – than we ever perceive ourselves to be. Good or bad change we can work through…what we actually struggle with is uncertainty.
Being told I will be OK – whether by my parents, my family, friends or colleagues is always good to hear. In work or at home. In business or in life or in death. It helps so much when anyone takes time to care or help or share.
Being told I was intrinsically inquisitive was more of a surprise. I had to understand this message. What did it mean? What had he seen or heard? Who else thought this? (I know – that was what he said as well).
Over the years since that conversation, I have simply decided to accept (or assume) that inquisitiveness, or any other personality traits, are who I am and are therefore my strengths. I accept and seek to capitalise on them. And above all I don’t ever worry about them. Life is too short.
Inquisitiveness, or – as some may say – asking a lot of questions is of value in many situations. Whenever any significant event or change takes place – good or bad, expected or surprising – the best path I have found for me to cope is to understand. To understand I need information. To secure information I ask questions. And then I ask more questions on the answers I am given. Often I ask the same or similar questions of multiple people…or even the same person.
I am always intrigued when we have different views or opinions in any situation. It’s great if we all agree – whoever the ‘we’ may be. But it is often so much more interesting and engaging when we disagree. Another time when I know I ask lots of questions.
I know what I think…what I believe we should do…and why. But if you have a different opinion then that excites me. What is it that you see, or know or have experienced that I do not see, don’t know or have not come across before. If I can see or understand what you see and think, then my opinion could be wrong and definitely could be improved.
The starting point is to accept that I just because I have my own opinions – it does not make my opinions right. I have to be open to ask, to listen and to understand. I want to see more of what you see. I need to adapt, resolve and improve. Or at the extreme to simply give up on my own proposal as soon as it’s apparent that yours is better informed, better conceived, better able to succeed…or just better.
So, I seek to offer my opinions and ideas freely and early. I enjoy seeking to understand and comprehend. I like asking questions.