By Shounak Ray (MBA '12)
Encouraging his students, especially the intimidated ones, to ask questions, one of my graduate school professors announces “No question is a stupid question”.
He is so wrong. There is always room for us to make mistakes when we are in that protected and comforting world of our overlooking family and close friends. As we grow out of that comfort zone and mature into embracing a society that is so perfect but we are not, we fear whether there is any room for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Most people, including me, do have that fear. And what do we fear? We fear not having understood or liked a book, of admitting to not having liked a particular sport or game, we fear of coming across too "old school," we fear our blogs will be too boring for readers..we fear our receding hairlines.
And what do we do to overcome that fear? Well, we just try to become more perfect - try to become more of something that we are probably not. Sometimes, we succeed, and sometimes we become the object of more ridicule and the fear only multiplies. There are actually some other effective ways to deal with our fear as well. One of them is to adopt the "first mover advantage" strategy. So, before our vulnerabilities are exposed, we go on the offensive and try to bring out the vulnerabilities or weaknesses of others around us. Quite an effective strategy, I tell you - it has worked pretty well for me on several instances.
And then we are tired; we feel like quitting this never-ending game and going back to our protected world where it was so easy to make a mistake. But that protected world doesn't exist anymore. We are on our own. Some questions are indeed stupid - we should definitely know.