A systemsitter, wordbender, framebender, streetwise dhamma monk and a starfleet officer.
You know that feeling when you see an obvious gap nobody seems to see? Or there seems to be something everybody agrees to which you can’t justify? Fire away. Do not hold back. Do not shut it up. If analytic questions are steps to the answer, stupid questions are the leaps; that crucial turns that set you exactly where you need, not want, but need to go.
Will you be laughed upon? Most likely. Will you be frowned upon? Quite possibly. But stupid questions also guarantee that you will never miss the mark, the target, the goal or whatever achievement expected from you. Because, and here lies the magic, stupid questions are the kind of questions that will get you what you need to know whether you are right or wrong.
They are called stupid because these questions are so unbelievably basic and principal in nature they will boil down to the truth. Not opinion, not theory, not even idea. They will reveal the truth.
Because they are unbelievably basic, the answer to these questions is so important nobody dares to admit they do not know them. Something leaders in any level of management would know that it is not always true. Because that is how they become and stay leaders – by knowing and remembering the basic and principal of things.
Asking stupid questions is also a great way to exercise positivism because being positive means being vulnerable, being brave enough to accept the possibility of being wrong. Brene Brown in her talk at TED, showed how vulnerability turns out to be the birthplace of happiness and sense of belonging which leads to confidence and character.
The capacity to accept failure, as Sir Ken Robinson suggested in his talk at TED, is fundamental in nurturing creativity. There is a whole movement out there to reform the education system which has been designed to systematically instill a stigma of how failure must be avoided at all cost. This kills creativity.
So the next time you feel the urge, fire away. Do not hold back. Naturally when you are faced with one, do not give up on it. One who cares for the basic and principal is a reliable one.