I would still be grateful to my startup journey if I had not learnt anything expect the art the asking questions, really stimulating questions! Why should I be grateful? Well…
Asking questions can clear your understanding, understanding something makes you have a clear idea about what’s going on around you and this clear vision and the robust opinions are hard to penetrate by blinding noise & chatter outside – something which our country is in the desperate need of.
The trick that I learned for better and long-term understanding the subjects while preparing for GATE was to
‘Ask multiple WHYs and HOWs until it resonates with your common sense‘
This trick works wonders because human mind needs no extra efforts to remember the things dealing with common sense!
Say you are trying to understand a complex concept or phenomenon in physics or computer science and it is quite hard to grasp on its face value. For example, you are studying Control Units from the subject of Computer Architecture. Control Units in computers are basically responsible for handling the process flow carefully and that’s why computer works the way it does. So you have these control signals passing via data buses (golden lines you see on any general electronic chip) from a Control Unit to other modules like processors, memory and input/output devices. Say we are writing a computer program for adding 2 and 3 which are stored in two different registers (computer memory units). How does this actually happen? We all know that all the arithmetic happens inside the processor but there are tons of processes already going on in the system. So how will you manage getting this sum done? Well the answer is simply open the OUT valve of two registers, take those values IN processor, add them and send them OUT, now open the IN valve of third register and store the result there. And those valves are nothing but the control signals. Why should this make sense? Because this is what happens in the real world. Consider the registers as Dams and data buses as Canals. Until you open the valve (apply Control Signal), water won’t pass (data won’t pass) and you won’t get the result. Isn’t that a common sense???
What questions shall I ask?
Literally anything under the sun. The first thing I write on the blackboard while teaching school kids is a quote – “No Question is Stupid!”
You have no job? Ask government a question. File an RTI. Ask to disclose the employment data and what are they doing about it?
Your business is not flourishing? Rather than blaming the customer behaviour, ask your data about the things you are doing wrong. Because people buy things in their capacity all the time, one way or the other. That’s what keeps economy moving. So ask yourself if your product is being presented in wrong way? Or the interfacing is wrong? Or the pricing is? Or the entire thing? And if so, why?
You see your friends from a particular religion getting more and more scared because of the latest parliamentary bill which became an act. Ask questions to both the entities. You see home minister asking not to worry. Ask him why not? Ask protestors why are they protesting if the government says they don’t need to? Having these questions asked will make you form an informed opinion and prevent you from the bias and clutter.
How does asking questions help?
When you know the things to their core, you can explain it in your own words, simplifying it more in the process. These were the teaching methods adopted by Richard Feynman and Einstein. The clear understanding of anything in the world could be verified by the fact that whether or not you could explain it to your granny!!!
This also helped me in my career. The idea of Storytelling which I covered in my last article could be leveraged the most with the way you ask questions and a little bit of creativity. Again the key is to notice and observe your own behavior the next time you get into such situations.
This skill of asking right questions will help you jump the career steps. Why? Because every job and every business revolves around one thing – solving someone’s problem! But how to solve it? Start with multiple nested why’s!! Do possess the curiosity and ask questions to get to the core basics to analytically solve anything.
A short article this time and wishing you all a Happy republic Day!!
See you soon 🙂