Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Don’t ask questions if you don’t want to hear the answer

On August 20, I wrote my blog One question says more than a thousand answers. Questions never lie but answers can easily fool you. There is another pitfall when asking questions: after hearing the answer, sometimes you wish you had not asked the question. Some answers reveal a truth you don’t want to hear, and you can only be hurt by the truth.

The above happened about a week ago. After a chat with a Possibly Maybe, I suggested to her that she might want to reconsider chatting with me. She didn’t pick up my clue. After some time, she concluded that it was better not to continue chatting – for certain reasons. I told her that I agreed with her conclusion but on different grounds.

After a pause, she asked me on which grounds. I told her that she should not ask me questions if she doesn’t want to hear my answer. This time, she understood my clue. She replied that she could imagine my answer after having read some of my blogs. I decided to stay silent.

Sometimes, it’s the other way around: asking questions to hear the inconvenient truth that hurts. Last Sunday, someone came back into my life, asking for my advice – yet again. I know her for some 10 years. She has never accepted my perspective but keeps coming back to hear it. I suppose, she knows deep down that my words are true.

From the outside, she is a beautiful young woman with a university degree. From the inside, she is (totally) messed up. She is a know-it-all who has no appetite to learn from the school-of-life. This time, I called her an obnoxious child-woman. She thanked me for my advice and said that she will consider my words. She knows she must change, if only for one (good) reason.

In general, I don’t ask too many questions, unless it is necessary for helping someone figuring out something. Moreover, I prefer asking open-ended questions rather than asking closed questions that will suffice with a “maybe”, “no”, or a “yes” answer.

The answer that I trust the least is: “I don’t know”. I think, feel and believe that we often do know the answer(s) to questions. We prefer replying by saying (or texting) “IDK” rather than the truth. The (self-) confronting truth often hurts.

Mid 2014, Joan asked me about the reasons for my 2013 burn-out while I was still recovering from it. Her question irritated me because I was still struggling finding the answers myself. I replied by making an analogy with Abraham Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs. Then I received a Eureka sensation and all pieces of the complex puzzle in my mind came together as one.

I admit that I had preferred answering Joan with “I don’t know”. I knew, however, such an answer wasn’t true. It’s difficult for me evading the truth. I prefer confronting it. Hence, I decided to give it a go. The reward for my attempt was magnificent.

Magnificent (She Says) – 2016 – Elbow
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

It’s all gonna be magnificent, she says
It’s all gonna be magnificent
It’s all gonna be magnificent, she says
It’s all gonna be magnificent

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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