He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning.
- Danish proverb
I am, I must admit, afraid to ask.
I have always felt an apprehension to ask questions when I don’t know or I’m not sure of something. Could be a procedure, or a process step, or a concept being discussed, or, maddeningly too often, an unfamiliar acronym …
I think what’s underneath my reticence is a fear of being embarrassed.
My mental process goes something like this: asking questions is an admission of not knowing … and if people think I’m not knowing something that they think I should know … that’s embarrassing!
Is this normal? Do you feel this way? Does everyone do you think?
I honestly don’t know how commonplace this feeling is.
I know I have this feeling with some regularity. But I can also see in my interactions with others an apparent absence of that reticence.
I suspect that, while we all may have this feeling, some of us have it to a much greater degree than others.
But, what I don’t quite get is that, according to this proverb, those of us that are afraid to ask are judged as being ashamed of learning.
Don’t you think that’s a little harsh? I think that’s a little harsh.
I’m ashamed of learning?
I don’t think so.
I’m ashamed of not knowing, but not of learning!
Do you equate my being embarrassed at not knowing with being ashamed of learning?
I really do perceive my apprehensiveness to ask questions as a personal weakness. I wish I wouldn’t be so worried about what others might think.
But just because I don’t ask a question when I don’t know something doesn’t mean that I don’t learn. (I realize, though, that it may mean I miss an opportunity to learn.)
But, more often that not, I get my questions answered some time later, usually with my own research. So you might say I compensate for my weakness by utilizing a different approach to learning.
Now, I admit, this is not very efficient. There’s time and effort involved.
But I’m not worried about that.