One of the most intriguing posts I’ve read in a while has to be What are questions? on the 37signals Signal Vs Noise blog. There was a quote of Clay Christensen in it where he says the following:

Paraphrased slightly, he said: “Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

This is beautifully said.

I got thinking about it and it applies to so many experiences I’ve had in the past. It’s incredible how we shut ourselves off without questions.

If I want a yes or no answer to a question, I will not care if you sit and explain why the answer is yes. Why? Because I’ve only opened up my mind enough for a simple answer. I’ve seen this with over and over again with students in college. They ask questions, but it’s simple and direct. “Will this be on the exam?” If the answer is yes, they have more questions, and their space for answers expands. They instantly care more. “Well what about this will be on the exam?” “How will the question be asked?” “What is the answer?” On the other hand, if the answer was “No, this will not be on the exam”, we accept that, and leave no more room for learning.

And how do I know this? Because that was my approach exactly throughout most of school. If I didn’t find it intriguing of it’s own accord, I would use this to determine whether or not I should remember more about it.

Yet, with programming, I don’t know that I’ve felt that way often. I’m like a damn sponge when it comes to programming. Seeing anything, I want to learn how it works. I’m immediately filled with questions and that’s helps me learn these topics.

Find things that make you a sponge.

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