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36 Quotes From Successful People About The Wisdom In Asking Questions

36 Quotes From Successful People About The Wisdom In Asking Questions

I was 7 years old when my grandfather died. That was the first time in my short life that I had come into contact with death. The questions came swirling in – what does death mean? Where did my grandfather go? His body’s still here, so why wasn’t he? What’s it like “up there” without a body? Where is “up there?” These were big questions for a small mind.

Over the years, I read a lot, wrote in my journal a lot – asked questions a lot. Is God real? Why do bad things happen to good people? Am I fated to a certain destiny or do I truly have free will to make my own choices in life?

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Strangely enough, I still don’t have solid answers for any of those questions, but what I’ve realized is that as I grow older, and as I’m hopefully getting wiser, my answers seem to change and get wiser too; I’m realizing that it’s more important to ask a question than to rush to answer it.

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Here are 36 wise souls who agree there’s wisdom in asking questions!

  1. “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Eugene Ionesco
  2. “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” – Euripedes
    lh1
    • “The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.” – Peter Abelard
    • “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” -Joseph Campbell
    • “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing. – Socrates
      Ask Questions -Socrates
      • “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee
      • “[…] The art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.” – Georg Cantor
      • “I questioned God’s silence. I don’t have an answer for that. Does it mean that I stopped having faith? No, I have faith, but I question it.” Elie Wiesel
      • “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settling a question without debating it.” – Joseph Joubert
      • “The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.” – Sylvia Earle
      • “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” – Albert Einstein
      • “I think that probably the most important thing about our education was that it taught us to question even those things we thought we knew.” – Thabo Mbeki
      • “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon
      • “Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.” – Ernest Gaines
        Ask Questions -Ernest Gains
        • “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson
        • “Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them.” – Marilyn French
        • “The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering.” – David Whyte
        • “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” – Lloyd Alexander
        • “My investment of time, as an educator, in my judgment, is best served teaching people how to think about the world around them. Teach them how to pose a question. How to judge whether one thing is true versus the other.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
        • He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” – Voltaire
        • “Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.” – Paul Tillich
        • “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” – Ruby Dee
          Ask Questions -Ruby Dee
          • “In all my affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell
          • “If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” – W. Edwards Deming
          • “That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.” – Jacob Bronowski
          • “A wise man’s question contains half the answer.” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol
            Ask Questions -Solomon Ibn Gabriol
            • “Every man ought to be inquisitive through every hour of his great adventure down to the day when he shall no longer cast a shadow in the sun. For if he dies without a question in his heart, what excuse is there for his continuance?” – Frank Moore Colby
            • “We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell.” – James Stephens
            • “Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it.” – Max Planck
            • “Learn avidly. Question repeatedly what you have learned. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.” – Edward Cocker
            • “A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.” – John Ciardi
            • “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” – E. E. Cummings
            • “Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.” – Tennessee Williams
            • “We want to answer this classical question, who am I? So I think that most of our works are for art, or whatever we do, including science or religion, tried to answer that question.” – Paulo Coelho
            • “It is not enough for me to ask the question; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?” – Abraham Joshua-Heschel

            And my personal favorite:

            36. “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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            Ask Questions -Rilke

              Featured photo credit: Saiisha via NestInTheForest.com

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              Last Updated on January 6, 2021

              14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

              14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

              Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

              In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

              For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

              For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

              Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

              Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

              Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

              How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

              Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

              1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

              Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

              For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

              2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

              Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

              Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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              Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

              3. Create a System

              Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

              This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

              You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

              Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

              Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

              4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

              We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

              If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

              Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

              Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

              5. Use a Ratings Scale

              Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

              Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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              It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

              6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

              This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

              You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

              You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

              7. Offer Feedback Forms

              Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

              First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

              Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

              You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

              8. Track Cost Effectiveness

              This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

              Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

              Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

              9. Use Self-Evaluations

              Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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              Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

              10. Monitor Time Management

              This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

              Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                14. Use an External Evaluator

                Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                Final Thoughts

                These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                Reference

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