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How to make sure you learn something new every day

sahildua2305 profile image Sahil Dua ・2 min read

Let me start this post with a confession –

There are a lot of things that I don’t know.

Everyday while working with experienced developers, I realize that there are a lot of things that I don’t know. So how do I make sure I learn something new everyday?

Ask as many questions as possible!


Here’s why I ask a lot of questions –

Opportunity to learn something new

Every time you ask a question, you learn something new. The only downside of asking someone a question is that the other person will know that you didn’t know something. Learning something each day, improving on your skills is much more important than caring about what others might think of you.

Every pro was once an amateur

Every expert was once a beginner. Anyone who you think is an expert in some area started as a beginner. They know how it feels to not know something. They came to know about a lot of things by being curious and asking questions. So they will empathize with you and help you as much as they can if you are asking some questions for clarification or explanation.

No one has time to judge you

One thing that sometimes comes to my mind before asking questions from others is that they may think I’m stupid. However, I learned this with time that no one has time to judge you for asking trivial questions. Even if your question was framed badly, you will learn how to frame questions better in future.

There are no stupid questions

There is no such thing as a stupid question. In fact, the smartest thing you can do is ask the most basic question you can think of. I have been surprised at many occasions when someone appreciated a question I asked which I thought was a very basic one.

The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.


Even though it’s perfectly fine to ask as many questions as possible, there are some ways to ask questions efficiently –

  1. Do prior research before asking a question. There are some questions to which you can easily find an answer by searching on internet.
  2. Provide proper context for your question. When you ask a question, make sure you provide enough context for the other person to be able to provide you with a good answer to your question.

Can you think of a time when you were too afraid to ask a question? Did that lack of knowledge ever come back to haunt you? How foolish was that? No, that’s not a rhetorical question, I want you to consider how foolish it was to not have asked the question in the first place.

Let me finish this post by saying –

I will ask as many questions as possible in order to make sure I know more things than I knew yesterday.

You can find me on Twitter – @sahildua2305. Feel free to share your views about this post.

Discussion

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Hey Sahil,

Great read, thanks for this article. Reminds me to ask more questions, even though one might be a bit experienced. But I guess we are never experienced enough so that we know all the answers.

I loved how Scott Hanselman tweeted lately, that he asks what certain abbreviations mean in a meeting, because the junior developers are afraid to ask (twitter.com/shanselman/status/9032...). I also had to ask for the meaning of an abbreviation in a sprint meeting a few days ago and nobody got mad.

Still I want to emphasize your ideas regarding doing prior research and providing proper context. Lots of questions can be answered with the help of Google, Wikipedia and/or StackOverflow. But of course there are many particular company structures or unique code bases that just can't be clarified without another colleague.

Again, great article! :)

Take care,
Patrick

 

A tip for doing this is going in places where actually can learn how to ask a question. I understand many times we don't know how we express our concerns. When someone asks me about this, I suggest starting a discussion and practice in sites like StackOverflow or Quora.