I know I’ve written a previous post on how much I love asking questions and hearing answers. I guess that’s a good quality for me to have, considering that I’ve ended up (after several career twists and turns) as a group and individual therapist.
Other people have noticed this quality of mine. An old partner of mine used to quote a “Saturday Night Live” skit, in reference to me. I can’t find it on YouTube, but here’s what I remember about it. A guy and a woman are out on a first date, and she is peppering him with questions. At some point, he (I think it was Chevy Chase, so it’s REALLY OLD SNL) says to her (trying to disguise some annoyance):
“You’re so ……. inquisitive.”
A Jackie Chan Digression
In the 1990s, some friends and I got into Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong movies. They are SO great, BTW, and very different from his American movies.
Here’s a YouTube link to an 80’s TV show, “Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show,” with Jonathan Ross, centering on Jackie, which gives you some idea of what those movies are like:
My friends and I REALLY enjoyed watching those movies. I’m talking Obsession, for some of us. And it was not easy to see these films, because Jackie was not famous in the U.S. then, and his films were not that available. (It was much less of an Instant Gratification Media World in the 90’s.) But the Brattle Cinema, in Cambridge
would periodically run festivals of these amazing Hong Kong-made Jackie Chan films, like “Project A,” “Project A Part II,” “Police Story,” “Police Story 2,” “City Hunter,” “Dragons Forever,” “Drunken Master,” “Super Cop”, and more.
At my birthday party earlier this year, where people shared stories and memories, several of the stories were about how much fun people had going to these Brattle Cinema festivals. We remembered how each of us had Dragon Names, which we had chosen for ourselves.
I shall now briefly explain “Dragon Name”:
Jackie Chan’s Chinese name (his “stage name” essentially) is
where the first character means “adult” or “developing” or “mature” and the second character means “dragon.” (Bruce Lee’s Chinese Name was “Little Dragon.”) So the members of this Jackie Chan-loving group of mine chose Dragon Names for themselves, which included (1) A descriptive adjective + (2) The word “Dragon.”
The Point of The Jackie Chan Digression
My dragon name was “The Inquisitive Dragon.”
So, inquisitiveness — asking questions — is definitely a quality of mine. This is observed by others and valued by me.
However, some questions are easier for me to ask than others.
What are the easier ones? Questions that reflect my curiosity and interest in other people.
Which questions are harder to ask?
- Questions where there is a “power differential.” For example, asking management at work for something. Or, when I’m a patient, asking doctors questions, which are sometimes challenging. (I’ve worked really hard at the latter, my whole life, and I’m pretty good at it.) (I hear that from my doctors, actually.)
- Questions where I might hurt somebody’s feelings.
- Questions where I am asking for something I need.
- Questions where I am revealing that I don’t know something.
That last one in the list is rather ironic, isn’t it? Because what would be a better reason than to ask a question, than to learn something you don’t know?
However, I have to say that I do see other people, around me, hesitating to ask questions, perhaps for fear that it will reveal something They Think They Should Know Already.
I can only speak for myself. And I do know that I sometimes hesitate to ask questions out of fear — the fear of being seen as ignorant, stupid,or not listening.
Before I end this post, I feel obliged to point out that those fears involve the Cognitive Distortions of Mind Reading, Labeling, and Shoulds.
Why did I write this post today?
I realized there were some questions I was afraid to ask at work today. I need the answers, in order to do my job better.
I am now going out there, dear reader, and I’m going to Just Do It! (Just like Jackie Chan says, many times, in that TV show.)
How about you?