Monday, August 10, 2009

Stupidity is a Crime

What do you think of the title? It was a remark posted online by a friend. There was no context, so I could not appreciate if he was upset or not.

‘Stupid is, as stupid does!’ uttered Forrest Gump. Have you done anything stupid lately? I have made stupid decisions in the past. Well, specifically, I was stupid enough to make decisions I regretted. I have been stupid to ask a question at the wrong time; perhaps the question was inappropriate for the person and the situation. Were there teachers in your life who told you not to ask stupid questions? Have you ever wondered if they actually had an answer to your question?

Do you recall the last time you stubbed your toe on a table leg? How about scrapping your thigh against the edge of a table? What about forgetting to bring your wallet? What about surrendering to your weakness/addiction (for example, a fondness for high-calorie food)? Did you call yourself (quietly) stupid?

Now, if you had to do somebody a favour you promised them, and you forgot about it, was it being stupid on your part? What about failure to do compulsory, safety checks and measures for a machine, equipment or process? What about these: Somebody continues to violate your trust; your friend disregards your good intentions and continues in their self-destructive behaviors; your staff lives in denial and is resistant to necessary change; colleagues waiting for the 'good old days to return'. Many may consider these behaviors as stupid, and even inconsiderate.

Which leads to this question: If there are stupid behaviors, are there stupid questions? When was the last time you asked a stupid question? What can you learn from stupid questions?

Sometimes, we have to ask questions however silly they may sound. In innovation and creativity, we have to confront questions that may not have been asked before. Until we ask all questions that confound us, then we may not be able to make the mental link between problem and solution. Questions have the ability to invoke different thinking pathways. Questions shift our perspectives and focus about people, places and events.

Better to ask and be a fool once, than never to ask and be a fool forever!

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