This week I did some tutoring with first year Pharmacy students. It was their first experience with trying to dispense a medication. You could see them squirm in the ambiguity of what the task entailed. There weren't clear instructions. You had to ask questions to figure stuff out. Ask questions or listen in to someone else asking questions. They weren't sure if they were doing the right thing or not. And if there's one thing Pharmacy students have in common, it's that they want to be right.
I probably wouldn't have asked questions in first year. Or any year through my studies for that matter. I never talked to the teachers. Not because I was afraid of looking stupid, I was just super intimidated and didn't want to waste their time. So I'm not judging them. It's something that I had to work on a lot, and continue to work on. It still makes me uncomfortable. I just sent an email asking my supervisors to give me feedback on some abstracts and I feel kind of sick about it. It's something I wish someone had pushed me toward a bit earlier though.
I read two separate passages relating to this in Tools of Titans (Tim Ferris) this week. One was from an ex-Navy Seal called Jocko Willink. He was talking about the importance of humility and the openness to coaching. Good leaders would demonstrate introspection and/or be open to ask 'what did I do wrong?'. They'd take notice of the feedback.
"Stay humble or get humbled". - Jocko Willink
Another passage I read was about Malcolm Gladwell, a science writer and regular contributor to the New Yorker. He talked about how he learned to ask questions from his dad and it's a really good passage:
"My father has zero intellectual insecurities....It has never crossed his mind to be concerned that the worls thinks he's an idiot. He's not in that game. So if he doesn't understand something, he justs asks you....He'll just keep asking questions until he gets it right." - Malcolm Gladwell