There are dumb questions

Adam Walker
3 min readFeb 17, 2020

I hate hearing someone say, “There are no dumb questions.” It’s not true. Of course there are dumb questions. There are a lot of questions that should never be asked or should be asked as a last resort.

dog raising it’s paw
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

Questions that aren’t thought out are dumb.

A quick google search of “dumb questions to ask” yields some real gems. Among my favorite are:

  • “Sixty seconds and 1 minute aren’t really the same?”
    This question was about a microwave with different second and minute settings.
  • “What is a phobia of chainsaws called?”
    The best answer on the internet was “common sense.”
  • “If evolution is true, then why don’t pigs have wings?”
    The best answer on the internet was, “because evolution doesn’t give you wings, Red Bull does.”
  • “Am I out of shape if a turtle can outrun me?”
    No response needed here.
  • “What happens if I paint my teeth with nail polish?”
    My response, you get poisoned.
  • A personal one related to my having five kids. “You know where kids come from, right?”
    After I have mentally punched that person in the face, I ignore them and keep moving without giving an answer.

I think we can all agree; the questions above are dumb. They were asked without thought. And that is the lesson.

Any question posed without prior thought on the matter is likely to be a dumb question.

Questions asked when a 10-second google search will answer them are dumb.

I’ll raise my hand here. I have done this. I would bet we all have. We live in a world where we can get all kinds of amazing information with a voice command or quick search on our phone, computer, speaker, whatever. Even with that kind of access to information, it’s still too often that we are lazy and ask someone a question that we can quickly answer on our own, without burdening someone else.

The mistake we make is in wanting an answer too quickly. Somehow we think that if we ask the person next to us, interrupting their work, or slack someone a question, and then have to wait on the answer, that is better than figuring it out on our own. That is usually not the case.

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Adam Walker

Husband. Father of six. Wearer of fedoras. Serial entrepreneur. Nonprofit co-founder. I write about personal growth & leadership.