The teaching power of the non-answer

I ask a lot of questions when learning something new. In work, asking a lot of questions is a good thing that consistently pays off with valuable content and insights. When it comes to the rest of life, however, when learning something new, it is often the lack of an answer that is the most valuable. Enter the non-answer.

A non-answer means many things:
• Figure it out yourself
• No one knows
• It’s a secret
• Do the hard work of learning

A non-answer forces us to learn more. Maybe there is a better way no one knows yet. Or maybe you just need to do the work that commits the lesson to memory. Maybe someone is telling you that with their non-answer.

This is why dictionaries are still valuable. It’s also one instance where I have to thank my parents for making me look up words I did not know how to spell. Silence is indeed golden.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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