Positive Quote – Are you Clever, Wise, or Both?

Positive Quote: “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” – Mahfouz Naguib


This quote called out to me today. Being clever, being wise, or both? Not everything is cut and dry. Some things are more complex and more often than not you don’t know what you may find until you ask questions. Asking questions deepens understanding.


I have a simple yet in hindsight funny example. This is not meant to portray wisdom, yet is meant to portray the importance of questions. It had to be in the late 90’s when I was an IT help desk analyst. I received a phone call from a cashier at one of the stores we supported. This cashier was having a hard time completing a transaction. The register was giving her an error to call in for approval of the credit card. The cashier tried to call it in for approval, yet was not getting any response. Now, I could have given her the instructions of call x number, follow the prompts, and use that code given on the phone to complete the transaction and if no code given then they can’t complete the transaction and the customer has to use another form of payment. However, I could tell that this cashier was struggling and getting frustrated. So, instead of following the standard procedure, I deviated. I slowed down and really listened to what was not being said and took pains to not assume the direction I was giving was being followed. To make the story short, when the cashier called the toll free number to get the authorization code, and the automated system prompted the cashier to enter in the credit card number, instead of entering it on the telephone keypad, they were entering it on the cash register keypad. Therefore, the telephone automation kept asking for it and the cashier thought they were entering it in. Once we got that unraveled the cashier was able to obtain authorization and the customer was able to leave. If I had just provided answers without questioning further, who knows how the end result would have turned out.


What do you think of this quote?


Have a marvelous Friday.




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