It was back in business school, I think, that I picked up this nickname. Some friends called me "Question Mark". It was probably due to the quizzical look on my face. Or was it because of the number of questions that I asked? I am not sure, but, this was something I picked up along the way, and I am talking of not just the nickname. At times, I have wondered if this questioning mind is a good thing or a bad thing. Someone said curiosity killed the cat, but is that true?
Last month at an industry event, I had the privilege of listening to John Sculley, the Apple ex-CEO. Yes, the same John Sculley who fired Steve Jobs, or should I say, misfired Steve Jobs, the first time around at Apple. Mr. Sculley is an energetic seventy plus globe-trotter who now invests in transformational companies and in transformational ideas. He was talking at the forum about building game-changing companies. He had the enthusiasm of a young child. He had a sparkle in his eyes. He had a bounce in his footstep. It made me wonder what kept him going? He said that he has a curious mind, he has questions and he wants to find answers to those questions. He could not stop. He could not retire. And this curious mind, this questioning mind kept him young. Young at heart and with a younger mind, he talked about his peers who have retired to a game of golf and lost touch with the world. He talked about his peers who have stopped asking the questions. He says they have aged and their mind has become dull. This makes me introspect and I try to rationalize that it is a good thing to ask questions. It keeps you engaged, it keeps you going, it keeps you young.
I see my children and their curiosity. Their open mind is always seeking answers. There is joy in finding those answers. There is an innocence and excitement in the process. I want to get back to that childlike state. I want to get back to the basics. I don't want to think of what impression others will have of me and my questions. I am not going to worry if the question is stupid. I am going to ask it anyway. I have to live up to my nickname, I have earned it and I need to keep it. And if nothing else, it keeps me young beneath the graying hair. Question Mark? The name is worth it and I intend to keep it.