Monday, May 26, 2008

The Amateur Mimic

My son – a gifted student and amateur mimic – came home one day and did an impression of Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, the president of UMBC

I believe he captured the man, and it was more than his intonation and gestures; it was what he said.

He borrowed a quote that Dr. Hrabowski often uses when defining the environment and culture that characterizes UMBC.

Isido Rabi, the 1944 Nobel Prize winner in physics, when interviewed about his achievements, he said he owed it all to his mother. “When we got out of school, all the mothers would ask their children what they had learned that day. My mother would inquire instead, 'What did you ask today in class?'"

This quote has stayed with me. It is one of those simple yet insightful phrases.

My advice to you today is to continue to ask questions throughout your professional career – but it is important to ask good questions.

Be sensitive in choosing where you ask your question. You are likely to be ignored, or dismissed if you:

- ask your question to a forum where it's off topic, or
- pose a very elementary question where advanced questions are expected, or vice-versa.

Don’t ask a question when the sole intent is to make someone look bad.

Manage your tone. Don’t be adversarial.

1 comment:

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