It's common to find individuals stuck while performing a given task. At such points, others ask for help while others try to solve the challenges individually. In the beginning of this week, in a meeting with some of the African Maths Initiative team members, an invaluable topic came up. I must say that I learned in tremendous ways about the value of asking when you are stuck or unsure about something.
One day a student who had recently enrolled in a graduate school went over to his master and asked him, How do I prepare for this research exercise?
“Do not be afraid to ask” the master replied.
The student went further and inquired, how do I learn to ask?
The master asked him, do you know how a bell functions? What happens when you strike it lightly?
“Very limited sound comes out”, the student answered.
What if you bang it repeatedly?, the master asked.
The student answered that the bell can be heard ringing from a far.
At this point the master said, according to Paulo Coehlo in his book the Warrior of Light Volume 3, A master is like a bell. If you strike it lightly, all you will heard is a gentle vibration. But if you bang it freely, it will resonate loudly and shake you to the depths of your soul. Ask with courage, and only stop
when you obtain the answer you sought.
From then on the student mastered the art of asking questions and it's through this that he was able to learn from the language of the master.