During my college days, I once asked my English professor – Mr. Pramesh Ratnakar to recommend a book that will help me develop my intellect.
Professor Ratnakar didn’t refer any book, but he did give me the most valuable lesson of my life. He said that there is only one way to develop your intellect, and that is by questioning everything, and getting to the bottom of everything.
Keep asking – Why? – till you understand everything.
At that time – I promptly ignored the advise, went to the library, and picked up – War and Peace. After struggling with the classic for a week – I returned it.
It was easier to ask whys than understand Tolstoy. So I started asking Whys, and the habit developed. It is a great habit, and questioning everything; getting answers, and then questioning those answers is the best advice I ever got.
Unfortunately, for me, I don’t ask enough whys.
As I read about one of the biggest corporate frauds in India, it reminded me, that I hadn’t asked enough whys. There were a lot of symptoms of the trouble that was brewing.
Why did the promoter want to buy a stake in his son’s company – when it was apparent that the whole deal will blow up?
Why did the company have so much cash on low yielding current accounts?
How did the company declare great profits – quarter after quarter – when other companies were struggling?
These are just some questions, among a lot others, and in hindsight – everything falls in place perfectly.
Question everything, find answers, and then question the answers. Better than reading Tolstoy.