dreams

What To Do with Stupid Questions

photo shows room of business people with hands up to ask questions

For a lot of people, there is nothing scarier than raising their hand—in the classroom, in the boardroom, wherever. 

“What if I ask a stupid question? Everyone will think I’m totally lost…” 

“What if what I’m asking for is outrageous? Everyone will think I’m greedy, delusional…” 

We’ve known plenty of teachers who trot out the old line that “there are no stupid questions.” Our fear of judgment, of facing what we don’t know, of owning our dreams—that feels way more real than pretending that no one will judge us. 

Sometimes, though, we are our own best foil. We talk ourselves out of what we want before we even let ourselves say it out loud! We go into negotiations muzzled by our fear, so we ask for less than we want. We refuse to raise our hand, so we never get the answers we need. 

But we’ve got a trick for this, and we practice it in every conversation. Whether we’re working with each other on the staff, with you, or with our friends and colleagues at LPL, we wield a powerful tool that can defeat any stupid question. 

Curiosity.  

Curiosity is by far the best treatment for that fear: you just have to let yourself be more interested finding solutions and gaining understanding than you are afraid of how you look. 

And clients, we think it applies to you, too. When we work on your financial plans and planning, honest answers take us farther. Where are you headed? What are your dreams? What ideas and questions do you have? 

Why lowball our goals before we even get to work on them? Let’s give them a fighting chance. 

Clients, when you’re ready to talk about this or anything else, write or call. 


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Living the Reality

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We have heard the phrase “living the dream” when someone describes a life in which everything is going well. I have used it myself once or twice.

But the truth is life has rough spots. What dream would include family and friends with chronic diseases and other issues, funerals for those we admire or love, and all the other challenges one might face?

Of course, there are joyous and glorious things in life, too. Most of us would have a difficult time counting all of our blessings. So joy and pain—both are part of the deal. Some have it better, some have it worse, and our fortunes do fluctuate.

We believe the long-term view that serves investors well is also valuable in keeping the bad patches in perspective. “This too shall pass” is helpful in thinking about both the worst times in our lives and economic recessions or market turmoil. One may find glimmers of hope for better days even on bad days.

Another way to cope is to find ways to soften or cushion or rebalance some of our worries. I outsource worrying about the lawn to a lawn service, for example, while I get to worry more about how to grow your buckets. Hopefully, by letting us worry about your buckets for you, you might have less worrying to do. If we can do that, we will know that our work has value and we are probably doing something right.

We are not living the dream. We are living the reality, coping when we need to, celebrating when we can. That is life in all its glory.

So grateful you are a part of it.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.