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The Power of Asking Questions

Published on Thursday, June 08, 2017

At the end of the semester, my professor sent out a summer reading list of books that he believes that every young professional needs to read. Now I know what you are thinking…it sounds horrible right? Who wants to read a bunch of nonfiction business books over summer vacation? Trust me, I would much rather be catching up on the latest by Nicholas Sparks, or curdled up at the lake with People magazine. But, as I have finished a few of the books, I have found them all to be insightful and relatable, especially during my internship at Beck’s.

Currently, I am reading a book by Coach Bob Knight titled “The Power of Negative Thinking.” I have pushed off reading this book for a while as my mind instantly flashes to the infamous video of Knight hurling the red plastic chair at the referee after receiving a technical against Purdue. I didn’t understand how my professor could possibly make a connection to our future careers in a controversial basketball coach’s book. When I finally got my hands on the book, I soon realized that Knight makes some great points, not only about coaching and how to be a leader, but about life.

I grew up hearing stories about my Mom attending IU basketball games when Bob Knight was the coach. Getting to attend IU games with my friends is one of my favorite parts about being a Hoosier.  

Knight’s entire book is focused on how negative thinking can actually help you achieve positive results. At first, I was unsure how being a negative person will make me a better person, or become a better intern at Beck’s. As I continued reading, I realized that he is right.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “…being alert to the possible negatives in any situation is the very best way to bring about positive results.” Knight’s whole strategy in coaching and in life is realizing your mistakes and limiting them to make yourself a better leader and ultimately, a more successful person.

Though I was skeptical about reading Knight’s book, I soon realized that Knight makes some great points, not only about coaching and how to be a leader, but about life.

I can relate negative thinking to my Beck’s internship. In the book, Knight talks about the power of not knowing the answer. He says, “Asking questions is the essence of learning.” He believes that a leader cannot be afraid to admit to himself or others: I don’t know. He believes that when you are able to admit your flaws, and figure out the answers, you are more likely to be successful in everything you do.

In my previous blog, I mentioned I had no previous experience in agriculture. This made my onboarding experience a little overwhelming as we learned about plant life cycles, weed types, pests, and corn breeding techniques. But what helped keep me grounded was the ability to admit to myself and others that I didn’t know.

My intern roommates have been helpful in answering my many questions I have had about agriculture. During onboarding week, we took our materials to Alexander’s Ice Cream to go over what we learned that day. Now that is what I call multitasking.

Luckily, I work in an environment where people are more than willing to put aside what they are working on and help you understand. I have only been here for a few weeks, but I have asked countless questions to my fellow employees which has helped me learn and grow in my internship. I’m not afraid to admit I didn’t know the benefits of a cover crop, or understand what de-tasseling was.

But guess what, I could tell you now.

So this summer I will be following a credo, written by Rudyard Kipling that journalists like to follow:

I have six honest serving men.

They taught me all I knew.

Their names are

What, Where, When

How, Why, and Who.


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Marissa Melchi
Marissa Melchi>

Marissa Melchi

Marketing Intern

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