Judge A Man By His Questions – Voltaire, Inspirational Quotes and Meaning

Posted on Posted in Quote Of The Day

Judge A Man!

We have ever professed that the questions hold the key to our lives, the questions decide how we are going to think, what we are going to do about it and it is these questions which determine the emotional quality of our lives. And to support this, we have voltaire’s inspirational quote to the rescue:

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“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltai

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”


It sounds like an elegant quote doesn’t it? Let us try and explore the intricacies the quote might address. I think it seems very simplistic from the outside – ask the right questions and you have the right way of life – simple isn’t it? But why does it have to be about the questions? All along our life, we have been culturally taught that the smart ones know the answers and they are the ones to be looked up to. And out comes Voltaire talking about a quote which says questions are more important than the answers. In other words, a smart one doesn’t need to feel that important at all. A know it all doesn’t seem to feel that important at all.

Judge a Man – An alternative approach?

Maybe we can approach this with an instance. We all know have big challenges in our lives and sometimes we do fall right on our face. The next instance, we feel bad about it, it feels like life sucks and somehow it seems that this kind of thing always happens to us. And we are out there rushing to find the solutions. Instead, can we just stop for a minute and ask ourselves

  • What is the meaning of this?
  • What else could this mean?
  • How can I use this situation?
  • Do I need to alter my strategy?
  • Do I need to live for a higher standard?

Instead of asking

  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • Does it mean that I should give up this goal?
  • I am not smart enough to make this happen
  • I am not cut out for this, maybe I should choose a smaller goal?
  • Am I that dumb that people keep taking advantage of me?

Look at the two scenarios and see what answers you get for each one of these. Depending on the kind of questions you ask, you will get corresponding answers. You can ask why or you can ask why not, it is up to your mental balance and strength. We all are pretty smart and we can easily find out the answers. We have smart people around us, we can discuss with them, we have our mentors who can guide us.But it does matter as to what question we ask these mentors. For as you sow, so shall you reap!

Judge a Man – The Questions you ask!

The questions do mean a lot in life, not just for the sake of saying it, but for the sake that they define where your life is headed and how you are going to shape your life. You can wallow in weaker questions or ask better questions to improve the quality of life.

And the kind of questions a person asks largely defines the kind of people around him and also the quality of answers he is going to get.

So next time someone says that the answers mean everything, you may for once stop and ask – Answers to what questions? And that is going to make all the difference!

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18 thoughts on “Judge A Man By His Questions – Voltaire, Inspirational Quotes and Meaning

  1. This is such an intriguing quote Vinay, explained with so much of gravity. Even I feel one’s answers can be moulded according to the questions and he/she can tactfully manipulate the examiner, but one’s questions are the sole criteria on which he/she can be easily judged for it can give a proper idea of where his/her thought-process is leading him/her. You have done quite a justice to the quote 🙂

    1. Thank you Maitreni, that means a lot :). I have always loved understanding the quotes and the various dimensions they can take. So many times it is so easy to take quotes in a romantic manner which makes us forget the practical angle to it. The mission we are after here is to identify the practicality of the same and see how we can implement these in our lives to make lives much more simpler and easier. And what better than a quote about questions and how well they can make a difference in our lives. Questions sure are they key and voltaire knows just too well to put it across in the form of an amazing quote 🙂

    1. Thank you Somali. For a long time, I have believed that the questions are the key to the quality of our life and determine our satisfaction levels too. They determine how we respond to a situation and its long term implications too. They are way too important to put them away in neglect.

  2. I guess what it really represents is how we see a situation. Rather than observe the intricacies alone. It is the first reaction to anything in our lives, thats what questions reveal..

    1. Very very true Richa. I was listening to Modi’s interaction with the students today and he said something similar about failures and successes in life and how important it is – the way we look at the outcomes and situations in our lives. In other words, the questions we ask and the terms we set for ourselves are sure gonna make a lot of difference.

  3. Asking the right question at the right time opens new perspective and unknown doors… 🙂

    Loved the post, Vinay, as well as the quote… 🙂

  4. Truelly agreed wid it
    But one thought came in mind that simetimes stupidity hasbalso been made association with type of question you ask.
    So ppl rather prefer nt asking dem with the apprehension of this.

    1. Agreed mate, maybe that fear of being proved stupid or looked down upon by peers or a crowd makes us feel a little left out and wonder actually whether we should ask or not. But then, the world would not have been a better place if not for those stupid questions which changed the way we look at life.

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