Questions are a powerful tool for changing our lives. We evaluate ourselves by asking questions. There’s a power in them. As an old proverb states, “He that cannot ask, cannot live.”
Why Ask Questions?
- Questions force us to look at things that empower us. They help us become more joyful, instead of being pulled down into frustration, anger and victimhood.
- They help stop memories we delete.
- They make us more resourceful. In other words, questions change what we notice, what we focus on, what we think, how we think, what we believe and what we appreciate.
- If they’re specific and well thought-out, they allow us to achieve our desires.
- They change our perception.
- And finally, when we ask potent questions, we change!
- If we want to access files on a computer, we must ask for them with proper commands. Likewise, to get things from our personal database we need to ask questions. Like a genie, our brain will give us whatever we ask of it.
Questions are the primary way that we learn. Thinking is actually just the process of asking and answering questions. Questions control our thinking, and our thinking directs what we focus on. In other words, questions instantly concentrate our focus. As Tony Robbins said, “Questions are the laser of human consciousness.”
Thus, by changing our questions, we change our focus. In other words, we can control our focus by asking questions. This is, in fact, the quickest way to change our focus.
Once our focus is controlled this determines how we feel. How we feel then determines what we do. Thus, questions determine what we do!
The Socratic method
The Socratic method (developed by Socrates) is a teaching method where the teacher does nothing but asks questions, directing the students’ focus, and getting them to come up with their own answers. Socrates demanded that everything be questioned. He famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Asking Better Questions
The quality of our lives comes down to the questions we ask ourselves daily. If we want to change the quality of our lives, we need to change the quality of our habitual questions. If we ask better questions, we’ll find the answer. In fact, quality questions give us quality answers. And, terrible questions gives us terrible answers. As E. E. Cummings said, “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.”
If we feel a certain way on an ongoing basis, it’s because we’re asking the same questions on a regular basis. For example, if we’re bored it’s probably because we’re asking lousy questions. And if we’re depressed, it’s because we’re asking disempowering questions.
Asking lousy questions gives us lousy answers. But, if we change our questions and ask rich, first-class questions, we get rich, first-class answers!
Isn’t it true that we all have treasured moments in our lives and that if all we did was focus on them we’d immediately feel wonderful again? Empowering questions like: “What are my most treasured memories?” or “What’s really great in my life right now?” guide us to moments like these.
Thus, to change our lives, we must change our questions. Better questions give us better answers. And, superior questions gives us a superior life.
Better Question Leads To Solutions
All human progress is preceded by new questions. Questions are the answers. By asking better questions we focus on solutions even if our brain initially responds, “There’s nothing I can do.”
For example, if we ask, “How can I do this?” or “How can I change my state so that I ‘m feeling happy and I’m being more lovable?”, we instantly focus on solutions. These types of questions lead us to turn our difficulties into a driving force that makes ourselves and the world a better place.
Poor Questions Leads To Depression
Do you feel like you have no time for yourself and that your life is out of balance? This is a poor question! Note the negative presupposition of this question. It asks, “What’s not perfect yet?”
We have to be careful of what we ask. Victims uncaringly ask questions with no forethought. The difference between victims and leaders is in the different questions they ask.
Most of us have a primary question, a question that we ask so often that it creates the dominant focus of our lives. Guess what this question is? It’s:
- What’s wrong with me?
- Am I even worthy of this?
- What’s the use?
- Can I do this?
- Will I ever be successful?
- Will I ever be X?
- Why even try?
- Why me?
Asking “Why can’t I succeed?” or “Why me?” doesn’t produce a positive result.
If we ask ourselves questions like “Why do I always sabotage myself?” after something ends terribly, we’re only setting ourselves up for more of the same —which sets in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy. A better question, though not great, is asking whether we sabotage ourselves, not why.
Consistently asking, “Why am I so depressed?” or “Why doesn’t anybody like me?” we’ll make us depressed. We’ll get sad and upset by asking disempowering “why” questions like the above. In other words, we create doubt because of we ask doubtful questions!
Asking lousy questions makes us feel lousy. Why? Because by asking, “Why can’t I ever succeed?”, our brains come up with an answer even if it has to make something up! As the Cameroon proverb states, “He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers.” Thus, our brain replies, “Because you’re stupid,” or “Because you don’t deserve to do well anyway.”
Never ask yourself, “What’s really lousy in my life?” Instead ask, “What’s really great in your life right now?”
Questions in Dieting & Weight Loss
The same concept applies with asking, “Why am I so fat?” Our brains come up with an answer why we’re fat. Some more empowering question are:
- How can I become thinner right now? (Good)
- What can I do consistently to become thin? (Better)
- How can I become thin now and enjoy the process? (Best)
The last one creates pleasure which our brain likes. Pleasure means more chance we’ll follow through!
Questions In Business
Businesses succeed when leaders ask the hard questions —the questions about markets, strategies and product lines.
Bill Gates’ primary question was, “How do we become the intelligence that runs the information superhighway?” Larry Page’s question was, “How do we organize the world’s information?” They then transferred these question to their company and created an action plan.
All leaders ask more questions than give statements.
We’re already asking ourselves questions in the morning. Let’s ask empowering ones! What if every morning we consciously asked a list of questions that would put us in the right frame of mind and caused us to remember how grateful, happy, and excited we are?
The wonderful thing about asking ourselves questions in the morning is that we can do it in the shower, while we’re shaving, brewing coffee or any mundane morning tasks.
The following questions are designed to cause us to experience more happiness, excitement, pride, gratitude, joy, commitment, and love in our lives. Come up with two or three answers to these questions. If you have difficulty discovering an answer simply add the word “could.” For example: “What could I be most happy about in my life now?”
- What will I focus on today?
- What will I do today that will make it more fun?
- What will I do today that will create a breakthrough in my life?
- What will I do today that will connect me with my family?
- What will I see today that I noticed before?
- What will happen today that will make me feel total pleasure?
- What am I most happy about in my life now?
When we ask powerful questions like these in the morning, our brains associate powerful emotions with waking up. It gets anchored to pleasure!
Take a moment to really dwell on your answers. The more you stack your emotions, the more you’re going to feel.
A side note: When you ask a question you really have to ask it with sincerity, awareness and desire. This way your brain will actually go out and find the answer.
What About Affirmations?
There’s a difference between an affirmation and a question. When you recite, “I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy,” this might cause you to feel happy if you produce enough emotional intensity and change your physiology. But in reality, you can make affirmations all day long and not really change how you feel. What will really change the way you feel is asking, “What am I grateful about now?” or “What could I be happy about if I wanted to be?
Questions are more powerful than affirmations. Instead of just pumping us up, they provide us with actual reasons to feel the emotion.
Life is just Jeopardy. All the answers are there. All we have to do is come up with the right questions to win. Luckily, I’ve compiled the best questions I’ve found to motivate, inspire and empower us —which will be available in the next month.
Inner research will expose how successful and great we already are. So, free yourself right now by asking better, empowering, first-class questions.
Remember, it’s not just the questions we ask, but also the questions we fail to ask that shape our destiny.
To your success,