The Power of Questions

Questions can be limiting or liberating. They oppress us, keeping us stuck or free us to interact and engage. They are powerful tools in our quest to live better, work better and play better.

The Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what you focus on.” Questions direct our focus.

Let’s say you’re at work and struggling with something that is not going well. If you are typical, your internal dialogue is not very empowering. You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t know why I have to do this; it’s a stupid project,” or “I can’t figure this idiotic thing out.” Your entire focus is on your inability to do what you want to (or have to) do.

You cannot find the answer while looking at the problem.

Instead of continuing the struggle, stop and take a deep breath. Ask yourself:

#1 – “What result do I want?” Be very definite in your mind about where you want to go. Sometimes this question alone will clear things up. If not, ask:

#2 – “What are some ways to get there?” Make sure you phrase this question as if there is more than one way. If you ask yourself, “What is the answer?” you may panic. If you think there is only one solution, the pressure is on to make sure you find IT. So keep in mind that there may be more than one answer (and there usually is), and you can relax as you explore.

First have some fun with the sarcastic answers you’ll think of (“What result do I want? I want this project to self-destruct,” or “One way to get there is to give it to someone who actually knows how to do it!”)

Once you’ve gotten through those, you’ll be more relaxed. Now look at some of your other answers. Do not discount them if they seem ridiculous at first.

Often, the silliest answer is the seed for what you need to discover.

It’s important to keep in mind that your brain is not your friend. It’s a neutral machine designed to answer whatever question you pose. It won’t tell you what you want to hear. It will answer the questions you ask with the data it has stored, so word them carefully.

If you ask your brain, “How could I be so stupid?” believe me, it will TELL you!

Not only will your brain agree that you’re stupid, it will illustrate it–in full color–with examples. It’s like a movie screen in your head–to prove its point!

You’ve always been this way. Your second-grade teacher was right–you ARE a moron. As the King of Siam said in Anna and the King, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”

Remember in college when you accidentally threw away your completed term paper? Or how about when you were on vacation and lost your keys on the beach when the tide came in? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The ability to ask yourself (and others) good questions is the key to being an effective problem-solver. Life is a series of problems. The more skilled you are at meeting this challenge, the happier and more productive you will be.

The next time you find yourself with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach, or your heart in your throat, ask yourself the two questions previously discussed. Even better, make up some good questions of your own.

The point is that when you pose questions to your brain, you will get answers. If you frame them carelessly, you become your own oppressor. If you take care to craft them well, you will be the liberator. That is the power of questions.

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