We humans ask questions. Lots of questions. It’s what we do.
It begins the moment we can speak:
“What’s his name?”
“Where are you mum?”
“Can I have some?”
“What’s she doing?”
“Who’s that man?”
“Why is he so fat?”
And so begins a life of enquiry.
Of course, many of our questions are relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme of things (“will I wear the blue shirt today or the brown?”) but then, many aren’t. In fact, some questions are potentially life-changing, should we choose to ask the right ones.
Question 1: How come I just look at food and I gain weight but she can eat whatever she wants?
The Likely Outcome: Self-pity, no change of behaviour, no strategic thinking, no weight-loss, wasted possibilities, misery.
Question 2: Based on my genetics, age, goals, habits and lifestyle, what’s the optimal way for me to eat?
The Likely Outcome: Better decisions, reactions, behaviours and results.
When we ask better questions, six important things happen:
1. We put ourselves in a more creative, solution-focused headspace.
2. We invest our emotional energy more intelligently.
3. We make better decisions.
4. We do better things.
5. We explore our potential, instead of wasting it.
6. We create better outcomes.
So, how do we ask great questions (that’s a great question right there)?
1. Identify what’s within your control and what’s not.
2. Identify the problem but be all about the solution.
3. Turn down the emotion and turn up the logic.
4. Don’t ask sympathy-seeking questions (“why is life so unfair?”).
5. Invest your energy where you’ll get the best return.
6. Ask the courageous questions (not the easy ones).
7. When something undesirable happens in your world (and it will), hit the pause button before you react… and take a breath. Be still for a moment (physically and mentally), then do your best to de-emotionalise the situation and ask yourself an intelligent, solution-focused question.
Or, you could throw something and swear a lot.