Questions can help you change the direction of your thoughts.
In a conversation between two people, the person who asks the questions- and is willing to listen- is the person who controls the conversation. Questions are the negotiator’s most effective tool. To ask the right question and sit back to let the other person talk, is an art all top negotiators have perfected.
If you have ever dealt with a curious five-year old, you know the truth about questions. The little human, with barely enough sense to come out of the rain, can bring you to your knees in nothing flat. All with the help of her non-stop queries. On and on she would go. Each answered query preparing the ground for three more. You begin to realize that there are plenty more where the last truckload came from. While you mop your brow and feel nettled, the little human is cool as cucumbers and enjoying herself hugely.
Everyone asks questions of themselves. It is a human thing; a standard, default setting. Unfortunately most people ask themselves disempowering, defeating questions, like these:
1. Why does this only happen to me?
2. Why am I such an idiot? I ought to have done that when I had the chance!
3. Why should I do all the work around here?
4. What’s in it for me?
And the list goes on.
Such questions are drain you and bring you to a stand-still. They let you wallow in your alleged helplessness and never hold you up to a higher standard. They also keep you arrested in the musty dungeons of your best life.
Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.
~ Shannon L. Alder
Now that you are convinced how effective questions are, here are two to shake you up a little.
Question #1: Which are your three biggest fears?
The two primary motivators driving human beings are- the possibility of acquiring something or the fear of losing something. Society being largely negative, most of people are fear-driven instead of being led by calm confidence. They do things because they are afraid of losing something if they don’t do them, not because they are excited about getting something if they do it.
You may work hard because you enjoy the work and are proud of your ability to do it well. Or you may work- as hard as you are made to- because you might lose your job if you don’t. There is huge difference between the two.
If the latter, you would only work as hard as you must. You would relax whenever you find you are not being supervised. In case of the former, you don’t care if someone is watching you or not. You’re enjoying yourself too much to think of what others are doing. As they say, you true character is how you are when no one’s watching you!
When you let your fears drive you, you come to a standstill, petrified to move. Or they whisper insidious nonsense in your ears when you are enthused about a new turn your life has taken. They stand with a bucketful of sand to throw into the first delicious spread life has arranged for you. They control you to such an extent that you expect their destructive presence even when they are nowhere to be seen.
Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.
~ J.D. Stroube
When you identify them, you can watch out for them and take steps to disarm them. You can mount vigilance to see which of your decisions are based on your fears and decide to not let them control your inner narrative anymore. You can say, ENOUGH!
Question #2: What is that ONE thing you could change- about yourself or your circumstances- that would have the biggest impact on your life?
Did you know, if you change just ONE thing about your life- the way you do things, your worldview, your habits- you could completely turn your life around? But you can! It is true!
The turn-around doesn’t only happen because of the one thing you altered. It happens because one modification initiates a cascade of transformations. Before you know it, mountains have moved and rivers are spanned with bridges you never noticed before.
Have you met people who are always in the perfect position to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves? While you are still thinking and debating in an agony of suspense, they have already vaulted over to the next ledge and are up and away to the top! You know how they do it?
They ask themselves empowering, energizing questions, that’s how!