Have you ever noticed that when we speak to ourselves, it's entirely in the format of questions and answers? We ask ourselves questions about everything, ultimately questioning if we reject or accept something. Think about it, whether you agree with what I just said or not, you had to ask yourself if you believe it to be true or not. Personal development legend, Tony Robbins, points out this question and answer thinking pattern in his powerful book, "Awaken the Giant Within," as he distinguishes that the difference between quality and subpar lives lies in the quality of questions we ask ourselves. Our mind is more powerful than a Google search; when you ask it a question it will go on a relentless hunt to provide you with answers. This indicates that you can change the quality of your life just by changing the quality of your questions!
Our lives are dictated by our state, not by our level of intelligence, talent, circumstances, etc. In order to truly be motivated to succeed, you have to be in a successful state! But how do you change your state? By changing your FOCUS. Your focus is like a camera lens, it only captures one angle of reality, thus completely distorting it. Your focus does not equate to objective reality, but it does determine your reality. The best way to change your focus is to change your questions. Think about the question, "Why does this always happen to me?" First, this question is totally rooted in a state of victimhood because it implies that life is happening to you versus you being the creator of your reality. Second, your brain will execute on finding you the answer, even if the answer is not the truth. "This always happens to me because life is unfair" or "I am just destined for problems" maybe some disempowering responses your mind comes up with. But now think about the question, "What can I learn from this?" BOOM! Your mind is on the hunt to discover all the lessons available in your given situation and your "problem" has now become an opportunity for growth.
This concept not only works with yourself, but it works tremendously with others, as well. Every answer we will ever come up with already lies within us. The most powerful coaches and influencers don't give answers, they ask powerful questions to guide others to discover their own answers! Advice is not nearly as powerful or effective as asking the right questions. The best coaches don't have the best advice, they have the best questions! By knowing what questions to ask ourselves to influence ourselves, we begin to develop the skill in asking others the right empowering questions. Leaders know that there is no "right" answer to life's intricate maze of events and emotions, but they do know how to guide themselves and others in the most empowering direction.
So the next time you are faced with a problem, whether it be with another person, a difficult situation, or your own emotions, be conscious of the questions you ask yourself. Here is a list of some powerful questions that have served me:
What am I grateful for?
What am I in control of right now?
How can I grow from this?
How can I contribute today?
What can I learn from this?
Am I behaving in a way that is aligned with my vision?
What can I do that will make me feel great right now?
Is this serving me?
What makes me powerful?
How can I use my strengths to my advantage?