One thing that sparks change in our lives is through asking questions. As the saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive,” is truer than ever. When we ask the right question, we get the right answer. And when we ask insightful and thought-provoking questions, we can change our lives and live better.
“By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.”
– Peter Abelard
You see, when you’re a child, you question almost everything. You ask why the earth is round, where do you come from, why do you have to go to school, what happens when people die, etc.
But as you grow older, venturing into the adult and ‘real’ world, you don’t ask as much anymore. You simply accept what is being given to you. You have been trained to accept and to follow.
You see, we all are constantly asking questions.
You ask what you need to do later, what do you want to eat for lunch, why are you reading this, how can this help you in your life, is your manager notice you’re reading this while you should be working, etc.
This is simply how our human brains work. We are constantly asking questions and evaluating everything that we’re doing.
Hence, the philosophy is straight forward – ask the right questions will give you the right answers you need to move forward in life.
Your Answers Come from Your Questions
I know this sounds a little stupid. Of course, your answers come from your questions. But one thing you have to understand is that the answers you get is a direct result of your questions.
In other words, if you ask lousy questions, you will get lousy answers. And if you ask quality questions, you will get quality answers that will improve your life and get you where you want to go.
Our minds work like a big file cabinet. When you ask certain questions, your mind will search for the answers inside your mind. Pretty much like how Google works.
There are good and bad for this:
The bad – your life highly depended on the quality of questions you ask yourself at every moment.
The good – you can consciously ask yourself the right questions that spark your creativity and desire to live a better life.
Which means to say, you can be in control of your life if you want to be.
People who are living in mediocrity is a result of asking lousy questions. They constantly asking themselves things like:
- Why am I so unlucky?
- What if I fail? What if I do it and others laugh at me?
- Why me? Why am I the one who always have to do this? Is it because I’m an easy target?
Now, here’s a test I would like you to try out. Just imagine that you started a business and you failed at it. Ask yourself why you fail.
Guess what, your mind will work like Google, it will search for all the relevant answers to your question.
For instance, your mind will come out with results such as:
- I failed because I’m not lucky enough.
- I failed because the timing isn’t right.
- I failed because the competition is too tough.
- I failed because I’m not skillful enough and I don’t know how to manage my business.
Whatever your answers, they are the result of your question.
What if you can ask better questions that will spark your motivation and change your life?
Ask Empowering Questions to Get Empowering Answers
This is what you want to do if you want to move forward and change your life. You have to constantly ask yourself empowering questions.
Instead of asking yourself why you failed, ask yourself what you have learned from your failure.
Don’t you think this is a better question? And guess what, if you ask yourself what you have learned from your failure, your mind will search for the answers:
- I know my business fail because I’m not a good people manager, and I’m going to improve this area where I’m weak.
- I didn’t manage my cashflow properly and that is why the business failed. And now I know better.
- I have learned that running a business isn’t easy, but I’m still passionate about it. I’m going to rise again and do it better.
As you can see, your questions determine your answers, and your answers determine your way of doing.
Therefore, by asking the right questions, you will receive the right answers that can drive you to make positive changes and live a better life.
So, what are the questions you should ask yourself from time to time? Here are seven…
1. What will happen if you continue to do what you do and live this way?
If you want change, you need to constantly ask yourself this question. What is going to be different if you continue to do what you do for a month, a year, or even 3 years down the road?
Do you see yourself making a difference?
For example, if you are working in a company and you’re thinking about your future whether you should continue to stay there and work or whether should you do something else, this question is going to help you a lot.
By asking if the things you’re doing going to make a difference in the future, you know what kind of results you’ll be getting.
Take me as an example. I’m a blogger and I publish content every week. If this is the only thing that I do every week, I’m not going to make a huge difference in the future.
I discovered that writing content alone is not going to make much difference in my life as a blogger. I needed to diversify my work and also come up with more effective ways to promote my content.
There is no point to keep publishing if there is no one there to read my content. This is a big mistake most bloggers made. They are passionate about writing and that is why they keep on publishing content on their blogs.
However, they fail to realize that if they wanted to build a successful blogging career, they needed more. They need to also think like a marketer and learn to market their blogs to the world.
So, ask yourself, what will happen if you continue to what you’ve been doing all this while?
Will your work get you where you want to go? If yes, great, then just continue your effort. But if the answer is a no, you need to make a change.
2. When is the last time you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone?
As we all know, venturing out of our comfort zone and doing things that challenge us is important. Without challenging ourselves, we will fall back to stagnation.
When you’re a child, you challenge yourself almost every day. You learn new words every day, you learn to play the new toys, you watch the new cartoon, you pick up a new skill from your friends, and you get to taste new food too.
But when you grow to an adult, you don’t do new things anymore. You don’t do things that are difficult. You don’t dare to try new things anymore.
Why? The reason is simple – you are afraid to fail. You prefer to be comfortable and do what you know. And this is why most people are living in mediocrity.
The moment you choose to stay within your comfort zone and don’t want to try new things, you are directly choosing NOT to change.
A lot of people work at a job that they don’t like, yet, they choose not to do anything about it because they prefer things to be predictable and comfortable. This is what kills most people’s dreams.
You have to understand that if you want something different, you will have to do things differently. If you continue to do things the same way, you will never get different results.
This is why it is important to get out of your comfort zone and constantly challenge yourself for growth.
Stop playing it safe. And yes, I know that if you try new things, you can fail. But, that’s the point, isn’t it? Your failure is your experience. And the more experience you gain the better you become, and the more you succeed.
If you keep doing the same old thing, yet you’re expecting a different result, you’re living in a hallucination.
Thus, have the courage to challenge yourself and do things that don’t make you feel comfortable.
I know it is hard to leave your comfort zone, but you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with in order to live the life you dream about.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
3. Where do you spend most of your time on and whom do you spend it with?
This is another important question you should constantly ask yourself. You want to remind yourself to spend time with people who are willing to support you and who can guide you to your goals. Obviously, you don’t want to spend time with people who are going to bring down your life.
The problem with most people is that they don’t ask this question at all. They just take it for granted and think that they are an adult and they know how to manage their lives.
Wrong. When you’re a child, I believe your parents tell you not to mix with who and who, and your parents prefer you to mix with those they think that are ‘good’ kids, right?
However, as we grow into an adult, we don’t question who we spend the most time with anymore. We simply take things for granted.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
And this is true. You become who you spend the most time with. Think about it, if you’re not a drinker but you always go out with a group of drinkers, what will happen?
Eventually, you will buy into their thinking and become a drinker too. The same if you mix with people who always complain, blame, and make lousy excuses. Eventually, you will believe what they say (they’re your friends, remember?) and become part of them.
This is why if you want to soar like an eagle, you should stop swimming with the ducks. If you want to be a winner, then stop spending time with the losers.
Take a minute and think about where and with whom do you spend most of your time.
If your answer is not what you like, you can make a change now.
4. What is the biggest obstacle that is stopping me from living my dream life?
So what is stopping you from living your dream life? It is easy to identify what you want to achieve in life. You can say that you want to be financially free, or you want to build a successful business, or you want to travel the world first class, etc., but what is the biggest obstacle that is stopping you?
You want to know what is the thing that is preventing you from achieving your goal, and then deal with it.
Most people set goals, but they don’t spend time dealing with their number one constraint that stops them from getting the results they want.
And this is why they procrastinate and don’t produce significant results that can change their lives.
Imagine that if you want to start an e-commerce business as a side project, but you don’t have the technical skill to do build a website, are you going to let this obstacle prevent you from reaching your goal? Or are you going to do something about it?
Many people choose to do nothing and let their dreams and goals sink into nothingness. When people asked about it, they will just say that they don’t have the skills or simply make some lousy excuses.
Never let this be you. Identify your obstacles and get rid of them.
If you don’t have the technical skills to build a website, learn how to do it by attending classes or take courses online. Else, hire or outsource the work.
When you get rid of the big rock that is preventing you from moving forward, the change will happen.
5. What will you do if you have only a year to live?
What happens if your time is limited? What if you only have 1 year to live? Are things going to be the same? What are you going to do differently? Will you still be going to work tomorrow? How will your life change?
Every morning, Steve Jobs would ask himself this one question:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
And if the answer Jobs got is “no” for too many days in a row, he knew that he needed to change something. This was how Jobs hold himself accountable and how he made sure he was on the right track.
We all should do this too. Just yourself, if you have only 1 year to live, how are you going to live your life differently?
If this is true, I believe that most of us will never want to waste more time. We will hold ourselves accountable. We will love more, do more, say more “Thank you”, say more “Sorry”, and truly live the life that we desire.
But because we can’t tell when is our last day on earth will be, we take things for granted. We become lazy and we procrastinate because we think that there’s always tomorrow.
In his famous speech, Jobs told his audience:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Yes, your time is limited. So stop living as you have forever to live. You don’t. Hence, take more actions. Live life according to your own terms. Pursue your dreams as much as possible. And more importantly, live with passion!
6. How will you do differently if you can start over again?
The only way you can improve your life and make a change is to do things differently. Thus, you must ask yourself what will you do differently, if you’re given a second chance and start over again.
I know we can’t turn back time and we can’t change what has happened. But, we can do things differently from now on and make the future better.
I learned a lot about life when I watch the movie, Kung Fu Panda. In the second series, Po was defeated, he felt lost and devastated. But he met with Soothsayer that helped him to turn things around. The Soothsayer tells him:
“Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that does not make you who you are, it is the rest of it – who you choose to be.”
My friend, it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve done. What matters most is where you’re going.
Therefore, you must embrace and learn from your past. Remember, if you learn from your past, it becomes your experience. And with experience, you can do better and become wiser.
If you started a blog but you failed to make it work, it is time to review it and do things differently. You can start over and grow your blog again, wiser this time.
If you set your goal to lose weight but you didn’t follow your plan and fail, take that as a lesson and this time, truly commit to it until you get the body shape you want.
You need to know that you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. So, learn the lesson and start over wiser this time.
7. What is the one thing you can do right now to make a positive change in your life?
There is no point to answer all these questions if you’re not going to act on what you’ve learned. If you take your time and really answer the questions above, you will have a better and clearer idea of what you really want out of life.
And you can make a change, but only if you act. If you don’t do anything, no matter how good the questions or the answers you get, your life will never change.
Change requires execution. It is good that you know what you want out of life and you know that you want to make a change. But that will only happen when you MAKE the decision and TAKE the necessary actions.
What is the one thing you can do now that will make a positive change in your life?
Regardless of whether it is to lose weight, to adopt better habits, to exercise 30 minutes every day, to restart your blog, to quit your job and start your own venture, or to make an impact on other’s lives, without actions from your side, nothing will change.
Thus, list all the steps that you can do that will get you the results you want. And then do it.