Ask yourself this question “What would help me to _?" Questioning is one of the two main functions of the mind. The other being affirming old and new beliefs. What do I mean? Well, all day long as information is pumped at you, you're evaluating it so you can decide which of it you deem necessary to focus on. You need to have a feeling about what everything coming at you means so you can take the most appropriate action or none at all.
Much of this questioning is unconscious. For example, if you're driving and a man steps in front of your car, you don't have to take a lot of time and say, “What does this mean and what should I do?" No, that should be automatic. As soon as you realize what's happening, you slam on the brakes or swerve, avoiding a collision.
And it's our level of awareness of what's around us that determines what we do. . . Our habitual questions, conscious and unconscious (literally automatic). If you thought I was incorrect about the last series of events being automatic, you're right. You get a gold star!
See, many people would “freeze up" and slam into the person. Others would miss the brake and hit the gas. Ooooh! Others would brake and keep the wheel straight. Some might swerve away from the man only to hit the oncoming traffic, or the other way. . .into other people. It just depends on your awareness. And your conditioning. Ever see people who just back right out of their driveways into oncoming traffic without looking? It's amazing to watch. No awareness of what's going on around them! Their minds are somewhere else completely.
The human mind has pictures and words flying in and out all the time, and it keeps most of us from being aware of what's going on around us. Many people are in a literal daze most of the time. Let's separate you from the multitudes, shall we? How? I'm glad you asked. Without getting lost in the minutiae (I don't want to home in on driving skills), let's stay general and you can focus in on it yourself.
What separates the winners in most situations from the losers? Most people's moment-by-moment questions just “fly in" to their heads all throughout the day. . . while many truly happy and successful people have a trained, practiced habit of asking empowering, course correcting questions all the time. The sad truth, though, is that of those people, most of them came about this good mental habit by accident. They don't know how they got that way; the same way the larger group, the “negative" thinkers got their habitual thought patterns. The danger of this ignorance is that you can be good at some skills and simply horrible at others. So it's important to know how you succeed in one area of life so you can duplicate it in others.
Are you starting to see the life altering power of controlling your automatic questioning mechanism? Good, because positive thinking is good, but you have to be able to do it automatically without “thinking" to be a true positive thinker and to able to reap the benefits. A lot of people in the personal development field like to put their twist on how positive thinking doesn't work. It does work. . .
But like anything else, if you don't practice it, you stop doing it. And since any kind of thinking, positive or not, is something that is going on every second of the day (except in our deepest levels of sleep), you really need to practice it for you to develop mastery. So positive thinking, while great, can't keep you from getting sidetracked and backing out of your driveway into oncoming traffic. That comes from awareness and getting the right mental questions anchored into your nervous system.
How? By practice. So don't think that I'm going to tell you that you can be a master of this in one day. One day goes by, you're still getting rotten results with people and projects and then you'd be even more cynical than before.
I'll give you an example of how our questioning dictates what results we get. This weekend, my step-daughter dropped a glass in the sink and glass went everywhere. The probability was that it was on the floor, too, since it was quite an explosion. She had bare feet and was in no hurry to get some shoes on before the cleaning began. So I ASKED her if she thought some glass might have gotten on the floor. She said what you'd expect from a thirteen-year-old. . . “I don't know. " You see, at thirteen, references for many things in life are limited. So questions like the ones I asked her don't pop in as easily or even at all.
The trouble is hundreds of millions of people who are much older still fail to even think of asking these most basic of questions most of the time (yours truly included). If you aren't habitually (and eventually, unconsciously) asking the most empowering questions of yourself, you're going to be picking a lot of glass out of your feet. . . or just making the same mistakes over and over again. . . Living a life with little joy, peace or accomplishment.
Take heart. You can learn to do this, habitually. And with practice, it will get wired into your mind and body. You'll avoid making stupid mistakes at the simplest of tasks. It's not easy, but it's simple to do. And there is a difference. There are thousands of empowering questions you can use in your daily moments. Empowering questions don't only take the shape of the ones that you see at the top of my most of my articles.
They can be as simple as, “Could shards of glass have fallen onto the floor?" And, “How can I hold this so it won't fall?" And please don't think this is too basic, in the scope of the challenges you face each day, to make a difference. Don't, Don't, Don't! The awareness of this and then working at mastering it helped me become the highest paid person in the world in my field, and it can provide many other benefits for you.
At work, you can ask questions like, “What is he thinking right now?" If you don't, you can't anticipate the right thing to say NEXT! “Is it going to rain today?" is a question that many people don't ask and end up getting wet. Because if the answer is maybe, you can bring an umbrella. Not even being aware enough to ask the question, means higher cleaning bills, shoes that need to be replaced sooner, poor image to others. . . and a poor self image.
"I can't do anything right. Why am I so stupid?" become the questions that you come up with instead of ones that could turn your life around in a flash. We've only covered the most elementary building blocks of question asking, but can't you feel a little of the power already? Hey, this helped take me from living on four wheels to standing on two feet.
- My habitual questions steer me in the right directions
- I ask questions that give me options and alternatives
- I pay attention to my questions and recognize their value
- I ask “How?" and I get answers
- My questions empower me to be effective and happy in all areas of life
- I look at all consequences before I decide my actions
- I'm aware of my immediate surroundings as appropriate
- I ask questions that force me to get life changing answers
EMPOWERING QUOTE: “The smart ones ask when they don't know. And sometimes when they do. " -Malcolm Forbes
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