There is something I’ve been quite bad at and I would bet that many of you have been bad at too so I want to talk about it today.
What are the questions we ask ourselves? How good they are? What do they create?
The more I learn about that, the more I understand how I limit myself in many ways. While I was planning this article, they published a short but interesting read on Tony Robbins’ blog, you can find it here.
“The quality of your life is not necessarily based on the quality of your circumstances, it’s based on your mental and emotional filters that determine your perception of the outside world. These filters have been shaped by a number of factors – your culture, your socioeconomic status, your race, your religion, your values, your experiences. And they influence the stories you tell yourself about who you are, what you’re capable of, and what’s achievable or not. By rewiring the root of these filters, however, we can begin to change our habitual perception patterns. And one of the most effective ways of doing this is by asking ourselves better questions.”
I like that introduction and it probably does a better job that I could do. If I look back, before 2016, I never really thought about the questions I am asking my self. These questions come naturally after all, they just pop in my mind and guide my days and for the one that keep coming back, they guided my life to some degree. Many of these questions have been bad for me, they reinforced my limiting self-believes and they kept me stuck where I was. Here are just a few of them that comes from the top of my head:
“Why am I different?
Why can’t I succeed?
Why am I so lazy sometimes?
Why am I not stronger? smarter? more handsome? more interesting? you name it!
How can I suck so much at times?!”
There are many more of these and it is easy to see that I try to find a “good” reason for doing what I am doing, even if it isn’t helping me. Without these (stupid) questions, I make my poor behaviour okay as I have an explanation. I can be a victim of circumstances, I can blame, I can deflect, I can have all the excuses that sound fair so the story I make of the situation is okay.
I could ask myself: How can I contribute? How I can use my strengths (differences) to my advantage? To serve?; What steps I need to take to be successful? and so on. It is quite easy to self-reframe these questions, the only thing it takes is awareness. Catching yourself when you ask these negatively impacting questions of your life, make an effort to change them and keep doing it. Making these efforts and choices over and over again.
If you read my last posts about the Choice training, you knew how scared I was to do certain processes. How hard I wanted to quit and not be challenged. Over the last few years, I’ve collected questions I ask myself and others in these situations:
“What is the worst that can happen?
Would it still matter in 3 months? 3 years?”
These questions have been powerful to unstuck me, to unstuck some of my close ones too. I would suggest you try them when you are stuck, when you feel you don’t know how to make it. Even better sometimes, have someone ask them to you.
Another interested coincidence is that Tim Ferris’ last book came out a while ago and it has interesting content around questions we ask ourselves. I received the book last week but didn’t started to read it yet, I came across these on his blog randomly a few days ago. His last book is Tool of Titans (non-affiliate link). When I have some time to go through it, I will likely share about it. 🙂
Here are some questions I find very interesting:
What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here?
What would this look like if it were easy?
How I can throw money at this problem? How can I “waste” money to improve the quality of my life?”
I really like the first one, it is an approach that I never really felt. I’m looking forward to see how I can apply it in my life and what changes it would bring. The third one is quite similar, I never look at problems or issues I face in this sense and using such questions could really change it.
I apply the last one to some aspects of my life. When doing groceries is annoying, why not paying 4-6 euros to get it delivered? When you have a bus or your car to take, you probably save money at the same time! Cooking is at times boring, why not pre-cooking for your week-end? Buy a slower cooker, throw your vegetables and your meat, wait a few hours and enjoy the freedom on spending your time somewhere else. 🙂
Another example is that when I am on the computer, I like to have my listening uninterrupted if I need to go make a tea or grab a snack so I am only using wireless headsets. I can even do some home chores while listening everything from my computer. I did the same with my phone, I used to always have my iPhone ear plugs but after trying a Bluetooth headset, never again! It is easy to put, you don’t have to worry about the cable. When you are in the gym, the cable isn’t an annoyance and so on.
Some bigger and more impactful examples, a year ago, I wanted to improve the quality of my sleep. In the apartment I’m renting, there is no way to get a dark room and I had a shitty duvet. One I bought for nothing in a supermarket when I joined Ireland 7 years ago. For the duvet, I waited for some big amazon discounts and purchased an excellent one half-price. It is hard to describe it what way it makes my sleep better, but it definitely does. The next idea was to ask the landlord if we could have curtains and so have his approval to dig little holes. We spent 100 euros on a pole and half-price curtains and we have nearly a pitch black room to sleep in. Sleeping in in the morning is easy now as the room isn’t bright after 8 am.
So to conclude, if you ask yourself lousy questions, you will find lousy answer.
If you ask yourself: Why can’t I do this? You will find an answer to that and likely, you won’t do it. Why not asking: What could I do to make it possible? Then you will have a better answer!
If you ask yourself what is wrong with you? You will also find an answer and that’s not a question you should ask yourself regularly, if ever! Search for what you have in your life which is amazing, what could you be grateful for? It doesn’t need to be big, you can breathe, you see or smell. You probably have some income that allows you to afford things you love. You may even have people loving you just because you are alive, like your family.
To go further, you can listen to this podcast between the two people I mentioned in this article Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris.
One of the question I love from the podcast is:
“What are my assumptions and how can I test them?”
Lastly, if you ask yourself, “Why can’t I do it?”, it is because you are stupid! I am not the one saying that, listen to the podcast to find out. But it is a stupid question to ask yourself!
See you next week and thank you for reading my blog! Ongoinggrowing will be soon have a proper logo!