Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The power of asking the right questions

Quality questions create a quality life. - Tony Robbins

Our thoughts = questions and answers

In my 3-part series on How you talk to yourself determines your attitude, I explored practical suggestions on reshaping our self-talk in our every day lives. An important key to self-talk is asking ourselves questions, but not just any old questions. We need to be constantly on guard to ask ourselves the right questions.

There are a lot of people moving through life (including Christians) who are just plain asking the wrong questions of themselves, OR they have asked the right questions and could not find a solution, so they gave up asking the question.

The process of thinking itself is simply asking ourselves a series of questions and finding answers to those questions. In his book Awaken the Giant Within, author Tony Robbins addresses the process of thinking in this way:
We need to realize that most of what we do, day in and day out, is ask and answer questions. So if we want to change the quality of our lives, we should change our habitual questions. These questions direct our focus, and therefore how we think and how we feel...
I not only wanted to know what questions we are asking as a society, but I also wanted to discover the questions that made a difference in people's lives. I asked people in my seminars, in airplanes, in meetings; I asked everyone I met, from CEOs in high-rises to homeless people on the street, trying to discover the questions that created their experience of day-to-day life. I realized that the main difference between the people who seemed to be successful - in any area! - and those who weren't was that successful people asked better questions, and as a result, they got better answers. They got answers that empowered them to know exactly what to do in any situation to produce the results they desired.
Disempowering vs. Empowering Questions

Those who are struggling through life are asking the wrong questions; they are asking disempowering questions. If someone is struggling with weight gain, perhaps they are asking themselves a wrong question such as "Why am I so fat?" The answers that will come back could range from "It's in my genes," to "I'm a loser," to "I just have a lack of self-control." Instead of real answers to a real problem, the answers really become excuses because the question was the wrong one to begin with.

If we want real solutions to real problems, we need to turn our focus to asking ourselves empowering questions. Maybe you are dissatisfied with the direction of your current vocation; then perhaps you need to start asking yourself questions such as "How has God shaped me as a person?", "What do I truly enjoy doing that I would even be willing to do for free", or even "Can I turn this hobby (or problem, passion, talent) into a business that could benefit thousands of people and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it?" These questions would be truly empowering ones to get us moving in a direction of real possibility and fulfillment.

Sample questions to consider

You are only going to become successful in your life through asking better questions. Once you start asking yourself these better questions, don't give up on finding better solutions to these questions. Allow yourself time to discover the answers to your empowering questions. Sometimes the answers will flow right away; at other times they won't, but don't stop asking yourself the right questions! Here are a few sample questions to consider asking yourself on a regular basis:
  • How can I improve in my intimacy with the Almighty?
  • How can I be a better manager of the finances God has entrusted to me?
  • How can I improve my relationship with my spouse?
  • How can I be a better parent to my children?
  • What one small action can I take today that will move me forward in God's calling on my life?
  • What does God want me to do with the abilities he has given me to share with others?
  • How can I be content with what I have, live on less than I make, and give more to invest in God's Kingdom?
  • Who has God placed into my life to share what He has done and continues to do in my life?
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of questions. Come up with your own list. Write out your questions and post them somewhere where you can read them everyday. Search for answers to your questions, and then be patient and allow God to reveal the best answers to your empowering questions.

What kind of questions do you find yourself asking on a regular basis, whether they be disempowering or empowering? Leave me a comment. I'd love to hear your list.

Also check out these related posts:

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