Have you ever felt like your mind was that one who tagged along with you while trying to get somewhere and is annoying the hell out of you or holding you back?
You wish they’d just shut up or bugger off and leave you to enjoy some peace and quiet and stop ruining your journey.
Truth is, your mind is a resourceful & powerful learning machine.
If used in the right way it can be your best friend along the way to wherever you wanna go.
Your mind LOVES questions and adores challenges. This is because they keep it busy thinking – which is exactly what it’s there for.
It really just wants to be your ‘useful’ servant, waiting for your instructions.
Think of it like a game your mind will do everything to win – ask it a question and it will go off searching for an answer.
Just like throwing a stick for your loyal dog – it won’t doubt what’s going on. It won’t pause and begin to wonder whether this is the best option of a stick it can find. It will just go after it, and bring it back – pleased, proud and ready for more.
The power of questions
Questions obviously call for answers.
They stimulate and set the mind on a search for any information, ideas and further evidence in and around you to support your expectations. When you ask – you’re expecting an answer.
Questions initiate going into stored past subjective memories and references.
Your mind does this to find anything that will correspond with or reinforce what you expect the answers to be.
Your expectation of the answer will depend on what you believe in to be possible.
So your mind will filter information around you so that things match what you expect.
Your mind loves being right. It likes to correctly make predictions in order to avoid the threatening unknown.
It also likes to get continuously better at automatic responses. Operating on automatic saves it time and effort – which is great, ‘cuz then it can get busy thinking about other stuff.
So why is this a problem?
This means your mind can be a smart ass sometimes.
It’s proud to get credit for its amazing foresight, taking any opportunity to deliver and provide you with the experiences you anticipated – even if they’re the opposite to what you consciously want (“See, I told you I couldn’t do it – ha!”).
So subconsciously you reinforce habitual limiting thinking patterns. These are a lot easier and faster to use than creating new ones.
This, is your mind trying to be efficient!
Asking negative questions means expecting negative answers or outcomes, and you’re likely to find those negative answers all around you.
Going back to that loyal dog of yours, imagine it running around the woods surrounded by sticks everywhere.
It could just as easily pick up any of the other sticks to play with, but it won’t even give them a second thought.
It’s focused on that one particular stick you’ve thrown and no other will do.
Or imagine searching for something using binoculars with dirty lenses – everything you see will be tainted. You might not notice the dirt, and make the mistake of thinking that whatever you’re looking at is covered in this stuff.
Or imagine Googling something like ‘the risks of…’ – search results will of course come up with a list of potential problems rather than more resourceful or solution-focused content.
So if you’re experiencing lots of stress, anxiety, frustration, or endless negative self-talk, you’re probably throwing that dog the wrong stick.
If you’ve been neglecting your goals and dreams out of fear, you’ve probably been asking the wrong questions.
The solution… ask the right questions.
By paying more attention to what you’re asking, you can turn around your experience, regardless of whether you have the answers or not.
“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”
~ Werner Heisenberg ~
As a child, you were great at asking questions. You were curious, innocent and OPEN to all possibilities.
You constantly asked questions just because you wanted to learn.
You kept asking and asking – you just couldn’t get enough, whether you got clear answers or not…
You were great at expecting great results or outcomes.
But then, life threw at you some times when things worked out differently to what you wanted. So you mistakenly and subconsciously thought you had to change what you asked for in order to be better ‘prepared’.
The right questions began changing into wrong ones.
You began to accumulate subconscious fears and tensions and felt that ‘knowing what to expect’ will help you feel safer, even if that means expecting the worst.
Consciously you began asking fewer and fewer questions altogether as you grew older. You feel more secure thinking you already ‘know’ rather than that you’ve still got lots to discover.
“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.”
~ Richard Saul Wurman ~
Fortunately, you can train yourself to go back to that fresh innocence of a child.
You can make a habit out of asking the right questions again.
‘Right’ questions are ones that can create a shift in your perception and lead to meaningful exploration and change – they’re ambitious.
So if you only ask questions you’ve always been asking, or you think you already know the answers, you’re not exploring or giving yourself the opportunity to develop or learn anything new.
Good questions will challenge your assumptions, and help you to grow your imagination and creativity.
It might take some courage and confidence to do this ‘cuz you’ll be willing to ask what might seem like naive questions.
They will send the mind off on a search for more positive answers or outcomes.
So what are the wrong questions?
You might’ve been asking them consciously or subconsciously.