4 Important Questions
Updated: Nov 15
How would you like to learn an easy technique that can enhance your problem-solving abilities and allow you to move forward in life? We are living in rapidly changing times and the ability to adapt is key. However, the subconscious mind is habitual in nature and likes to keep things the way they are. So what can you do? Let's start with a quick lesson regarding language and your mind.
You can break communication down into two broad categories: statements and questions. Indeed, the two play a kind of ping pong match during a conversation as well as with our inner dialogue. What we say to ourselves can empower us or can be a major obstacle.
In self-improvement, we often use statements in the form of affirmations or self-suggestion to counteract negative self-talk. For example, "I see myself becoming stronger and more confident" might be an affirmation you would use if you feel you are lacking in those qualities.
But what about questions? In some ways, they are trickier than statements and can often create mind traps because of two important elements. The first is that in order to ask a question, a presumption is made that there is indeed an answer. If you ask, "How do I get to Montreal from here?" you have assumed that it is possible to make the journey to that beautiful city from your current destination. Second, if the question interests you, the subconscious mind will reflexively conduct an ongoing search for an answer.
A practical example. Suppose someone asks himself, "Why am I such a loser?" In order to ask that, he would have to assume he is a loser or the question wouldn't be posed. Next, his subconscious mind will go on that reflexive search for proof and come up with reasons why that assumption is true, which is not helpful in the least. If you repeatedly ask such a negative question, over time you will accumulate a large body of evidence for that limiting belief and further entrench it.
Consider what might be the effect of asking, "why can't I lose weight?" or "why can't I quit smoking?" Can you see the potential problem?
In the same vein, a well-phrased question can have a beneficial effect due to the same mechanisms. There is an old saying that goes, "If you don't like the answer, change the question!" Here are four questions that can empower you as well as jump-start your innate problem-solving abilities.
Where is the hidden opportunity in this situation? This reminds me of a funny story. A high-end hairstylist comes home distraught one day and tells her husband that her business has been ruined. Just two doors down from hers a brand new salon had opened that boasted it offered $9 haircuts, while hers cost so much more. How could she ever compete? Her husband pondered this for a moment, broke out in a big smile, and headed out to the sign-makers shop. The next morning when she went to work, she was greeted by a great big banner across the front of her storefront that read, "WE FIX $9 DOLLAR HAIRCUTS!" Now if they had dwelt on the question, "what will we do if the new places take away all of our business?" they would have geared themselves for eventual failure because where your attention goes your energy flows. Instead, they leveraged the challenge into an advantage. So, where is the hidden opportunity in your current situation?
What is really important here? This power question can be invaluable when it comes to maintaining your personal relationships. All too often when we come into conflict with a friend, family member, or co-worker we can get so caught up with "winning" an argument, that that we become toxic to deal with and can damage the connection we have with them. Heated discussions about religion or politics often veer into this territory. Now there are occasions where we really need to stick up for what we believe in. However, you want to be careful about how far you push things. This pairs well with another question, "Would I rather be right or happy?" Sometimes you cannot have both.
What else would I be thinking about if I didn't focus on this? This one can be a real eye-opener if you find yourself obsessing on some sort of physical or emotional pain. It could very well be a distraction from another issue in your life that you are unconsciously choosing not to deal with. An example is the iconic grumpy old man yelling at the neighborhood kids to get the hell off of his lawn. He might want to consider what does all this anger over something trivial distract him away from, what is he avoiding?
What do I have to be grateful for today? The benefits of an intentional practice of gratitude are well-documented. In part, because it trains the reticular activating system (RAS) of the brain to be on the lookout for such things. One of the functions of the RAS is to act as a filter as to what you consciously notice and what you don't. Sort of like how when someone has decided to buy a certain make, model, and color of a car and then starts to see them everywhere. It's not that more of them suddenly were suddenly put on the road. They were there all the time, but the person didn't take much notice of them prior. Purposefully seeking things to be grateful for is a wonderful idea as you will start to notice positive things you may have overlooked otherwise.
It is my hope these questions gave you some food for thought. If I can be of service, please feel free to call or text me at (732) 714-7040 to set up a time for a free Life Enhancement Strategy Session.
P.S. The Mind Spa Hypnotica Session fits the bill if you could really use some deep relaxation right about now or if you or someone you know wants to try hypnosis for the first time. Details here.