Tony Robbins is incredibly insightful in recognizing that our mindset and mental focus are greatly (if not entirely) directed by the questions we ask ourselves. We're constantly evaluating the world around us, and how we interact with it, by asking questions such as:
What does this do?
How do I interact with this person?
What can I learn from this?
Our brains work by building patterns of consistency, and as we begin to find consistent answers to the same question, we create our beliefs about the world and how we fit into it. The quality of our existence, then, is based greatly upon the quality of questions that we ask ourselves.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "what do you mean, the 'quality' of question?"; that's a very good question (see what I did there?) to start with! What I'm referring to is the subject matter, or focus, of the questions we're asking. The mindset behind, and construction of, those questions also matter a great deal. Let me illustrate through example.
I embraced and embodied a mindset of scarcity and lack for the majority of my life, until not so long ago. I would find myself consistently asking, "why do bad things always happen to me?", "why am I the nice guy who always finishes last?", or, "when is it going to be my turn?" -- amongst a variety of other self-defeating and self-limiting style questions. The thing is, I asked myself these questions, and my brain would attempt to come up with 'reasonable' answers: I deserve it, I'm not good enough, I don't do enough, I'm weird, I'm a nobody. You see, with no active filter or policing, my brain would provide what it could come up with as answers to the questions I was asking it -- no matter how much psychological damage it was doing to me at the same time. I was asking myself low-quality questions, and the experiences I had largely coincided with the same low-quality answers I received in turn.
This is incredibly common for many of us, because we've already got a consistent flow of negative self-talk holding us back, and naturally it wants to dictate the quality of questions we ask ourselves, too. When we ask these low-quality questions, the answers reinforce a low-quality mental state, and perpetuate the cycle again and again. However, if we consciously step in and dictate a new standard for ourselves, we can begin to adjust our mindset, and the focus of our questions. Instead of limitation and lack, we can begin to focus on opportunity and abundance; and really, it's not that difficult of a change to make.
A common low-quality question people ask themselves (you'll see it made my list earlier in this post) is, "why do bad things always happen to me?" They will then come up with innumerable ways in which the world, their friends, their boss and coworkers are all out to get them. Whether it's machination or not, they asked their brain a question, and it responded with an answer that they then attached to. The problem with that type of question is that it really doesn't set you up to do anything other than play the victim. You focus only on what you perceive to be the limitations in your life, and not any of the possibilities or opportunities. A small shift of the question to, "what can I learn and how can I better myself from the adversities I face?", makes a huge difference in your mindset. It does not dismiss that you face challenge or adversity, but changes the area you focus on. Instead of creating ways to beat yourself up and keep you down, you look for ways to grow and succeed. This shift in mindset allows you to create positive, empowering, high-quality questions that will result in high-quality answers.
Like any habit, this kind of change takes time. I'm still working to make this my default mindset, and want to share a small exercise that will help you to do the same. Think of three or four high-quality questions that you can ask yourself daily, and answer them as best you can. Getting in the practice of looking at the world with this mindset will help you to condition your conscious and subconscious to ask high-quality questions that will result in high-quality answers. I've included a few examples of my own questions at the end to help get you started. Here's to living a life that only returns high-quality answers to you!
What am I grateful for in my life?
How will I contribute to the world today in a positive way?
What am I excited about learning today?
** View the video for this post HERE **