Asking the Right Questions

Steve Pavlina:

Most people ask lousy questions that cripple their results. Lousy questions turn your focus away from what you want and towards more of what you don’t want. And since we ask and answer mental questions every day, our questions wield great power over our results.


Weak questions are disempowering. They keep your focused on your own ego, your problems, and your shortcomings. Weak questions keep you focused on what’s wrong… on what isn’t working. That might seem like a good idea, but all it does is further reinforce the situation you’d like to change. Weak questions will lead your brain to come up with answers that are useless, circular, or even destructive.

Yet weak questions are addictive. At first glance they may even seem helpful, and that’s why they’re so insidious. You might think that if you’re depressed, the best thing you can do is to ask, “Why am I so depressed?” Perhaps if you could diagnose the problem, you could cure it. But it doesn’t work that way. When you’re in a negative state or situation, you aren’t thinking clearly to begin with. You’re in no position to accurately diagnose yourself. Effectively you’re blind. So the answers you get back will be worthless. At best you’ll merely come up with a temporary solution, but the underlying condition will remain, and the problem will simply submerge and crop up again later, sometimes in a different form. Asking why you’re depressed merely feeds your depression. In answering the why question, now you’ve added a story on top of your depression. That goes way beyond acknowledging your depression and trying to do something about it.

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