How often do you wake up, grab your phone, check your email and Facebook, and let those inputs drive the direction of your day?
(Slowly raises hand.)
This morning when I woke up and reached for my phone, I stopped myself mid-reach.
“How can I approach this day more mindfully?” I wondered.
Rather than my normal get-inundated-by-the-world morning routine, I decided to spend fifteen minutes visualizing the day by diving into a series of questions.
“How do I want today to feel?”
“How do I want to show up for the world?”
“How can I be of service?”
“What is dying to be born?”
“By the end of today, I will feel inspired and fulfilled when…”
I left the exercise shaking with anticipation for the day, feeling more alive and enthused and aligned than any recent morning I could think of.
“BRING IT ON, TUESDAY!” I thought.
This got me thinking… the quality of our life is a function of the quality of the questions we ask ourselves.
Quality questions = Quality living.
The questions we ask shape our thinking and emotions, which ultimately influences our actions. They take us into a place of possibility or impossibility, of gratitude or victimization, of solutions or roadblocks, of light or of darkness. At any point, we can shift the direction of our life by asking better questions.
Example: when circumstances don’t meet your expectations or things don’t go according to “plan,” have you ever felt frustrated and wondered, “Why is this happening to me?”
The path of that question is A) I am victim and B) I am not in control of my destiny. It quickly leads down a rabbit hole of blaming and complaining.
What if, instead, you asked, “What is life mirroring back to me?” Or, “What am I learning from this situation?”
Instant perspective is gained. Clarity emerges.
If you do catch yourself heading down the “Why is this happening to me?” path, pause and ask, “Are my thoughts hurting or healing me?”
Real-time intervention. Awareness arises.
Asking quality questions is a proactive and powerful way of solving our own problems.
If you think about it, the vast majority of the day is spent on the process of asking questions. From what time you’ll wake up to whether or not you enjoy something to why you’re here on earth, questions guide our life.
Here are a few of my favorite scenarios and questions that bring me into a place of possibility, positivity and imagination:
When starting a new project:
Where will I break the rules?
How do I want to feel in the journey of creating this?
What am I willing to give up to pull this off?
When thinking about success:
What is my definition of success? What does success feel like?
How do I want the world to shift having lived in it?
When do I feel most aligned and enthused and inspired? How can I do more of that?
When arguing with someone I love:
Am I being defensive?
Am I pushing to be right for the sake of being right?
How can I show up as the caring, thoughtful and loving partner, friend that I am?
Ready to commit to asking quality questions? I leave you with this challenge. All you need is pen, paper and an open mind.
Here’s how it works:
1) Record. Throughout the day, do your best to be aware of the questions that cross your mind. Write them all down.
2) Reflect. At the end of the day, reflect on the list and notice the patterns. Pay close attention to the questions that are not serving you and circle those.
3) Shift. For every question circled, come up with new, healthier and more productive questions to ask. Dwell in those new questions. Close your eyes and open your mind. Experience how that new question shifts your realm of possibility.