I was on the phone with a friend of mine last week who was telling me about her car problems. “Why don’t things ever go right for me?” she asked. “Why is my life such a mess?”
I’ve heard her ask those same questions many times and have been encouraging her to change her perspective. Changing her perspective can be as simple as changing the questions she’s asking herself.
Questions have the ability to stimulate the mind and the way you ask a question determines the possible answers you will get. When you ask questions that focus on the negative, your thinking is directed to only focus on the problems. By making a shift and consciously reframing your questions to the positive, you can focus your thinking on solutions and possibilities. This concept is known as Appreciative Inquiry and it can dramatically change your life.
So instead of asking, “Why is my life such a mess” my friend could ask, “What aspects of my life are going well? What steps can I do to improve my situation in other areas of my life?”
As you go through your day, pay attention to the questions you are asking yourself and others.
- Do your questions inspire creativity or curiosity?
- Do your questions encourage reflection or are they thought provoking?
- How can you reframe the question to focus on solutions and possibilities?
Questions are powerful tools that help prompt our creative thinking skills. You can harness that creative power by focusing your questions for success. Some examples of how you can reframe your questions include:
Why can’t I lose weight? <—— Reframe to ——> What one thing can I do today to improve my health and fitness?
Why can’t I ever make enough money? <—— Reframe to ——> What three things can I do to save more money?
Why can’t I get new clients? <—— Reframe to ——> What steps can I take today to get one new client?
Self-help guru Tony Robbins recommends asking yourself positive questions every morning to help tap into positive, empowered emotional states. Some of his questions include:
1. What am I most happy about in my life now? What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?
2. What am I most excited about in my life now? What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?
3. What am I most proud about in my life now? What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?
4. What am I most grateful about in my life now? What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?
How can you reframe the questions you ask? If you’ve tried it, how did it affect your life? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Photo by Dave Bourgeau.