If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is the importance of asking questions. When I was young, both of my parents preached the importance of learning. This went well outside of just school and there we were taught there was never an opportunity to not learn something new.
Questions always gives us more answers than the direct one we are looking for. Questions can serve as the barometer for where our mental state is. Questions can also tell us a lot about the predictability of a situation.
As an example, when working with a client, I love when they ask me questions. Not only does it increase their own engagement, but their questions give me numerous insights into where they are sitting in their own psyche. For instance, the way a question is asked tends to tell me if they have a personality archetype in play, to which a follow up question can give me the understanding of what that archetype is actually feeling under the layers of confusion.
An example, albeit extreme but clear, would be, "why does this always have to happen to me?" Clearly, the victim is in play here, to which a follow up question can lead to an answer as to why they feel the need to play the victim. Perhaps it has to do with an unaddressed childhood trauma, or maybe a developed pattern. Whatever the case may be, it gives clear insight into how they are handling and processing a situation.
Questions go much deeper, though. To understand the person you are dealing with is always of utter importance, however, what about the questions we have for ourselves? What happens when you only have yourself to bounce questions off of?
"Am I good enough to do this?"
"When will I see results?"
"Why can't I figure this out?"
"Why do I even bother?"
"Is it even worth all of the time, effort and energy?"
These are some of the most common loops in people's minds when trying to overcome an obstacle in their life. But what if I told you true success is all about asking the right questions.
All of those questions were on a constant loop in my own head throughout my athletic career. Hours and hours of time spent in the gym and weight room, sometimes showing very little result or the constant feeling of under confidence that I wasn't good enough to accomplish ANY of the goals I set out for.
As time went on, I began to unlock some of these answers and surprisingly, they did not come in the form of a statement, but instead in the form of another question. Now, as little kids we are told to never answer a question with another question, and it is one of the most ingenious parenting tricks to get your kids to stop repeating 'why' like a broken record. However that ideology is not necessarily correct when it comes to figuring out the secrets and capabilities within your mind.
First, to wonder when the results will come through is a misunderstanding of life all together. There is no ceiling on who we are, what we can become and what we can achieve. Which leads me to say, the question we ask about life is wrong. It is not, "what is the meaning of life?" That is easily answered- we are here to learn and grow. You can look at all of your experiences in life and easily identify that. The question of life is better asked as, "how much can I learn while I am here?"
When attempting to create a business or earn a degree, we are often turned away by the daunting workload or the time that may be required to achieve what we hope the end result will produce. If you want to become an expert in something, you should begin studying one subject for one hour every day for five years. At the end of those five years, you should have amassed enough knowledge to be considered an expert in any particular field.
As you begin your journey, the beginning is filled with excitement and a burning desire to learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can to achieve the result of 'expert' as quickly as possible. Halfway through your journey, your question changes. It is no longer, "how fast can I become an expert?" Nor is it, "how fast can I reach my initial goal?" The question changes because a realisation has happened, "how much can I actually learn?" Or in a more ego-centric way, "how great can I become?"
Now you are starting to find a purpose in your ego driven quest. We sell ourselves short in everything we do because we are simply starting off with the wrong question because we do not understand the importance of asking the right ones. As we begin to ask the right questions, our perspective begins to change. The journey becomes less about yourself as an individual and more about the greater vision- how many people can be impacted, because at the end of the day, that is what truly matters.
When I began working with people, my initial question was what I thought to be correct at that time, "how many people can I help?" At first glance, that seems like the correct question we should be asking ourselves. However, as the journey has progressed, the question has become more clear as the perspective has changed.
"How many people can I help?" is not necessarily a bad question to ask yourself, however it is flawed, I admit that. By asking, "how many people can I help?" you leave out a very important key- impact. If I were to continue on that path, I would simply be trying to touch as many lives as I possibly could. Again, this seems like the right path. However, what if impacting a life is as simple as them remembering one sentence I told them? It's great to make a life 1% better, sure, however what if you could make a life 10% better? 20%? 50%? 100%?
Which begs the realisation for the new question- "How big can my impact be?" As an example, growing up as a child, toy cars are often a popular gift (at least when I was a kid, maybe times have changed) it is not often you see a Toyota or Honda in those car sets. Although there is nothing wrong with those brands because they are reliable, affordable and popular, they are not what catches the consumer's eye.
Most kids, have the Ferrari's or Lamborghini's and other such sports cars. There are fewer on the roads, but they are of the highest quality and are what inspires others to be great. Kids grow up dreaming of owning one of those brands as opposed to what is more common.
Now what if you were able to create millions of Ferrari's and Lamborghini's in a lifetime? Think of how much better and more advanced the world would become if we operated at the level of a supercar as opposed to an economic sedan.
Maybe that vision is overshooting for a goal to some, but to me that it is exactly what should be done. You cannot accomplish the impossible by aiming for what has already been done.
As your journey continues, it will always be important to continue asking yourself your question. When you can find a flaw in that question, then you have continued to evolve within your purpose. With each evolution, you have created a vastly improved version of yourself. To want to have an exact right question is foolish, because there is none. Life is a constant evolution because it is not about a singular goal or record, because as we know, records are made to be broken. Life is about finding out how great you can become with the time you are given. Never forget, there is no finish line, just a journey of seeing how far you can advance yourself.
It's time to become that supercar. It's time to become the version of yourself the world needs.
All it takes is a new perspective, and a new perspective starts with asking the right question.