Your Inner Voice: Asking the Right Questions
by Paola Knecht, Certified Coach & Author
Have you ever thought about the dozens of questions you ask yourself every day? Directly or indirectly, these questions shape your thoughts, your attitudes, and your actions. After all, questions are the fundamental pillar of our learning process.
Our lives are the result of all the questions we have posed and all the answers we have decided to act on. Knowing this powerful fact, wouldn’t you be interested in making sure you’re asking yourself the right questions? How can you know if your questions are guiding you in the right direction — or taking you nowhere?
Focus on these three areas… The questions you ask should have three specific functions: they should help you see where to focus, point out what you suppress, and help you find resources. Let’s look at examples to help you find your inner voice:
1. Your questions should help you see where to focus.
On a regular day, thousands of thoughts rush through your mind. At every moment, your mind flags information it believes is relevant or critical to know at that specific point in time. But how do our minds “know” what we should bring into our awareness? The questions we ask tell our minds where to focus.
Here’s a simple example: Let’s say you’re hungry and are looking for something to have for lunch. You ask yourself: “What should I eat?” You start to imagine all sorts of food. If you can’t choose, you keep asking questions: “What do I feel like eating? Do I feel like having something sweet or salty? Warm or cold?” With every question, you start to get a deeper awareness of what you will end up choosing for lunch.
Constructive questions like these lead you to look for constructive answers, so pay attention to what you ask and how you ask for solutions.
2. Your questions should point out what you suppress.
Your questions should not only help you focus on a specific solution or answer but also guide you toward what you might be suppressing.
For example, there’s a difference between asking yourself after a bad day, “Why do I feel so sad?” as opposed to “What can I do to feel better?”
If you ask yourself the first question, your brain will conjure up any number of reasons why you’re feeling downright miserable. It will bring your awareness to everything you mentally labeled as “sad” today: the cold weather, the tedious hours at work, the unfriendly neighbor, and the terrible traffic.
What if, instead, you asked yourself the second question: “What can I do to feel better?” This would trigger a very different set of thoughts, wouldn’t it? Your mind would come alive with ideas to make you feel better: Maybe you can have a walk in the park? A piece of dark chocolate? A hug from your partner? A warm cup of tea?
Remember, your mind brings your consciousness back to what you ask!
3. Your questions should help you find resources to utilize.
Make yourself ask questions that will guide you toward your desired goals.
Here’s a quick example from my own life: One day, after a difficult day at work, I felt exhausted. I knew that night I had to finish a very important assignment for an online educational program I was pursuing. Because of my fatigue and low energy, I started asking myself the wrong questions: “Why do I feel so tired? Why don’t I feel motivated to complete this assignment? Why can’t I just sit on the sofa and watch a movie instead?”
The moment I detected these low, emotional questions, I decided to experiment and replace them with better ones. So, I asked myself: “What can I do now to renew my energy? What would make me smile right now? What will happen if I finish my assignment on time? What rewards can I reap afterward?”
In a matter of seconds, I felt a new, invigorating energy flow through me. I could feel how my “inner talk” or “inner voice” shifted my emotional state, which pulled me back into my room to sit and finish the assignment.
American motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “Questions are the laser of human consciousness.” Great questions demand great answers. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself excellent questions, those that elevate your human spirit and demand higher answers.
After all, Elon Musk, one of the greatest minds of our generation, said that the meaning of life is all about understanding how to ask the right questions:
What is the meaning of life? I came to the conclusion that what really matters is trying to understand the right questions to ask, and the more we can increase the scope and scale of human consciousness, the better we get at answering those questions.
PAOLA KNECHT is a certified leadership, transformational, and self-development coach and author of The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of Your Mind. Learn more at my-mindpower.com.