Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled On Your Best Day. As I was pondering and researching the idea of changing my daily routine, I came across something that seems to follow me. It’s basically a mix of quotes that have been sprinkled under my nose over the last decade. The general idea of the quotes are; that your life is based on the question you are currently asking. I’ve heard it said in many ways, and not all of the ways are related to each other, but in my mind it has coalesced into a uniform idea. I’ll take two authors and quote them, just to give you an example. Then I’ll make my summation of how it fits into my head and thinking.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Thomas Pynchon
“If you want a better quality of life, ask a better question.” – Tony Robbins
I prefer Robbins’ quote over Pynchon’s, simply because it points inward instead of outward. Both authors suggest that your reality and life is shaped by the questions you are asking.
This is an example, it’s a drastic one, but an example. There was a man in a Nazi concentration camp. He watched his family being murdered, most of them gassed, one of them shot. Being the only one from his family left, he was certain that if he stayed in the camp, he would follow suit and die. But unlike most of the people around him, he asked a different question. The question he asked was, “How do I get out of here today?” He continued to ask the question in his mind until the right answer was presented to him. All day he entertained the question, phrasing it in various ways. Half a day passed until he finally got the answer he was looking for. He looked up and saw a huge pile of naked corpses. They were all thrown on the back of a truck inside of the compound. Instead of asking the question “How could Nazis be so heartless?” or “How could God create such evil?”, he asked a different question. He asked, “How could I use this?” “How could I use this to escape?” He immediately got the answer. Without hesitation he ripped off his clothes, dove into the pile of corpses, and pretended that he was dead. He stayed absolutely still for hours as more bodies were being tossed onto the truck. Eventually the truck departed the camp, it was making its way to an open grave site. After the truck dumped the bodies, he remained in the pile until the night became completely dark. When he was certain that no one would see him escape, he ran naked to freedom.
On that day, the only difference between him and other people in his same situation was that he asked a more empowering question. His question presented opportunities and changed the course of his life. The questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis do the same for us.
In a nutshell; if you want to change your reality, change your focus. If you want to change your focus, change the question you are asking.
So what kind of questions should we be asking? According to Tony Robbins, he believes we should consider the following; Does our question create new possibilities? Does our question empower or disempower us? Is our question focusing on the solution instead of the problem? Does the question inspire us and move us to action? Does our question make us responsible and give us the power to make a change? Does the question teach us anything useful? Does our question empower those around us?
As I say in most of my blog posts, awareness is always the first step in transformation and lasting change. Starting today, just notice yourself. Notice what questions pop into your mind. Catch yourself asking “why me” questions (which are the most disempowering and worst type of questions one can ask). Catch questions based on Pynchon’s quote, where the media & government have cow herded you into asking useless questions. Notice if your questions are based on scarcity thinking or obsessing over money. Notice if your questions are body fixated, or preoccupied with the ideal home or car. Notice if your questions place a lot of blame, or are centered around what other people should or shouldn’t do. Don’t immediately change any of this, just notice it. Then slowly begin to shift these questions back to yourself, asking yourself to be empowered and to take responsibility. It’s a matter of noticing what you are focusing on and changing your focus.
Life is always a process, whether it’s redesigning your day or asking better questions. It’s all the same. It’s learning as you go along and making necessary changes as you get in touch with your personal power. This power is your intuitive self. The self that is unchanging and connected to the source that is Life itself. When people have ah-ha moments, or they do something unimaginable, or they witness something that leaves them in awe, or when super-strength seems to come from nowhere — they have tapped into something that is always there. It’s just a matter of awareness. In moments when there is a timeless stillness within us, something magical happens. We experience the phenomenon that is life. We are that phenomenon. But sometimes we forget. And it’s OK to be reminded. That’s why life is an ever-unfolding ever-expanding process. How powerful and amazing is that?! I’ll leave you with that question.