Are you asking the right questions?

asking the right questionsAre you asking the right questions?   This occurred to me recently when I was feeling a bit sad for no apparent reason.

Instead of staying stuck there, I stopped and asked myself, “What am I really upset about?  What’s really going on here?”

And the answer came.  There’s always a deeper reason affecting us.

In truth, some of the turning points in my life, and in the life of some of my friends, have come from asking the right questions.

Here’s a list of what I consider some of the best.

Before you speak

I’ve already written in the 30-day gossip challenge about the ancient teaching of asking three questions before we speak:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary?

If you don’t get a yes to all three, don’t say it.  What a wonderful world it might be if our only words were kind, true and necessary.

And our own vibrations will raise along with the words that do come through us.

What do I get to do today?

A lot of people don’t like their jobs, and I’ve certainly been in that situation.

But rather than focus on the negative part, why not focus on being grateful that we have a job when so many others don’t?  That switch in focus can definitely lift our spirits.

In the words of Karen Horneffer-Gintner, waking up and asking ourselves, “What do I have to do today?” is different than asking, “What do I get to do today?”

I get to earn money to support myself and my family.  Hooray!

Why did this happen…?

Research shows a higher recovery rate from serious illness when the patient asks, “Why did this happen for me?” instead of “Why did this happen to me?”

Many cancer survivors report that their cancer diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to them because it made them take a hard look at how they had been living their life and what needed to change.

My nephew turned his initial disappointment at learning he needed knee surgery into an opportunity to perfect his idea for an amazing, indestructible dog toy.  He’d had the idea for months but no time to work on it until he was home on disability.

You don’t have to say yes.

We [particularly women] sometimes forget that we don’t have to say yes to everything we’re asked to do.  Instead, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it good for me?
  • Do I want to do it?
  • How will it make me feel?

The right to be in control of our own lives is our birthright.  Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing what you don’t want to do.

I’d be very rich today if I had a dollar for every time I did something I didn’t really want to do until I learned this one.  It’s a real life-changer.

Some indigenous tribes ask:  [quote]“When did you stop dreaming?”[/quote]

A related question might be:  When did you give up your own dreams to live someone else’s dreams for you?

Again, remember that you’re in charge of your life.

Be grateful for every little thing

During one passage of my life when I was between jobs and not certain what the future held, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until a wise friend asked me these questions:

  • Do you have a place to live? [A:  Yes]
  • Food in the refrigerator?   [Yes.]
  • Do you have a car?  [Yes]
  • Gas in the car?  [Yes]
  • So what’s the problem?

I’ve never forgotten that conversation, and it’s helped lift me from fear into hope on many an occasion.

Encouragement questions

We’ve probably all heard these before, but seriously, take a moment to answer and to dream and take a step toward fulfilling them.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

What would you do if you were the richest, smartest person in the world?

[quote]“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”  Tony Robbins[/quote]

There are no stupid questions

And, as I have told my students over and over in order to encourage questions, there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

I’ve even taped a $100 bill to the top of the black board with the announcement that the first person to ask a stupid question gets the $100.   I get to keep it every time!

So next time you get upset and short-tempered when the stapler jams, or you’re stuck in traffic, take a moment to ask yourself what you’re really upset about.  You may get some wonderful insight.

It really is just a matter of asking the right questions.

What’s your favorite question?  Please feel free to share it in the comments section.

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Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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