The Power of Asking Better Questions
Read time: 2 min
Each the goal is simple.
To become a better friend to myself.
When I used to live in San Fransisco, my old boss was an inspiring guy.
The sort of guy who changed the energy of the room as soon as he walked in.
His secret to inspiring others and himself?
Spending more time crafting better questions.
Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.
If you want confusion and heartache, ask vague questions.
If you want uncommon wins and results, ask uncommon questions.
A great question can cut through all your noise.
"What is the 20% of activities and people that produce 80% of your happiness?" He would ask..
Without hesitation, I replied, "It's these sessions, our running, and practising my golf."
Fortunately, this is a skill you can develop.
The more you practice, the better you will get at it.
For years, I have been storing great questions that I have come up with and have borrowed from the people I admire the most.
Here are some of my favourites:
- What is the 20% of activities and people that are producing 80% of my positive emotional states?
- What are 20% of people that are producing 80% of my happiness and unhappiness?
- If you have a 10-year plan of how to get [somewhere], you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?
- What are the 20% of activities and habits that are consuming 80% of my unhappiness, distractions and noise in my life?
- What would this look like if it were easy?
- What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?
- What do I get annoyed at? Can I solve this problem?
You can come up with your own, or..
Ask your greatest heroes in life what they ask themselves when stuck.
You can study great podcasters and interviewers.
A good question is one that is specific and able to help solve your situation quickly.
You can ask others your questions as well.
Chances are the blueprint to what you are trying to solve is already in someone else's head.
The pickaxe to you finding that gold will come in the form of asking better questions.
All too often, we feel stuck and stagnant, and this only eats away at your precious life.
If you want to change what you do, ask better questions and change who you compare yourself to.
Take the first step despite the fear, then make small adjustments to fine-tune your journey as you go along.
My suggestion is that you spend real time with the questions you find most ridiculous. Thirty minutes of stream-of-consciousness journaling could change your life.
You will get extraordinary outcomes by doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.
It’s the commitment to the act, not the act itself that creates the outsized return.
Often, all that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions.