I love great questions. I actively seek out great questions, because I’ve learned over time that great questions lead to a better life. You don’t even have to know the right answers to create change, you just need the right questions.
Take, for example, a question around entrepreneurship. “I have an idea for X, what if I started a business?” What’s great about this question is that it gives you permission to act. Questions allow us to wave our curiosity flag, and go after things, despite not having an answer. I’d make a strong bet that 98% of successful businesses would have never happened if the owners knew how much time and effort it was going to take them to create something successful. Questions are open loops. They give our minds permission to wonder, explore and thinking about possibilities.
Answers, on the others hand, are boring.
Hateful answers (from critiques or even people close to you) are usually something like “You can’t start that business” or “Who are you to think you could do that?”. Negative internal answers we tell ourselves sounds something like “I’m not smart enough” … “I don’t know what I’m doing” … “I don’t have enough money” … “I’m too _______ (old, young, fat, skinny, weak, untrained, afraid)”. Fear answers your question with “You shouldn’t do it. What if you lose all your money and end up licking food off the tables at Whole Foods?”. Not all answers are terrible, some are good like “Great idea! You should start your business”. But even good answers limit our abilities. Validation of a question/idea from someone we are friends with or admire feels like we’ve already accomplished it, so we end up not even starting.
Don’t worry about the answers, focus on the questions.
Today I heard a fantastic question from a health talk by Dr. Matt from Rev Optimal Living here in Chattanooga: It’s not “Why is this happening to me?” Instead, it’s “Why is this happening for me?”
Why is this happening for me?
You see, whatever we face in life, be that good or bad, our perspective amplifies or minimizes its effects ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) The Obstacle is the Way. Paul once wrote, “God won’t let you be tested beyond your ability.” (I Corinthians 1:13) The flexible part of all this is your perspective on what happens to you. If you see setbacks as challenges or lessons for improvement, then setbacks are no longer obstacles — they’re opportunities. If you see wins and failures as something worthy of praise, for different reasons, then every time you succeed or fail you gain more confidence and capability.
Perspective is our key to unlocking the world.
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
"What I have is a malevolent curiosity. That's what drives my need to write and what probably leads me to look at things a little askew. I do tend to take a different perspective from most people." — David Bowie
"The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it." — Chris Pine
"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one." — Hans Selye