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The awesome power of asking yourself good questions.

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” — Leo Babauta

In yesterday’s post I talked about how changing “If only” statements into “How can I” questions creates a much more positive mindset that leaves one’s subconscious mind free to search for solutions (instead of creating a mental roadblock).

The manner is which one talks to one’s self is not only important in maintaining a positive attitude, when used correctly, it becomes a powerful tool. For example, how one forms questions they ask themselves can have a serious impact on the answers one gets in return. One of the reasons for this is because your subconscious mind doesn’t care what you ask. And it will automatically try to find that answer to your question. This is great. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.

Whatever you choose to ask yourself, your subconscious mind will diligently seek an answer to your question. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.

So if you ask it a question in the form of a negative, the answer you get will also be in the form of a negative…

Here are some extremes…

  • Why can’t I attract the love of my life?
  • Why can’t I stay in a long-term relationship?
  • Why don’t people think I’m funny?
  • Why don’t more people like me?

— and your subconscious mind will answer, “You can’t [do these things] because….”

Because you asked in the form of a negative, the answer you get back is also in the form of a negative.

If you like to beat yourself up or feel drained or powerless in the world, this is a great way to do it. (I don’t suggest that.)

Don’t be fooled, your question doesn’t have to have a “can’t” or a “don’t” in it to be negative.

For example:

  • Why am I always getting things wrong? (You are always getting things wrong because…)
  • Why do I keep falling for girls/guys that are bad for me? (You keep falling for people who are bad for you because…)
  • Heck, I even did it in a blog post: “Why am I not a better person?” (You are not a better person because…)

So if you want to avoid beating yourself up, pay closer attention to your thought process and take charge of it whenever you have a tendency to form a thought in the negative form vs. the positive. (You may recall that this is #1 of 12 ways to find encouragement, “train or retrain your brain”).

So when you are talking to yourself, always remember to ask yourself empowering questions in the form of a positive:

  • How can I improve areas in my life and get more things right? (You can improve areas in your life by…)
  • What can I do more of (or less of) to attract the love of my life? (You can attract the love of your life by…)
  • How do I attract the right girl/guy for me?
  • How can I be wicked funny like that Zero Dean fellow?
  • How can I become more likable like that dear, dear, friend of mine, Zero Dean?
  • What is Zero Dean’s phone number, because I feel like… whoops! Sorry.

Do you see the difference? Or more importantly, do you feel the difference?

Related:

“If only” is a roadblock on the highway of life.

A few words about “IF ONLY”…

“IF ONLY” …

  • If only — IT was easier.
  • If only — THEY were…

If you can’t control something, then focus on what you can control (which is how you think about it)

“IF ONLY” …

  • If only — I was stronger.
  • If only — I was more…

Adding the “*I*” is a step in the right direction because then you’re focusing on something you can control, but it’s still not a very effective way to approach a problem.

The issue still lies with “If only”. Ditch it.

You can ditch “If only” by asking yourself a question…

“How can I…?

Now you are not only putting yourself back in control, asking this question implies there is an answer to it.

And the fact that you are now thinking about a problem as if there is an answer to it provides you with a huge benefit — and that is it allows your subconscious mind to begin looking for a solution for you rather than be stuck with the belief that there isn’t one.

Come on, even Captain Jack Sparrow knows this…

“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.” — Captain Jack Sparrow

When you approach a problem in a way that implies you are powerless to address it, you create a mental roadblock and leave very little room for problem solving. When you approach a problem in a way that implies there is a solution to it, you open up a world of possibilities.

“If only” is a roadblock on the highway of life. “How can I…” is a roadblock breaker.

Use as needed.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” — Bruce Lee

Ways to find encouragement: Make the best of what you have

Ways to find encouragement series:

Make the best of what you have.

Tell yourself you may not have the best there is, but you’re going to make the best of what you DO have. We often need far less than we think we do to achieve what we want.

We think we need the best gadgets, top-of-the-line thingamabobs, etc. before we get started. We often hold ourselves back waiting for just the right time for something — the perfect moment when everything is right.

But the fact is, we’d often get further faster if we started today and made the most of what we had. There will always be things we don’t have — waiting until we get all of them is often at the expense of making real progress towards where we want to be.

When we make the best of what we have, it allows us to make progress towards our goals, instead of waiting for that perfect moment that often doesn’t arrive. Progress is good. And that’s encouraging.

Related:

Ways to find encouragement: Focus on the present

Ways to find encouragement series:

Focus on the present.

Every day is a new beginning. You are not your failures. The past is gone. You can’t change it. Get over it. Today, right now, is the only thing that truly makes a difference in your life.

It’s always NOW. Now is the only time you can do anything that will have a bearing on your future. Like I said, remember to ask yourself “What can I do right now that is the most valuable use of my time?” and then DO THAT.

When you let go of what you can’t control and direct yourself to controlling the things you can, you become more of an architect of your life. And that’s encouraging.

Related:

Ways to find encouragement: Focus on solutions

Ways to find encouragement series:

Focus on solutions.

If you have a problem, don’t focus on the problem. Focus on SOLUTIONS.

Feeling discouraged? Think about things you can DO to not feel discouraged. As mentioned in this motivation series, “train your brain“.

And when working on something, always focus on how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go.

When you focus on solutions, you are much more likely to overcome any obstacles in your path. And that’s encouraging.

Related:

There is a big difference between “can’t” and “it just isn’t a high priority.”

Excerpt from: Goal setting and breaking the “I can’t” excuse addiction

there-is-a-big-difference-between-i-cant-and-it-isnt-a-high-priority-zero-dean

There is a big difference between “I can’t” and “It just isn’t a high priority”.

When a person says, “I can’t”, it means they are incapable of doing something.

It does not mean, “I don’t want to.”
It does not mean, “I just don’t have time.”
It does not mean, “I don’t want to work to accomplish something.”

What many people actually mean when they use the word “can’t” is “it just isn’t a high priority.”

Related:

“Can’t.” You keep using this word.

cant-you-keep-using-this-word-zero-dean

“Can’t”. You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

*Inspired by The Princess Bride

Related:

Achieving personal goals: Focus on the positive

Achieving personal goals: Focus on the positive

How you see the world is largely a matter of what you focus on.

What kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want to live in a world that is hostile and dangerous, or one that is friendly and warm?

To see more of what you want in life, remember to focus on what you want to see rather than on what you don’t want or don’t see. Look for and focus on those things that you can like and appreciate in others, not on what you don’t like.

You will find the world to be a much friendlier place by being positive — and discussing what you like — than by being negative and complaining about what you don’t like.

We find what we seek. By remembering this at times when you might otherwise find yourself being negative, your attention on the positive will attract more of what you are looking for in life.

Achieving personal goals series:

Related:

Achieving personal goals: Focus on what you CAN do

Achieving personal goals: Focus on what you CAN do

There are always things you can’t do. But there are always things that you CAN.

There are always things beyond your control. But there are always things within it.

You’re never as stuck as you think you are.

Anyone who ever accomplished anything had limitations. If you truly want something, you’ll find a way.

Achieving personal goals series:

Related:

Your world will change dramatically…

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Your world will change dramatically once you stop giving yourself reasons why you can’t do the things that are holding you back and you start giving yourself reasons why you can.

Related: