Powerful Questions

by Karyn L. Beach

If you want to improve the quality of your life, you can start by improving the quality of the questions you ask yourself. Questions can be one of your most powerful allies or they can become one of your most formidable enemies. It’s up to you.

Our minds are always working and if you think about it, our minds are always questioning. “Why did I take this route to work?” “How long until lunch?” “How much money do I need save for my vacation next year?” “What’s coming on television tonight?”

Most of these questions are pretty mundane. But there are questions that have more power.

“Why me?”

“Why not me?”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“How come I never catch a break?”

The funny thing about questions is that when you pose a question, your mind immediately sets out to find an answer. And any answer will do.

“Why me,” you ask?

“Well,” your mind replies, “because you aren’t smart enough.” Or, it may say, “Because the cards are stacked against you. You’ll never get ahead.”

What we ask creates a chain of thoughts designed to answer our questions. When our questions are negative and defeating, the answers will usually be negative and defeating as well, creating a downward spiral.

One negative question leads to a negative answer. The negative answer leads us to pose another negative question and so it goes. Depression, frustration, and overwhelm all are exacerbated by the questions we ask.

Yet on the other side of the spectrum, we can change our thinking by asking different questions.

If you were passed over for a promotion, you might be tempted to ask, “Why me?” The answers might include things like:”Because they like him better,” or “Because the boss doesn’t like me.” Yet are these questions and their answers helping you? Are these answers bringing you closer to the next promotion or pulling you further away from the prize?

The key is to retrain your mind to ask more powerful questions. Powerful questions are questions that can empower you and move you forward.

If you were passed over for a promotion, a powerful question would be “What can I do to improve my chances of getting the next promotion?” You could also ask, “What can I learn from the person who got the promotion that will improve my chances the next time around?”

If a relationship fails, it’s not about why you always attract losers but what you can do and where you can go to meet a better caliber group of people.

You can tell a powerful question because the answer is not based in blame or self-pity. The answer will often involve action on your part and instead of feeling like a victim, you will feel empowered or in charge. That’s the power of a powerful question.

Breaking a habit is hard, and that’s what our common thought patterns are, habits. When you find yourself asking disempowering questions, stop and ask yourself an empowering one instead.

It’s not “Why am I always broke?” It’s “What can I do to save money or what can I do to earn more money?”

“Why am I broke?” doesn’t lead to action. It leads to excuses. “What can I do?” leads to accountability and action.

When you find yourself spiraling down into depression, despair and hopelessness, it helps to break out the pen and the paper. On the top of the paper, write an empowering question and make yourself come up with a few answers.

It also helps to replace the why questions with how , what , who and where questions.

“Why am I broke?” turns into something much more positive.

“How can I change my spending habits?”

“What can I do to save more money?”

“Who can advise or help me get control of my finances?”

“Where can I go to get some financial counseling?”

Each of those powerful questions leads to action and real answers. You are constantly asking yourself questions anyway. By changing the kinds of questions you ask; you can change your attitude and by changing your attitude you can change your actions and that can be the start of changing your life.

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Comments (1)


  1. Lisa Thomas says:

    This is so true. We’re always asking questions that don’t necessarily move us forward. I love that you’ve emphasizing asking more forward moving quesitons. Great job!

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