This title is a well known statement in the personal development industry. It may not seem particularly profound at first glance, but it’s BIG when you wrap your head around it. We are always asking questions, sometimes of others and very often of ourselves. These questions have a huge impact on our lives because:
Questions lead to answers. Answers generate emotions and drive behaviour. Behaviour determines results.
Frequently, this whole process from question to results involves just us. Here’s an example of a common, poor quality question that we ask ourselves, answer ourselves and the rest follows suit:
Poor Question to self: Why is my job so rubbish?
Answer to self: It’s boring.
Emotion and behaviour: I feel stuck, uninspired and drained. I’ll make myself feel better by doing something fun this weekend.
Result: I still have to go back to the same job on Monday.
Poor quality questions
A poor quality question delivers poor quality answers. Such answers create disempowering emotions. From there, we are likely to act out less helpful behaviours and achieve poor results.
So let’s flip this example with some quality questions – the more we ask the better:
Quality question 1: Would I prefer to find a way of enjoying this job, or get a new job?
Answer: I’d like a new job
Quality question 2: What am I both good at and enjoy doing, which I’d love to get paid for?
Answer: I’m good at and would like to work in […]
Quality question 3: What action can I take towards getting work in that industry?
Answer: I can start by freelancing on the side, I could partner with someone more experienced, I could join specialist recruitment sites, look for jobs within my own company, pull on my network for advice and contacts and take some courses.
Emotions and behaviour: I can see how this is possible, I have six ways to start this journey to a better career. I feel a sense of control, inspiration, clarity and excitement. I’ll start by looking for specialist recruiters and signing up for a course.
Results: I am now two steps closer to getting a job I really want.
A quality question empowers you to generate quality results
This process is applicable for any areas of life. How often do you hear people who want to be in a relationship saying ‘why are there no decent girls/ guys out there?’, resigning themselves to the answer ‘they are all taken’ and then wondering why they are still single?!
What if they were to ask: what do I want in a partner? Where are those sorts of people to be found? How can I meet them? What can I do to make myself a good match for someone like that?
Don’t forget to take action
Disempowering emotions don’t promote action, they promote avoidance. Quality questions generate empowering emotions which drive action. But you must TAKE the action.
More examples of quality questions
- How can I learn from this?
- How have other people succeeded?
- How can I break this down into manageable chunks?
- Who can I learn from or ask for advice?
- Where is the opportunity in this tough situation?
- How does this serve me?
- How is staying in my current situation a disservice to me?
- What will be the benefits of change?
The list sure goes on!
You can use the template of Question, Answer, Emotion, Behaviour and Result, to ask yourself more quality questions and explore the results that you would achieve. You could also use it to understand more about how poor quality questions are delivering you poor results.
So, what sort of quality questions would you like to ask in your life?
About the author: To find out more about Pinky Jangra, click here.
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’
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This was most helpful. It helps that you provided examples. I can see how asking better questions opens the door to many possibilities.
It’s better to ask questions than make assumptions, but it’s important to ask the right questions which empower and promote action.
Great article! Thankyou