Are you good at asking questions? Not just to others but to yourself. Thinking is the process of asking questions.

If you don’t believe me, pause for a moment and notice your thought process right now. Are you asking yourself questions to come to a determination?

Your brain is a supercomputer and it will come up with answers for whatever question you ask it. Even if it isn’t true or makes no sense.

The first person you have to get great at asking questions is yourself. When you ask yourself good questions you do good things. If you’re not doing the things you want and producing the results you desire you aren’t asking yourself good questions. The problem is most of our thinking happens so fast and is subconscious most people aren’t even aware.

Most people ask questions like:

What’s wrong with me?

Why am I so bad at this?

Whose fault is it?

They are stuck in a problem frame mindset meaning they are asking questions focused on why the problem came about. We want to reverse it and start asking questions like:

Why am I so amazing?

What’s so great about this situation?

How can I make this even better?

These questions are in outcome / solution frame. They make your brain focus on positive solutions.

When you look at great entrepreneurs they are really good at asking questions. They can break down big overwhelming problems into bite size chunks they methodically solve.

The next benefit of asking great questions is for the people you are speaking to. Have you ever had someone ask you a great thoughtful question that gave you a great insight? Or maybe they asked you a question that made you see something in a way you never have before.

When you can ask someone a great question you have the ability to give them the gift of a new experience. This makes people value your presence in their life highly.

You can also ask people questions to influence them to get the outcome you desire. This is especially effective in a leadership position or a negotiation. Telling people what to do rarely works but influencing them with the power of a great question can make miracles happen.

What are some great questions you can start asking yourself on a regular basis in the different areas of your life? In your health, relationships, business, finances etc.

Ask yourself great questions with repetition and enthusiasm and your brain will start giving you amazing answers you never thought of before. Remember if you’re not getting good answers in life you just need to ask a better question. Questions are the answer.

Whenever you get in an argument with someone or find yourself stuck doing the same limiting pattern over and over there isn’t anything wrong with them or you. The problem is that your software needs an update.

Most people think problems are a bad thing. Successful people see them as fun puzzles to solve. Tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley love solving problems. They know the bigger the problem they solve the more value they can create for the world and the more value they create the more money they make and bigger impact they have on people.

You can also see problems as gifts. They show up to make us grow so we can become a bigger, stronger, better version of ourselves. The reason we want to grow is so we have more to give.

How do you solve the problem of not getting along with someone or feeling stuck in the same behavioral pattern?

You need to update your software inside your head and nervous system. You may have beliefs and rules that make it difficult to reach your outcomes. You may also have values in conflict with one another. If you don’t have a passionate, loving intimate relationship but want one you may have a belief that makes it hard for you to give or receive the love you want. Or you may value love while also value avoiding rejection.

Whenever you or someone has a behavioral pattern that makes you think something is wrong, simply catch yourself and say, “It’s not the person, it’s the software.” Just like we need to update our computer os and apps on our phones we need to periodically do the same with our mind and nervous system.

What are the best ways to do that?

Here are three great ones:

  1. Get a coach
  2. Attend a live event
  3. Set up daily rituals to condition your mind and body

In his book Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

It is not meant to be morbid, but a reminder to live each moment as if it is a gift because it is. It is easy to take for granted the life we have been given and the time we expect to have in the future. However, the truth is it can all end in a heartbeat.

This isn’t meant to be an alarmist thought, but a wake up call to cherish the moments you have in life to be your best, do what you are made to do while on this earth and love generously the people you care about most.

Most people fail to achieve their goals because they are focused on the result they are after more than the amount of effort they are putting in to achieve it. To create anything worthwhile in your life there is a certain amount of effort you must give. Rather than allowing your success or failure determine your happiness, let your happiness at the end of the day be determined by the amount of heart and spirit you put into what you did.

There is a great book called Grit by Angela Duckworth which talks about how outstanding achievement is not talent but a combination of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” People who become masters of their craft put in an intense amount of effort day in and day out to attain the success they have. They are more focused on the process than the glory.

“The purpose of a goal is what you become as a person while you are achieving it.” – Billy Cox

I attended Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within Event this past weekend in Miami with friends and had an incredible time. There were 13,000+ people in attendance and it was like a rock concert while you get to improve your life with like-minded people. I learned many things over the four day event. The one that made the biggest impact on me was the idea of your body being an antenna for what you want to create and attract in your life.

It all starts with the emotional state you are in. If you are in a lousy emotional state trying to achieve your goals you won’t get very far. You won’t do very well building a business, creating a loving passionate intimate relationship or getting a six pack if you are in a low energy state. Sometimes it seems like an impossible challenge if you’ve tried many times and nothing has worked for a long time.

The quickest way to change the results you are getting is to shift your physiology. Most people try to change their focus or think positive which is great also. However, if your body is in a low energy state your mind is not as effective as making the shift as your body is. Emotion is created by motion. A quicker more direct approach is to move your body or just engage your body. Here’s a few things you can do:

  • Jump up and down a few times
  • Do push ups
  • Do a sprint
  • Smile or laugh
  • Take deep breaths
  • Squeeze your muscles tightly and then let them go

There is no right way to do this. The right way is the way that gets you in the emotional state you need to be in to create the result you are looking to produce. Even as I write this blog post I notice my emotional state shifting when I get stuck about what to say and I’ve trained myself to do a little body shake and breathe deep to get back into a powerful state to create a great blog post.

You can use this in any area of your life! Here are some areas it can be useful:

  • On a date
  • At the gym
  • In a business meeting
  • On a job interview
  • At a social gathering
  • Public speaking

So whenever you are having trouble creating a result, before focusing on what strategy or behavior to do, focus on what state you need to be in. You can ask yourself this exact question, “What state do I need to be in right now to produce this result?” Train your body to lead the way and the results will tune in to the antenna signals you are putting out through your emotional state.

To be great at anything in life requires consistent practice. To get to a level of mastery requires consistent practice at the edge. When I say the edge I mean focusing at your peak intensity. There’s a big difference between going through the motions and pouring your heart and soul into your craft.

When Michael Jordan would train each day he would make sure to make (not just take) 1,000 shots every day. It was a measurable result that took effort, focus and repetition at the edge. He wouldn’t stop until he hit his target. There was no debate whether or not he did it because the task was defined: make 1,000 shots.

Most people have trouble being great at something because they are more focused on the result (the glory) than they are on the process of what it takes to create it. What is the one thing that you must do over and over on a daily basis that will lead you to the result you desire to produce? That is your 1,000 shots.

What do you need to do day in and day out, over and over until you rise up above everyone else. Not because you’re a genius, but because you put in the work and you didn’t give up like everyone else. Your genius is that you put in the hard work, didn’t give up and built yourself into a skilled person that is better than anyone else.

“The genius thing that we did was, we didn’t give up.” – Jay Z

Go for the quick wins. Not to be lazy but to get momentum in your favor. Success builds on success. So the more positive reinforcement you can give yourself the more certainty you will have to go for bigger wins.

Have you ever noticed a basketball player who is not in the zone get back in the zone? What does she do? She goes for the easy baskets to get back in the zone.

Layup.

Two free throws.

Steal.

Dunk!

Rebound.

Assist.

Short jump shot.

After only a couple of small wins she is back on track and can shift the entire momentum of the game. While most players try to get the big shots in, like 3 pointers or tough jump shots, and fall further behind…she is right back in it. By doing so she now has the momentum to take and make those big shots as well!

How can you apply this to what you do?

Whatever you’re EFFORTING on and you become stuck or don’t know what to do next, ask yourself what’s the simplest thing you can do now? Do that! You don’t always need to make big hits and the truth is they don’t come along that often. The deeper truth is that the big hits come from the accumulation of the small hits.

Go for the low hanging fruit. Build momentum. That’s how you crush it!

The best way to create value and get more of what you want is to elevate the people around you. Most people try to tear people who are succeeding around them down because they feel insignificant. The best way to combat this is to cheer them on because that same capability is within you. And by celebrating it, rather than repressing it, you build it more in yourself.

Another key moment to uplift people around you is when you are with people who could use some uplifting. If you can be that person that gives energy and strength to others when they need it most you become a true leader. It sounds easier said than done. Charismatic people create value and love wherever they are. Be the change.

Repetition is the mother of skill. To become great at anything you have to put in the EFFORT day in and day out. Even if you could magically get the outcome without doing anything – that’s not what you want. What you want is to grow and become a bigger and better person. We all do, it’s part of being human. That’s why no matter how successful you become you will always want to continue to expand. The universe is always expanding and so are you if you put in the work.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

So whatever it is you are working on, make sure to remember there are steps you need to build upon over time. Nothing happens over night. And you are building in all the different areas of your life all the time. Your health, relationships, business, finances, fun, hobbies, contribution back to the world.

There’s no need to get overwhelmed by this. It should be refreshing to know that all you have to do is show up every day, be patient, put in your best effort and have faith. Whenever you start anything you are going to be bad. Even if you are a natural you are still worse than you will be in one, two, five years into it. Bad isn’t bad. Bad means you are making new connections in your brain and body to develop a new skill set. And as long as you keep on growing you will repeat the cycle of being bad to being great to being bad again.

Why? Imagine you are exploring new lands on the Earth or somewhere in outer space. You will find new frontiers, adapt to them and become great at living there. Then if you are looking to grow more you will venture to new ones and become unsure of what’s going on and have to learn the new environment until you adapt again. Same thing with a new relationship, workout or hobby.

Just like you condition your muscles when you go to the gym. You want to condition the muscles in your brain and nervous system to get stronger and better each day. The cool part is the compounding effect over time. After a while you will be immensely stronger and better at it. In the beginning it may take all your effort and you do a terrible job. Then over time you don’t even have to think about it because you have mastered it and can do what very few can do.

Train yourself to enjoy the process of conditioning whatever habits you need to implement into your life. Your life is a reflection of your rituals so go out and condition the ones that you need to create the life you desire and deserve.