Archive for the ‘resolutions’ Category

The Most Important Thing to Know About Questions: ‘Why’ You’re Digging a Hole

Friday, August 1st, 2014

struggling to the topWhen you’re in a hole, stop digging!

Questions, questions, questions. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone, somewhere, isn’t asking the question, “Why?” It seems we have a persistent and insatiable desire to understand the cause of things.

And it’s led me to believe there must have been a genetic advantage for our ancestors to ask that question. Why else would we have developed such a fondness for asking it?

An inquiry into why we saw an effect in the world helped us understand its yet unknown mysteries and led to an increased chance for survival. For instance, looking for the cause of dewdrops led to our ability to create water from condensation.

Asking why was the right question, in the right context, yielding the right result. It allowed us to create more of the effect we wanted to see—water.

But, there’s one thing you need to know about questions. They’re going to take you in different directions, depending on the context.

As it turns out, being genetically predisposed to ask why might not always be good for you. It’s a question that can get you into trouble when used in the context of personal improvement—because asking why leads you backwards towards cause, never forward toward change.

Asking why you’re having a problem (the effect or result) is looking for cause. Metaphorically speaking, it’s a shovel question. You’re looking for reasons and causes.

Why does this always happen to me?

Why do I feel this way?

Why s/he like that?

Why am I so (fill in the blank)?

Why can’t it be (fill in the blank)?

You’re digging into the problem, trying to understand and unlock it’s mysteries. The more you ask why, the more information you’ll gather up. And it’s a seductive question, because it feels fruitful. You’re producing a result. But is it the result you’re looking for?

At the end of all your whys, you may find the cause—but more often than not, you’ll only end up with a hole you can’t fill in. What’s your priority, to understand the problem … or solve the problem? Unless you’re looking to recreate the result (more problem), put down the shovel and stop asking why.

Because the result you’re really looking for is to create or develop something other than the problem.  And for that, you need more useful questions. Remember—right questions, right context, right result.

What’s missing (what belief about myself or the world, what perspective, attitude, capability, talent or skill) that if I had it—right now—this couldn’t possibly be a problem for me?

What do I want to have happen, and what steps do I need to take toward it?

Who do I know (either living or dead) who can act as a model for me—someone that has already solved this in their own life? How did they solve it?

Taking the information you gather from these powerful questions will find you well on your way toward creating something other than the problem.

And if you, like so many others, have been digging a hole? That hole you’ve been digging will soon be filled in with enough solution to pour the foundation for a whole new something else.




A New Year’s ReVolution

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution.  More than likely because I always equated the word resolution with that dreaded word “discipline.”

And when it comes to discipline?

Well, let’s just say, the day they were handing it out, I happened to be at the back of a very long line and didn’t have enough discipline to wait for it.

So discipline and I have never been friends. A fact all too often brought to my attention by one or another of the well-intentioned, ruler wielding, knuckling slapping nuns who terrorized my young life in order to knock it into me.

Actually, the sum total of all that knuckle slapping did amount to something: my earlier belief that if only I were more disciplined my life would not only be easier but a whole lot less painful too. After all, you need discipline to get things done, right?


Here’s the reason why. Discipline isn’t the Holy Grail that leads to the Kingdom of All Promises Made and Kept that you’ve been led to believe. There’s an equally potent – far easier – way to keeping the promises you’ve made to yourself to change aspects of your life.

It’s really quite simple.

Use your passion, enthusiasm and desire more effectively.  Here’s how.

Do you have a promise you’d like to keep this year?

Imagine having already kept it.  Picture it in vivid detail by asking yourself a few questions:

“How has this changed my life and/or the lives of those around me?”
“What would I have missed out on if I hadn’t made this change? “
“What is now possible that only once seemed impossible?”
“What’s now present that was missing before I made this change?”

Now, notice the feeling of success and accomplishment. Ask yourself:

“How do I feel about myself now that I’ve accomplished this?”

Finally ask yourself:

“Do I want to feel this way?”
“Do I want this?”

I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes.’

And if this is the case, how much discipline does it take for you to do something you really, really want to do? That’s right. None – all you need to have is passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So when it comes to something that we really want, what looks like discipline from the outside becomes effortless efforting on the inside.   And if ever you feel yourself drifting away from your promise(s), simply reconnect to your passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So if you’re worried that you won’t have enough discipline to achieve your New Years Resolution, why not join me in making a New Year’s ReVolution instead?   So what’s yours going to be?