So what if I told you that there was this one thing that, if you changed it, would exponentially increase the quality of your life for the better? Would you be interested? I hope so! Because the reality of many of our lives is that we’re not happy with how things are and we’d like to make things better but just don’t know why we don’t feel like doing it.
I shared in a previous post about how distraught I became after the release of my book in January and how I struggled with feelings of depression and discouragement as a result. But what I didn’t share with you was one of the most powerful tools I used to get out of that rut and get back on track to feeling a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and satisfaction with life.
One of the most powerful ways we can transform the quality of our lives almost overnight is to change the way we’re evaluating our world. And if you want to quickly increase the quality of your own life it’s time to ask better questions.
In communication, what’s more powerful? A comment or a question? Comments can be good, bad, or indifferent but they’ll always be an opinion owned by the commenter. Questions, however, make us think and require us to form our own opinions about life and world around us works. Within the heart of every person are questions. And the answers to those questions are controlling, in large part, the quality of life you’re experiencing. The bottom line is simple:
QUALITY OF QUESTIONS = QUALITY OF LIFE
Our inner world is being formed from the time we’re very young by questions that are being asked by our souls. Questions like: Why am I here? What am I made for? Do I have what it takes? and Am I enough? all exist within each of us. For most of us, the answers to these questions determined, to some extent, the value we placed on ourselves. When we’re young, we don’t get the benefit on knowing what questions are actually setting us up for success or failure. But looking back, a question like, “Am I good enough?” always has an implied answer of, “No.” Why? Because inherent in the question is the sense that someone else can validate my existence! If you want to create a better quality of life, then you have to ask better questions. What would happen if we replaced, “Am I good enough?” with “What value did I contribute to the world today?” What answers am I likely to come up with? Answers that fuel my success or answers that fuel my failure? The quality of our questions matter.
The Heart of The Question
What I began to realize about myself and the state that I found myself in was that it was all fueled by what my coaching mentor, Tony Robbins, calls the “primary question.” His theory is that everyone has a primary question that their heart (subconscious mind) is asking to be answered in almost every single situation, hundreds or even thousands of times per day. The answer to this question fuels the way we feel about life and motivates the way we behave and act in all conditions.
For example, if my primary question is, “Is this going to be fun?” then when I’m in a party setting with lots of friends I’ll be a source of life and excitement because the answer to my heart’s question is a resounding YES! But when one of those same friends calls me on the phone to tell me that their father died and they’d like me to come to the funeral, I’ll avoid the ceremony and make excuses for what looks like my flaky, disloyal behavior all because my primary question was answered with a loud NO. Until I become aware of the question that’s driving my behavior, then I won’t change the way I act even if I so badly want to. Why not? Because the primary question is inseparable from my identity.
Our identity is the major determining factor of lives. It’s the force that shapes and determines our destiny. Easily defined, it’s what we think and believe to be true about ourselves. Because the primary question is so inextricably tied to who we think we are, when our hearts feels as though we can’t answer the question that we’re asking of life then we feel like our world is falling apart. That’s why changing the quality of our questions can so radically alter the quality of our lives! If we can become aware of what questions we’re asking, then we can make a decision to change it to something more useful and empowering when it comes up.
After much searching (and a little help from my coach), what I discovered as my primary question was some variation of, “Am I doing this right?” The unfortunate presupposition to this question is that I must be doing something wrong! So, if my heart is constantly asking the world “Am I doing this right?” which is really focusing me on what I’m doing wrong, then my feelings are going to be generally self-loathing because the answer is always NO.
The beauty of this discovery for me was how much it explained about my life and how radically simple it was to change it for the better — just change the question! Now, I’m shifting to “What can I appreciate about this moment?” and “How can I add more value to others right now?” as my main questions. By doing this I’m constantly staying focused on what I’m grateful for and what I can do to affect change in the lives of everyone around me.
So, if you’re struggling with a behavior that you want to change but just can’t seem to make it happen or if you find yourself in a place that seems eerily familiar because you’re stuck in a pattern that you can’t seem to break, then take an honest look at the questions you’re asking yourself. By becoming aware of the way you make evaluations and making alterations to the primary questions of your heart you’ll quickly increase the quality of your life and begin to experience more joy, power, freedom, and fulfillment.
Question: What do you suppose is your primary question and how has it fueled the circumstances of your life up until now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.