If You Want to Be Happier, Ask Better Questions
The fear of the unknown can be crippling.
It can stall any progress, put a cap on our potential, and rob us of our joy in an instant.
Many people become consumed with lingering questions. The lack of answers — and certainty — create panic and give birth to a damaging cycle of anxiety. We can find ourselves on a hamster wheel of emotional hell that never stops or slows down.
But what if we chose to see the questions as a blessing? Better yet, what if we leaned into the question asking and asked the questions ourselves?
The fear of the unknown causes our brains to ask fear-based questions like:
“How will I survive this?”
With a simple shift, we can change the question and it’s meaning entirely. So it becomes:
“What can I do to survive this?”
Both are questions. But one works against you and the other works for you. Yet, they both come from you.
Questions Are Your Friend
Questions themselves are not a bad thing. It’s the emotional turmoil that comes as a result of asking the questions that suck. So, questions aren’t the culprit. Rather, it’s the unchecked emotional state that follows.
Questions are the start of progress!
Look at the root word in question: quest.
When you ask a question, you send your mind on a quest to find the answer. We cannot find answers or solutions without asking questions. So, if the goal is to make progress — which should always be the case — then questions become our travel companions on the journey.
A question can spark a new idea or breakthrough to move forward.
A question can open previously closed doors allowing us to level up.
A question can bring us the answer.
This is essential to remember, not just in these uncertain times, but all the time!
This is a simple shift that anyone can make.
Anytime that you find your brain running, asking so many fear-based questions, stop. Take a breath and choose to think again.
Reframe the situation and give it a new meaning. One of my favorite quotes comes from Hamlet:
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” — William Shakespeare
The bard was not only a brilliant playwright but also a psychologist too. He understood human nature and the mind better than anyone.
I’m going to take it a step further saying that nothing is either right or wrong. Rather, it is the meaning we attach to things that makes it so.
Fear — and the accompanying questions that are born from the unknown — tend to create anxiety that we should somehow have it all figured out. No. We must remember that life is not math. There are no perfect equations that always yield specific answers. Life itself is an ever, ongoing process. And we will continue to evolve as we move along.
Reframe your situation. Choose to see questions as an opportunity to evolve, discover, progress, and grow!
The Greatest and Worst Question to Ask
There is one question that can either launch you into a state of hope or be the biggest conduit of regret: what if?
Questions — and the fear of the unknown — can lead to paralysis of analysis. Too many questions flying around in our heads can cause stagnation and prevent us from moving at all. This is an absolute worst-case scenario.
Why? Simple. It stops us from living and prevents us from taking risks. It steals our courage away and we only wind up crying like the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz.
No risk means no reward. It also means potential regret later on in life.
This leads to the evil version of the question “What if?”
When every window of opportunity has closed — and you can no longer go for that dream — regret will be your companion for the rest of your days. Your inner dialogue slowly changes into:
“What if I went for that dream?”
“What if I worked harder?”
“What if I gave it my all?”
That’s the evil version of that question and we never want to be on that side of it. These questions will never have answers now. To me, this is my version of a living hell.
However, if we choose to see the questions all around as blessings? Then, we have a chance to never feel that regret later on in life.
The fear of the unknown can cause us to feel immense doubt. This is where “What if?” can become our best friend.
When doubt arises within us, we can choose to intercept it with,
“What if I can pull this off?”
“What if things work in my favor?”
“What if I succeed?”
“What if I win?”
This is how we take back our minds and our life.
We are no longer a victim of the conditions of uncertainty or the unknown. Instead, “What if?” in this light, shows us how we can feel hope, be inspired, and take action in the direction of what we desire to achieve. And that, my friends, is living.
We will never have all of the answers.
However, we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We have untapped strength and potential lying dormant within us. The only way to unleash it is to explore the unknown. To lean into the uncertainty.
Our guides which empower us to do so are the questions we choose to ask.
Ask questions that serve you, not harm you.
Ask questions that challenge you to grow, not force you to shrink.
Ask questions that will move you into action, not keep you in a state of stagnation.
Ask better questions and you’ll get better results. You’ll also be a heck of a lot happier too.