Self Talk, Part I

Asking Quality Questions

I’ve long been a fan of self-improvement guru Tony Robbins because his approach not only makes sense, it has worked for me for several years. One of my take-aways from his programs comes up repeatedly when I’m working with a client or just talking to a friend or family member.

How much time do you spend frustrated at your “inability” to change an undesirable behavior or achieve a particular outcome in your own life? Think right now, and get in your mind one thing that you would like to change about yourself or your life and keep it in mind for the rest of this post.

Our minds have a brilliant way of solving our problems *when we give them the opportunity to do so*. What often hinders us is that in trying to solve something we ask ourselves bad questions and our minds in turn, give us bad answers. If you ask yourself why you can not remember where you left your keys… your mind hears “I cannot remember where I left my keys,” thereby ensuring you do not (or ensuring copious amounts of frustration before you do). If instead you said “how could I save myself some time and effort and find my keys right away?” Aha, now your mind says… well let’s see, we could start by re-tracing our steps when we last came in from the car (and so on).

Consider this one: “why can I never lose weight?” or “why I am so fat?” or any variation of that horrible question. How is your mind to answer that… because you’re a pig/you eat too much/don’t exercise, etc.? Poor question. Try instead: “how can I lose 10 pounds by the end of the year?” Ah! Now there’s a quality question which is far more likely to yield a quality answer.

Now – consider the one thing I asked you to keep in mind earlier. Think about the quiet questions that frame that thing in your mind. Are they enabling your mind to find the answers or are they ensuring you do not come up with a solution? If you’re asking negative questions, try to re-frame the wording and tone so that they are capable of producing a quality answer.

When you ask an empowering, quality question it opens your mind to possibilities and new outcomes that you hadn’t previously considered. When you begin to visualize the outcome you DO want, your mind begins to map out your path to that outcome. As long as you are focused on that thing you do not want, you will continue to move toward it.

Practice changing your questions as you notice them… catch yourself, especially if your question begins with “why”! Stop, and consider a more empowering way to ask the existing question. Become more aware throughout the day and focus on asking yourself (and others!) quality questions. It’s a practice that I promise will dramatically improve the quality of your life.

In Part 2 – measuring the quality of our self-statements.

(This post originally appeared on MFN 11/28/08. This updated version is provided because we all need reminders sometimes!)

2 thoughts on “Self Talk, Part I”

  1. you know that is funny because I was running with a friend this weekend who used this very same technique on me and reminded me of how important it is to do this and monitor your self talk…great post…

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