Ask Better Questions

Oscar Rodriguez paints the "question mark" Unpredictable logo If you want better answers, ask better questions. I most recently heard that by listening to a Tony Robbins CD (wrote about that here), but I’ve heard it before. The thing is, with all good advice, if you don’t hear it often, it falls under the waves. So, I’m here to repeat it.

“If you want better answers, ask better questions.”

Questions That Help You Grow

I was reading the latest issue of Entrepreneur magazine, about the guy who started the Ace Hotel, and about how it’s turning into a branding thing. I felt a bit of joy and a bit of envy. I started thinking, “What can’t I have a brand like that?” Of course, if you look at the phrasing of the question, what I’m asking is for all the negative reasons why I don’t have that. So, I rephrased:

“What could I do to roll out a brand that means something and transforms across more than one platform?”

This answer was much better. It then made me think of ways that I could grow what I’m working on and really get it into the mindset of a brand. How? Because I realized that first question spawned several more questions:

  • What makes a brand something people share?
  • What makes one want to associate with a brand?
  • Which brands are out there that are closest to what I’d want to be? (modeling)
  • What’s the right timing/order of operations on consciously planning something like this?
  • CAN you consciously plan something like this?

See how that works?

Questions That Reset Your Mental State

Sometimes, questions are a great way to dig yourself out of a bad mood or fear or frustration.

  • The speech is due tomorrow and I’ve not written anything. What resources could I tap to get some instant ideas?
  • I’m depressed. How have I gotten out of that in the past? (especially if it’s just blues and not clinical depression)
  • I’m feeling sorry for myself. Who can I help at Skip 1?
  • I’m feeling inadequate. What have I accomplished so far over the last handful of years?
  • Is this real life? (thank you David After Dentist.)

Questions That Chunk Things Up

  • I’ve gotta make another $20K this year. How do I find it?
  • I’ve got 3 months left, so that’s $6K a month. What do I know how to do to make $6K?
  • Who can I solicit that might need what I’m selling?
  • How can I grow my potential buyer network?
  • What’s step 1?

See? It’s all in the questions.

Ask Better Questions

The more I work on things, the more I realize that questions are at the root of all good knowledge and definitely at the root of transitions. When I decided to become a consultant, I asked people at Gnomedex what it took to be a consultant. The answer was depressingly simple, so I started doing it. When I wanted to make more money speaking, I asked Guy Kawasaki how much I should charge. The answer was depressingly simple, so I started doing it.

The things you can change start by having you change your reality. According to Tony Robbins, it goes like this:

You have to change your reality. Want to change your reality? Change your focus. Want to change your focus, change the questions you’re asking.

Is it really that simple?

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