By Georgina El Morshdy
The poet David Whyte said, “The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering.”
It turns out that questions offer us benefits in two crucial ways. Firstly, there’s the level of thinking and awareness needed to ask the right question, to the right person, at the right time. Often, it takes courage and confidence to ‘go there’ - which helps us grow.
Secondly, there are the depths of curiosity, self-expression, and self-discovery that emerge when answering a question. How deep are you prepared to go to find the best answer?
Both sides of this ‘question coin’ have the power to shift your perspective, extract more profound wisdom, and craft stronger connections.
The link between self-improvement and questions
In short, if you desire a ‘better’ life, then it pays to take stock of the questions you ask yourself. Because - in the words of Tony Robbins - “The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself.”
Questions redirect and focus your thinking. In short, questions influence the answers you extract, the problems you mull over, and ultimately the solutions you create and the actions you take.
And it gets even better…
Because of a mental reflex called Instinctive Elaboration, a question will hijack your brain - forcing you to think of nothing else. [Because energy flows where your attention goes]. As a result, questions guide you to dig into your subconscious to find answers and inspired ideas.
It’s why Charles F Hannel called questions “spiritual searchlights’... reinforcing the idea that questions can open new doors of self-discovery and deepen the connection you feel with the people in your life.
Questions in learning
“The only way to learn new things is to ask questions and be curious. Find the people who inspire your curiosity because those are the ones you will learn from the most.” - James Altucher
Questions can guide us to improve existing skills and develop new ones. Questions can test our knowledge and understanding - helping us to find our blindspots and move forwards with our learning [and ultimately our lives].
Curiosity is an invaluable skill to bring to your learning.
Allow childlike inquisitiveness to show up, whether you’re reading a book, attending a workshop, listening to a podcast, or working through a program, masterclass, or online course.
Be OK with not knowing.
And allow the right questions to bubble up as you navigate your learning and make new connections. Keep an open mind, and you’ll become a lifelong learner - able to break through outdated patterns of thinking.
A life lived through this lens is a life where anything is possible.
Questions to inspire self-discovery
“It takes courage….to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” - Marianne Williamson
When it comes to your journey of self-discovery, questions are the fuel that takes you to new depths. In your journal, a question will beat the blank page blues EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Because once you ask yourself a question, you’ll ALWAYS have something to say - then the next challenge is how deep you are willing to go?
In this way, questions will take your journaling to the next level by challenging you to think about things differently. They spark curiosity and challenge you to think beyond the obvious and turn away from the well-trodden paths where you already know yourself too well.
In turn, you’ll extract new ideas.
You’ll reach new depths of clarity.
You’ll discover hidden parts of yourself - you may even uncover sneaky excuses, limiting beliefs, and unhelpful stories.
As a result, you create space to highlight and challenge what isn’t working - and in the process, you can begin to wire in new ways of thinking and being - so you can discover the next version of your best self.
Questions to deepen relationships
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” - Dale Carnegie
Familiarity makes relationships stale. It’s all-too-easy to make assumptions when you’ve known someone for a long time. It’s easy to fall into the same-old conversations groove too - and that can become dull and predictable.
Questions can tease open new levels of connection by sparking conversations along different tangents and subjects. You don’t know what you don’t know! The right question can crack something open - helping you discover and explore new ideas, issues, dreams, goals, and beliefs with your partner, children, friends, work colleagues, family and even strangers.
Great questions are an easy way to take any get-together to the next level. [It’s why so many people love our Discovery Decks].
Questions enhance your life
Great questions spark curiosity and inquisitiveness. They take your thinking down new tangents and open different doorways - an instinct that can impact multiple areas of your life.
Remember, the better you get at asking questions, the more you’ll crack something open. So give yourself permission to step away from the obvious. Check yourself when you’re regurgitating stuff and are stuck in repetition.
Use questions to challenge yourself, awaken something in yourself, and elevate yourself.
And if you want more high-quality questions at your fingertips, here are some resources to check out.