Rarely do we get such a simple answer to a question of how to live a better life as in this case. In a book that was otherwise talking about money, this sentence stood out to me as applicable to every area of our well-being:
“The quality of your life depends on the quality of your questions.”
– Tony Robbins
This quote became a perfect reminder and almost like a thought-anchor for this new year.
I’ve been on a mission to declutter and simplify my life for the last few years.
And being fully aware that the flip of all of those attempts to live a simpler, easier life is the desire to consciously choose where we want to be spending our energy (and, on the other side of the scale – what and whom we do not want to be spending our energy on), focusing on the quality of the questions we ask ourselves seems like the logical next step.
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Same like setting goals makes us achieve much more (and there are studies that support that), likewise stopping to review your goals makes sure that you stay on the course that you actually want to be on.
Over the years we change (or that’s the hope! ;)). We’re constantly being influenced by our environment, by our thoughts and by people we spend the most time with, resulting in us growing.
And as we change, our goals, intentions and desires might change too.
I once used to dream about living in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Canada (just like Annie from Green Gables did), but now I cannot imagine myself living so far away from a city and all the benefits that come from that.
We’re not the same people we were 5, 10, or 20 years ago. Our minds and our bodies change, and so can our desires and needs. But if we never stop to ask ourselves whether we’re still on the right path for us, then we’ll continue to walk in the direction set by the older (outdated) version of ourselves.
And what good will that do to anyone?
Asking new questions and periodically questioning the basic assumptions we make lies at the core of knowing how to live a better life. A life that is better adjusted to what we want and long for in the present (and not what we wanted a few years ago).
We need to ask new and better questions, instead of asking the same questions over and over again, without ever disrupting our lives.
For example, if the only question we ask ourselves is “what should I have for breakfast?”, and then we follow into a routine we actually hate, we’re failing to ask ourselves a much more important question of “what would I ideally want to be doing after breakfast?”.
Asking the right question, even if it might seem scary for its potential to disrupt the status quo, will bring you closer to your current desired outcome, thus ensuring you don’t waste your life on living day by day indifferent, dissatisfied or even miserable. And all you have to do is stop, think and pay attention to the quality of the questions you’re asking yourself.
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If we’re talking about the quality of questions, then I’ve got to ask: have you ever heard of afformations?
Affirmations are positive statements you tell yourself over and over (to affirm that result, change your thoughts and help you bring your dream into life), while afformations are questions we pose to ourselves, that are set up in a positive way (just like an affirmation would be). This concept comes from a book called “Afformations: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk” by Noah St. John.
How does it work?
Afformations are a way for your brain to search for solutions and positive answers, rather than negate what you’re saying.
Imagine if you’re trying to affirm that you’re successful (whatever that might mean to you – but be sure you know what it means to you first!).
If you’re going to be telling yourself “I am successful. I am successful. I am successful.”, but if – in reality – you do not feel successful at all and far from it, there’s going to be this little voice in your head that, every time you affirm “I am successful,” telling you in its quiet but confident voice: “No, you’re not.”
As a result, in your inner dialogue, you’re actually hearing both positive AND negative messages. Which will make it harder to turn this desire into reality.
BUT, afformations are a different way of using the same idea as affirmations (of repeating something to yourself), but instead of repeating statements that – at the time when you’re saying them – might not feel true, you ask yourself a question that is designed to feed your inner voice some positive thoughts.
In our case, you’d keep asking yourself, for example, “Why am I successful?”, which should get your mind thinking about and looking for reasons – however small – why you’re already a success.
This way, by asking this very cleverly designed question, you cannot help but focus on the positives that already feel true, which should act as a motivator.
It’s also much easier to believe that you will be successful (at whatever you’re trying to achieve), if you focus your attention on all the successes you’ve had in the past (even be it in other areas) as proof that you can do it now too, rather than constantly mulling over in your head the fact that you’re still far away from being successful in your current project.
Do you see the difference?
It’s really important we pay attention to the chatter in our brain – the thoughts that we feed ourselves daily. And by starting to implement afformations (SO: asking ourselves better quality questions), we can start listening to entirely new thoughts forming within us. We can go from seeing everything in the worst light to looking for solutions and seeing new opportunities in every door that closes on our way (because change is how we grow).
So let this be your reminder too:
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Schedule some time to stop, reflect on your current goals and ask yourself some “come back to basics” questions, and see if you’re still on the right course for your life. OR, if maybe something somewhere needs adjustment to make you just that extra bit more happy and satisfied.
Ironically, the right question to ask is: are you asking yourself the right questions?
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and let me know: do you feel like this will allow you to focus on the positives? And are you using any other tools to help feed that inner voice with helpful thought patterns? I’d love to hear what else you might be doing!
Share this post with your friends on social media to start this conversation next time you talk to them. And be sure to pay attention to what sort of questions you’re asking yourself these days. It’s together that we can keep each other accountable and help inspire each other on how to live a better life.
With my (unquestionable) best wishes for whatever you want to achieve next,
(PLUS, you'll get my free training to help you BE HAPPIER every day.)