Life causes us to question ourselves, but not all thoughts that come to mind are beneficial for us.
In fact, many can be harmful and misleading.
Here are five of those undesirable questions that if you find yourself asking, you’d be wise to rephrase or reroute them.
Subtle differences in phrasing can make a big impact in your mind.
1. Why Am I Here?
Whether you got to this moment by a failed marriage, back surgery, a lottery ticket, or by bus, it doesn’t matter for purposes moving forward. If you don’t like your situation, the only way out is found in solutions for the present moment, and “why am I here?” moves your mindset backwards, away from solutions.
There’s a better question that puts your focus in the present moment.
Better Question: Where do I go from here?
Quote: “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn
2. Why Me?
This question sums up the victim’s mindset. The main reason you don’t want to be a victim is because victims only have things happen TO them. They can’t take charge and control the situation, because their focus is not on what they can do, but on what happens to them. Would the opposite of this question give the opposite mindset of a victim? Yes, ask yourself the opposite…
Better Question: Why not me? (This is the possibility question!)
Quote: “To the dumb question, ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, ‘Why not?’” – Christopher Hitchens
3. How Do I Lose Weight?
It doesn’t look bad, but it is secretly horrible. Asking this question frames the problem (being overweight) for a temporary solution. Unless you’re trying to make weight for your wrestling match, I doubt you want to lose weight and put it back on a month later. To explain why, here is the better question to tackle weight loss.
Better Question: Who do I need to be to weigh less?
This alternative question has an identity shift built into it as part of the solution, and these are the solutions that stick. Weight, after baseline genetic attributes, is a result of lifestyle, which stems from your identity. If you try to change with forced mechanical actions – like the answers to the question “how do I lose weight?” will lead you to do (exercise, eat vegetables, control portion size, etc) – your willpower will run out eventually.
“Who do I need to be?” changes the goal to an internal shift of values and habits that will automagically take you to a lower weight. It’s sustainable because you’ll have changed at the core level instead of forcing yourself to live against your established nature. To start the process of changing your identity, compare the benefits of a new identity to your current one. How would it be better? How would it be worse? Which do you like better overall?
“How do I lose weight?” makes you want the results, and “who do I need to be…” makes you want the change. When you want the change, you’ll get the results. When you only want the results, you’ll often end up with nothing.
Quote: “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.” – David Viscott
4. Why Won’t Anyone Talk To Me?
Why won’t you talk to anyone else? If you want to talk to someone, it isn’t their responsibility to talk to you, but yours to talk to them. Every single conversation you have is either initiated by you or by someone else. If you never initiate conversation, it gives people the impression that you don’t want conversation.
A better, more productive question to ask yourself when you’re lonely is…
Better Question: Why don’t I go introduce myself to that person?
Quote: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats
Bonus Quote: “Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine
5. When Will I Finally Succeed?
To ask this question shows that you’re after the end result without caring about how you arrive at it. The “overnight success stories” you hear about are preceded by years of progress that you don’t hear about. Focus on becoming the type of person who would succeed. Focus on progress and you should find success eventually. But instead of thinking about success, here’s a better question…
Better Question: What small steps could I take today to move forward?
Quote: “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon
If you want to know why getting motivated doesn’t work, read my Ultimate Guide For Taking Action When You Don’t Feel Like It. And if you want to learn how habits, focusing, and small steps all relate and can change your life, you would enjoy subscribing to Deep Existence. I write an insightful newsletter each Tuesday and give new subscribers a set of 40 focus wallpapers and my well-liked eBook, Stress Management Redefined. If you’re interested, sign up here. We’d love to have you!
|Written on 10/28/2013 by Stephen Guise. Besides writing for his own blogs Stephen is a featured writer here at Dumb Little Man. Be sure to stop by Stephen’s ‘featured writer page‘ right here on Dumb Little Man to find links to more of his articles.|
Photo Credit: TZA