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The Power of Questions for Self-Improvement

Updated on January 4, 2011
Asking great questions can work better than affirmations.
Asking great questions can work better than affirmations. | Source

Questions Are the Answer

If you're like me, you've been looking all your life for answers...but maybe what you have been really looking for all along were the right questions to ask.

While one of the most known tools for self-improvement are affirmations, the use of questions can be even more powerful.

In his book, Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins says that our questions determine our thoughts. That "questions direct our focus, and therefore how we think and feel." He also states that asking questions, different questions and better questions than others ask, can change our lives. Anthony Robbins realized that "successful people asked better questions, and as a result, they got better answers."

Just one of Anthony Robbins great questions he poses to himself and others is, "What's great about this problem?" That question can truly change your perspective if you are willing to ask it. Some say opportunity knocks. But when you ask this question you are knocking on the door of opportunity and you will usually find that opportunity will let you in. If the problem is one you're having with a child or spouse, the opportunity you find may be to learn more about unconditional love. If the problem is business related you may find yourself discovering a new niche market that no one else has touched or an unusual promotional strategy. Whatever you discover by asking this question, chances are that it will be amazing.

Dale Carnegie in his classic self-help book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living had some wonderful questions to ask such as, "How much does this thing I am worrying about really matter to me?" and, "How do I know this thing I am worrying about will really come to pass?"

Many self-improvement books have excellent questions presented in them. Best selling author, Debbie Ford, even has a book based entirely on ten questions called The Right Questions. Keep your eye out for books or self-improvement articles that have questions that appeal to you, that you sense will help you change your life for the better.

Four Questions

Some of my favorite questions come from something known as The Work that a woman named Byron Katie discovered. The Work uses four simple questions to take negative thoughts or judgments that are producing such things as fear, anger, or other forms of suffering and find peace instead.

The questions are these. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it's true? How do I react when I think that thought? And, Who would I be without that thought?

Although simple, pondering these questions can create profound shifts in a person's life. We all have negative thoughts crop up. But how often do we ever bother to challenge them. Sometimes we shove them aside in a dark, dusty corner of our mind and try to ignore them. But in my experience, shining light on them in order to discover their validity is more effective.

Finding Your Own Questions

As you talk with friends or family members you look up to, or as you read biographies of people you admire, notice what questions they seem to ask themselves when they go through tough times, the questions that seemed to help bring them to success. Questions may be along the lines of, "How can I do this better? How can I be a better person? What small goal can I make today? What matters most to me?"

Notice which questions you ask yourself that keep you stuck in the same self-defeating patterns. "Why does everything always go wrong? What did I do such a stupid thing for? Why doesn't anyone like me?" Then ask yourself what questions can you ask instead that will serve you better, that are more empowering.

Keep a notebook and write down in it your questions...and the answers that you come up with in reply to your questions. You may be pleasantly surprised by how your life begins to change.

"Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question." e.e. cummings


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    • drspaniel profile image

      drspaniel 6 years ago from Somewhere, where the sun shines once a year...

      Anthony Robbins is an absolute genius on the way that your brain works, and how you can live life to the fullest! I respect him for all the guidance he gives in his books, as I've used them to stop myself making some pretty big mistakes. Thank you for this wonderful Hub, I really enjoyed it. Also I will now begin asking myself some better questions everyday, with the burning desire to find answers!

    • Mickmc profile image

      Mickmc 6 years ago

      "But in my experience, shining light on them in order to discover their validity is more effective."

      Hi DreamsinBloom. I completely agree with this statement. Sometimes negative thoughts / questions are not valid, sometimes they are. Figuring out which ones are valid and which ones are not is really valuable.

    • DreamsInBloom profile image

      DreamsInBloom 7 years ago

      Thanks, 2besure. I agree. Anthony Robbins certainly has his flaws, but there are some things that I've learned from his books and tapes (found at thrift stores) that have been valuable to me. Especially as it led me to seek other things that worked even better for me, such as the info from Byron Katie.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Get hub. Sometimes we remain in the same rut, because we fail to ask ourselves the right questions, that will change our direction. I have, Awaken the Giant Within! Anthony Robbins has a lot of wisdom because he never stopped seeking.