You and I – all people – are curious by nature. It’s our goal in life to understand, to make meaning of our life and of our world. We are born to ask questions. In the beginning it’s critical. The questions we ask help us learn. Think back to when you were a child. Or if you have young children, it’s probably easy to think about a question they recently asked you. Children ask questions incessantly. Why is the sky blue? Why are you putting that there? What are you doing? How come? Children around 4 years old ask upwards of 400 questions a day. By age 6 that number diminishes by half and even less by age 10. You ask questions too but as an adult, your questioning has likely diminished. And questions are important because asking questions that make you think in new ways and consider new things will improve your life.
Asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life
As an adult your questioning has likely become much more internal. And it diminishes because most of us stop learning as rapidly as we did as a kid. We ask less questions out loud because we want to seem superior or like we “have it all together”. Asking questions in the workplace, for instance, may cast you as uninformed or unintelligent. Too many “whys” and you are liable to really piss someone off.
It happens at a young age, that we’re conditioned to stop asking questions and just follow the rules. Our institution teach our children, our employees, our co-workers, to do what is asked. Questioning is a skill. And without nurturing it becomes like a lost art. Your brain shuts down on it’s curiosity levels. But questions are critical. Asking questions helps you figure out what matters. It can help you see where the opportunity lies and to clearly define it. It can help you be resourceful. It helps you see new actions to take. Asking the right question – those questions that make you think in new ways – internally or to someone else can be a game-changer.
Nurturing your curiosity is critical
Being curious is an active state. If I told you to take on being curious today, you’d like know how to do that. Naturally, you’d start examining your world. Asking more questions. Maybe questions that make you think in new ways. Curiosity is a state to hone. It has you stop doing on autopilot. Start asking “why am I doing this?“. Start asking “is the the smartest way to do this?”. Or, you could ask “Is this serving me?”. When you’re inquisitive it serves you as you start to truly become the creator of your life instead of going through the motions.
You are naturally curious you are likely to wonder and examine how things were created, processed, developed and more. But you have to tune in, to use your innate skill daily so you hone it versus lose it.
Curiosity allows you to be constantly surprised. Imagine if you looked at each day with new eyes as if it had something positive to teach you at every moment. Perhaps, the world could be a pretty incredible place if you looked at it from a place of awe and wonder. Each person you interact with, every situation you are in could present an opportunity to learn something new, or experience something entirely different. Most people repeat each day the same way over and over. Do you tend to get up and think the same thoughts? Do you engage in the same morning routine? Do you take the same route to the same job? Do you interact with the same people who say the same things?
All people are habitual creatures which can be a really great thing until it’s not. When we get into a routine of sameness we stop seeing the newness that exists. We stop using the art of curiosity. The what ifs, the why, the maybes and the hows. Don’t do the same things over and over. It’s insanity. Try new things. Drive a forklift. Make a pallet into a shelf. Eat a new tropical fruit. Paint your walls a new color. Go to new places. You get the idea.
How to ask more powerful questions
Take this on this week: Practice asking questions. Practice using your curiosity skills. Bring curiosity to your life. See how asking questions that make you think in new ways will start to change the quality of your life. Repetition is the mother of all skill so the only necessary part of this is to start and to become aware of your current abilities.To start, you may notice you ask yourself some questions but they tend to be in your head. Or that they may be still somewhat unconscious but they are there. What you may notice is you may ask things like:
Why do I have to do this?
How long is this going to take?
Why do I have to be here?
Why is there so much traffic?
Why is this so hard?
Do these sound familiar? Consider what kind of response you would give yourself to those questions? Do you think it would help you to be more or less successful?
Questions are incredibly powerful as they have the ability to directly determine your life experience. When you ask yourself a question from the above list will likely keep you stuck or limit your ability to come up with a better experience. The questions above are disempowering. They would not improve the quality of your life. You want to ask questions that make you think in different and new ways.
So ask yourselves empowering questions. This is where you will achieve the greatest shift in your current life experience. That may sound like a great story but by asking yourself empowering questions you will reshape your mind your daily actions and interactions. So how the heck do you get started? Get curious!
For example before you go to bed you may ask yourself how can I make this the most incredible day tomorrow? You may hear yourself answer, “I can’t it will suck“. If that is the case try again. Perhaps you might ask: If I were to make it the most incredible day what would I need to do? You may begin to write a list of those things you need to do. You may find your mind wanting to come up with reasons why you can’t do those things. Therefore the next great and powerful question could be: Who do I need to be to get those things done?
Most people ask themselves one question, come up short with the answer and become defeated. Questions are limitless, which means the possibilities we can create for ourselves are also limitless. Which means the life we can experience can also be limitless. What if that were true? What if literally anything was possible? Consider the possibilities of your life through a great question and you might begin to create a great new story, to move your life in ways you never thought were possible before.