The Power of Asking (Ourselves) Questions
Gary C Smith, Director of Education and Training and Geomic Code Reader, Geomic Code Research Institute - December 26, 2020
Many of us experience networking as an external event, an activity we participate in to help us find success in our chosen career. What if I told you that it is the internal actions that most influence our ability to create success?
You would probably agree with that premise if I coupled it with this one: Our mind controls our actions. It is our mind that tells us whether the activity we’re involved in in the present moment is fun (important to us, worthwhile…) or not.
And, how do we control our mind? By the questions we ask ourselves. It is our curiosity that helps us break old habits and eliminate repetitive inner dialogue that leads to what I call “stinking thinking”.
Our schooling encourages the student in us to get the answers to our questions from outside ourselves. Yet, it is not the answers that create the successes we desire; it is our innate ability as human beings to ask questions and live (and grow) with those questions throughout the discovery process. To GET you have to ASK. To arrive at the destination (the answer), you must invest in the journey to get there.
Questioning is how we can control our mind. Listen to what three successful thinkers have told us:
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” ~ Henry Ford
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~ The Buddha
“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” ~ James Allen, English author and poet, in his book, As a Man Thinketh
The concept of controlling the mind is ancient. It is the foundation for the Socratic method, a series of questions created as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs and add to their knowledgebase. The exploration of an idea that results from asking questions builds curiosity and relieves our egos of:
- Having to be right
- Not being allowed to make a mistake
- Requiring that we already know the answers
Questions form the basis for the scientific method of research and experimentation.
Benjamin Franklin devised a list of 15 questions to guide one of the earliest groups of networkers in this country (called “the Junto”) in their brainstorming meetings. Open any meeting with these questions, and your importance to the group and your credibility will grow.
Here is a selected list of Ben’s questions for meetings of the Junto that you might find helpful for your meetings:
- Have you met with anything in (what)…you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto?
- What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation?
- Has any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, and what have you heard of the cause?
- Have you lately heard of any citizen’s thriving well, and by what means?
- Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation?
- Do you think of anything at present, in which the Junto may be serviceable to mankind…to their country, to their friends, or to themselves?
- Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?
- In what manner can the Junto…assist you in any of your honorable designs?
- Have you any weighty affair in hand in which you think the advice of the Junto may be of service?
- What benefits have you lately received from any man not present?
Of course, the language of these questions is archaic, but they do offer some prompts that, when edited for current times, can bring the group you lead to an understanding of the kinds of influence it can have in the broader community.
Now, let’s take a look at some questions you might ask yourself when setting up some personal goals in anticipation of a new endeavor (the New Year, the beginning of a school year, the start of a new job or relationship):
- Do I believe everything I tell myself?
- What do I tell myself to ALWAYS remember?
- What is important about this new adventure I am embarking on?
- What is another way of looking at this thing I want to do?
- Are my beliefs helpful or are they harmful?
- What do I want?
- What have I always wanted?
- What gets me excited?
- Who has a life I want?
- What values do I wish to manifest in my behavior?
- What makes me happy?
- Whom can I ask for help?
And for those inclined to do a self-directed performance appraisal, look to the following “S.M.A.R.T.E.R.” questions to help you: These questions can help you handle resistances – inertia, laziness, imprinted thoughts, stinking thinking, impeding beliefs, or negativity – as you set and measure your goals:
- What do I want / expect / avoid? What shape does this thing take when I envision it?
- What do I believe?
- What is important about this [goal, activity]?
- What is my purpose?
- Where do I most frequently direct my attention?
- How does this [activity, goal] feel; how do I feel about it?
- On a scale of my choosing, where does this goal I am setting rate?
- Where am I now in relationship to where I want to be?
- What do I have?
- What are my assets (financial and personal)?
- How much is enough (good enough)?
- How will I know I have (achieved) enough?
ACCOUNTABLE (ACHIEVABLE, ATTAINABLE)
- How can I make this fun?
- What can I do now?
- Who or what can help?
- What is another way to look at this [goal, activity]?
- With whom might I share this [goal, activity] to enhance my accountability for it?
- What is real?
- When (how) will I know when I am on track?
- Is this [activity, goal] an integral part of my purpose?
- Do I believe I can accomplish this?
- Is there another thing I might accomplish in place of this [activity, goal]?
- What is blocking me?
- In what timeframe can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is my timeframe?
- What other activities am I involved in that may have to be set aside to achieve this goal within this timeframe?
EFFORT / EASE
- What makes this [activity, goal] look / feel easy?
- What makes this [activity, goal] look / feel difficult?
- When does this [activity, goal] feel easy…difficult?
- Where am I stressing?
REMEMBERING MY GOALS
- How do I remember to check in on my progress?
- What stops me from remembering?
- Do I schedule time for checking in?
- Have I asked someone else to help me remember?
- Have I created a memory anchor (a physical gesture that functions as a memory prompt)?
As we look to a New Year that may well be the most important of our lives, let’s resolve to keep asking the questions that help fuel our enthusiasm for living our best lives.
We at the Geomic Code Research Institute wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year and invite you to join this conversation with your input in the box at the end of this article. Stay tuned and, in the meantime, please take a Geomic Code Assessment and let us know how we can help you take your Assessment results to the next level.