A Questionable Business
First published in WNC Woman Magazine Business Issue
Have you ever noticed how asking a question moves you forward, toward more questions, more depth, and a wider range of possibilities? Having an answer, on the other hand, narrows your options because of the way your mind works. Once you have an answer your mind pays attention to the things that reinforce the answer and keeps from consciousness other options that might be great for you but don’t fit into the spectrum of the answer.
Exploring life and learning via questions is how Socrates taught. Law and philosophy programs still use this method to help students dig into their own creativity, unearth new ways of thinking, and deepen learning. With questions proven to be so effective, why are we taught to set fixed goals, walk unwavering paths, and hold a worldview with unquestioned certainty? (Note, don’t answer that, just keep asking questions that arise from that question and see where it leads you. It can be fun, really.)
I love questions and the possibilities they open up—in life and with my business.
For as long as I can remember, questions have driven me—pondering things like, why are customs so different from culture to culture? Why are things that are okay in one place taboo in others? Who made up the rules? What rules do I adhere to that wouldn’t be rules somewhere else? What if there are no real rules? If there were no rules, how would I live my life? See how fun and freeing that can be?
I used questions to find the avenue of hypnosis as a business, to ease into the specialties of helping people access their inner wisdom, create flow in their lives, expand into their limitless, most amazing selves, and use questions of their own to explore their lives in new ways.
Because your mind searches out information and experiences in response to your questions, it’s wise to ask questions that expand you rather than ones that make you want to curl up and hide from the world, like—How come I never have any money? Why does everyone else have a better life than me? How come life never goes my way? Why am I so miserable? See how getting a stream of reinforcement of those kinds of questions can grind you into the ground?
How can asking expanding, empowering questions rock your world? I’m glad you asked! I recently came across a book by Noah St. John called The Secret Code of Success that tweaked my experience with questions and showed me how to make them even more powerful. Instead of asking, for example, “How can I find the right job for me?” (which is a perfectly good question to lead you toward the expansion of an interesting job), you could ask, “How was it so easy to find a fun, challenging, well-paying job?” See the difference?
The first question opens you up to a future that you desire; the second is phrased to assume that the desired future has already occurred. It may seem a simple, and sort of silly difference, but the power of questions comes in how your mind reacts. With the first question your mind is partly focused on the fact that you do not yet have a satisfying job, and as much as it may help you search out opportunity, the lack of a currently satisfying job is reinforced each time you ask the question. With the second question, your mind is focused on the fact that you have a fun, challenging, and well-paying job, and how did that happen again? Your mind then searches out the job opportunity, but does it from an assumption that you already have it, so that there is no lack, no struggle, just the right job—and how did that come about so easily again?
The subconscious mind, the part of your mind that searches tirelessly to bring to you what you tell it you want (with your emotions, thoughts, moods, words, actions, and, yes, questions) has no sense of past, present or future, so when you ask a question assuming your desired future is already occurring, it goes right along and works even harder to rush you the scenario you have set up.
It also doesn’t know imagination from reality. When you ask, “How was it so easy to find a fun, challenging, well-paying job?”, and you add the feeling of emotional satisfaction at having a fun, profitable, challenging job, the fact that you have a job is accepted by the subconscious mind, even if you are not yet showing up for it each day. It will work overtime to get you the job you have been searching for.
You can create empowering, expanding questions about anything you like. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your question-asking power:
1) Ask as if the outcome you want is already in effect. Instead of asking, “How do I…” or “How can I”, try, “How have I…”, “How was it so easy to…”, or “How did I…” One of my daily questions is, “How did today turn out way better than I ever could have imagined?”
2) Add the emotion that you would have if the outcome you want is already true. Feel the satisfaction of a good day, a great job, a fabulous soul mate, or a relaxed fit in your skinny jeans. Focus on the feeling you want in the new situation rather than the details of how you want it to look or be. Details slow the process down; when you feel as if you already have what you want, that feeling acts like a powerful magnet and unleashes your hidden creative power.
3) Act on your new assumptions about life. Your subconscious will bring you opportunities to choose between the situation you are currently in and the situation that you want to bring in. The more you act in a way that reinforces what you want, the harder the subconscious mind will work to bring it to you.
4) Ask a lot. The more you ask, the more you reinforce to your subconscious mind what you would like it to bring you, and the faster it can come. Choose a couple of broad questions to play with for a few weeks and see what happens. You can use the question in step 1, and I’ll give you another of my favorites: “How did my life get to be so fun, fulfilling, and financially abundant?” Now, be adventurous, and ask a few of your own…
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Pushing the edges of my consciousness has been my passion for as long as I can remember. This has flowed me into writing, podcasting, and becoming a hypnotherapist to help others push past limiting perceptions and expand their awareness and possibilities, too. Welcome to my world. Thanks for visiting!