Back in grad school, I was accused of being “hung up on semantics.” Ironically, this was on a team project and we were trying to discern the parameters of the project and all we had to go on at this point were the WORDS written by our professor. So, guilty as charged.
It’s amazing how the way we ask ourselves questions can change the answer and the outcome.
In fact, one of the truisms that you frequently hear is that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions that you ask yourself.
Here is a very simple – yet powerful –example.
3 years ago, Rick and I were cross-country skiing at a new Nordic area. We came across this run, Biathlon, and we started following it back to the Nordic Center. We were getting cold and tired.
Then, we got to the top of what looked to be a cliff to me. Rick zipped right over it. I didn’t. I stood there – frozen in fear. I yelled down to him that I was going to back track and find a different way to the Nordic center. I turned and skied 20 yards in the other direction and then I stopped, turned and thought: “No. I’m going down this thing.” And surprisingly enough, I made it.
Later that night, we were sitting in the hot tub and I was proud of myself for facing what looked like certain death.
I remember Rick asked me, “What made you hesitate to ski down it?”
I replied, “I saw it and I asked myself, “Can you ski down this? And I thought the answer was no.”
He paused and then said, “You know, that’s the wrong question to ask yourself. A better question is “HOW can I ski down it? Or “what do I need to do to ski down it safely?” When you ask it in those ways, you bring to mind all the different techniques that you’ve learned that you can apply in that moment.”
Tune into this episode to hear some of my favorite questions to ask myself and my clients.
Mentioned in the Episode
Choosing Optimism Will Change Your Life: bobbikahler.com/podcast/episode093/