In a world preoccupied with trying to find the right answers, we might be better served by taking a step back and asking better questions. Often, the solution we seek is right in front of us—if we would just slow down long enough to recognize it.
The famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes is a master of observation. He is also master investigator, which is the byproduct of asking useful questions. Holmes famously said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
But merely asking questions is not enough. We must dig deeper and ask the questions behind the questions. Then, we must stand back and observe—as an objective third-party—and analyze the answers to those questions. Then, and only then, after developing an accurate picture of the situation can we devise the appropriate plan of attack.
That said, how are some ways we can use questions to pursue and achieve our life’s dreams and ambitions?
For example, if we wanted to grow our business, what would be some useful questions to ask that, if we knew the true answer, would dramatically improve our odds of success?
Here are a few:
Am I spending my time on those activities that will generate and increase sales?
Am I allowing myself to be distracted by non-critical activities, like mindless social media?
Am I making enough sales calls? If not, why not?
Am I connecting with enough of the right people? If not, why not?
If you wanted to improve your physical fitness, what useful questions would help you get closer to your goal?
Am I creating an environment suited to achieving my health goals?
Am I allowing social engagements to derail my healthy eating regimen?
Am I staying up too late watching TV and not getting enough sleep? If so, why?
These types of questions can be equally applied to any worthwhile pursuit, be it an art project, raising children, dealing with a break-up, writing a novel, or whatever.
Something else to consider is that most things we do, or don’t do, in life are rooted in motivation. It rarely takes a lot of convincing to get us to do things we actually want to do. We just do them. So when you find yourself not doing something you say you want to, run an internal audit and observe what is going on inside.
And then ask more questions. Go deeper. Observe, investigate, analyze. Become your own Sherlock Holmes; eliminate the impossible and reveal the real truth.
Then form your plan and move forward.