Last Updated Jul 22, 2011 4:09 PM EDT
I'm a big proponent of asking solution-focused questions. Solution-focused questions focus on a better future as opposed to problem-focused solutions that focus on a troubled past. Can't get a callback for a job interview? The problem-focused person will dwell on what's wrong with him and ask himself why he seems to never get an interview. The solution-focused applicant focuses on what has worked, their strengths, and what might work in the future.
The questions you ask define your reality. They can help you live your best life or they can distract you (at best) or even derail you. It's time you start thinking like a lawyer. A good trial lawyer uses questions to construct a reality that builds their case and best supports their client. It's time that you become a better advocate for yourself by asking better questions.
Think of the questions you ask as a beacon of light. The focus of your question becomes the focus of your attention. No matter what questions you are asking, you are always defining what is important and what is worth your attention. If you get in the habit of asking problem-focused questions, your energy will be spent on your problems and not necessarily on the solutions.
One of the very best questions I've ever come across is called the Miracle Question. The Miracle Question is a popular question in Solution-Focused Therapy -- a type of therapy that focuses less on problems and the past and more on solutions and the future. The genius behind this question is that it forces you to stop thinking about why you can't achieve something and allows you to imagine how your life could be if something miraculous occurred.
The Miracle Question
Suppose that tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens and all of your problems are solved. But since you were asleep when the miracle occurred, night, you aren't aware that it even happens. When you wake tomorrow morning, how are you going to discover evidence of that miracle? What will you see yourself doing, thinking, or believing about yourself that will tell you a miracle has happened in your life or business?
Dr. Linda Metcalf wrote the fantastic book, The Miracle Question: Answer it and Change Your Life. In it, she wrote that your answer to the Miracle Question "reflects the possibility that something very important is and has been missing from your life. It could be something you've never experienced yet feel you deserve, or something that you've lost and miss terribly."
Now it's your turn. Can you answer the miracle question? Most people can quickly and easily rattle off dozens of problems in their life, but struggle when it comes to answering the miracle question. Why? It doesn't take much insight to find problems, but it takes a lot of introspection to find solutions. When you shift from hating this and that about life and instead dream about what positive changes you want to make, you are focusing on solutions. If you're feeling brave, feel free to answer the Miracle Question in the comments section.
To help you get started asking better questions, I've created the "Richer Life Question of the Week!" I hope these Saturday morning questions will allow you to reflect on where you've been and where you're headed, and I hope they provide you with insight to help you create a more powerful, fuller, richer life. I've already found that the real fruit of this exercise is publicly answering each question and reading the community's responses.
The better your questions, the better your life...
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