Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ask a better question

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There's a saying that goes, "If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done." So the question then becomes, how do we know what the right thing is if we've never done it before?

You can choose to blindly attempt achieving your goals with little to no thought. After all, even a broken clock is spot on twice each day. Through repeated efforts, full of frustration, you'll hopefully make progress and learn from your mistakes. Like a spastic squirrel in a puddle, you'll eventually make it to the other side, but perhaps there's a better way.

By asking a better question, we'll increase the likelihood that we'll get a better answer. This isn't just thinking outside of the box -- this is ignoring the idea that the box even exists. By asking a better question, you open your mind to new possibilities, allowing for a much needed paradigm shift.

How do you ask a better question? (That's a good start, by the way).

Scientists currently believe we have two modes of thinking: focused and diffused.

Think of focused like an inch wide and a mile deep. It's the pinpoint feeling when we're really paying attention. We use a focused state when we're studying, watching something intently, or reading the ingredients on a package.

Diffused mode, on the other hand, is more like a mile wide and an inch deep. Think of it as a creative mode. When we're trying to brainstorm, ideally we're using our diffused mode.

Let's look at a common example I hear as a trainer, "Can I do cardio or lift weights?" Change that "or" to "and" you'll experience a shift in your mindset. But it can be much more profound.

We are creatures of comfort and we want things to happen as fast as possible. I fully believe this is why we ask, "How can I lose the X pounds in Y weeks?" When a much more effective question to begin with is, "What changes do I need to make to improve my quality of life?" This will, as a byproduct, lead to the weight loss we so desire.

Let's take it out of the health and fitness realm.

Most people want to be happy, right? But maybe asking how we can become happy is the wrong question. Eating a bowl of ice cream or a piece of candy will make you happy. Temporarily. But then what?

Why not ask what you can do to become excited? To feel fulfilled? To help someone else have a great day? These are all questions that potentially offer longer-lasting happiness as the co-pilot to the answer.

On a philanthropic note, I overhear people lamenting about how violent the world has become. I see posts on social media saying we're all going downhill. Listen, if your house catches on fire, I hope your first instinct is not to stand on the curb yelling, "Well, THAT'S just GREAT! Everybody! My house is on fire and I don't like it!!"

What if, instead of standing back and complaining, we ask ourselves, "What can I do to make the world a better place?" After all, shouldn't that be the end goal for every person that has ever breathed a breath?

This will happen in steps. First, you have to become aware of any potentially poor questions you repeatedly ask. Then you have to shine your spotlight elsewhere to shift your focus and recognize a better option. This may take some time and effort, but with practice new questions will replace the old as your mindset changes.

Over time you'll gain a better understanding for asking better questions. You'll receive better opportunities and answers as a result, which will lead to a better life. Give it a try, you just might surprise yourself, and the rest of the world, with the impact you make.

If you'd like to read more about asking better questions and creating better problems for yourself, visit and click the blog, "Find a better problem." Shifting your state of mind is a powerful way to improve the standard of living, happiness, and quality of life for yourself, your loved ones, and with enough time, quite possibly the world as a whole.

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Get Fresh with Andy Frisch
Andy Frisch, column, fitness, Get Fresh, goals, health, nutrition, personal trainer, wellness
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