A lot has been said about the importance of asking the right questions. What is the one question you could start from today? And also – why does it matter?
The company I am working at has recently created a lot of content about how business leaders should ask themselves important questions. The idea they were focusing on is that you need to have the people around you with expert knowledge that you can trust – i.e., them. But obviously, it doesn’t only apply to the business setting.
Questioning what you think and do has long been discussed, for example, in regards to mindfulness and meditation practice – where when a thought arises, you’re supposed to observe it and be curious about it. “Why do I think that?” or “Where has this thought from?”
Wouldn’t it be good to then take this kind of curiosity and self-reflection, and then apply in everyday situations? Instead of doing something automatically, we can stay fully present and start questioning our thoughts when we get angry, sad, annoyed, uncomfortable at something. We can ask: Why do I want this thing and not something else?
There are many right questions to ask ourselves starting with “What” and “How”, etc.
What do I want out of life in the long run?
How can I make my experience here on Earth unique and impactful?
What do I feel passionate about?
What makes me feel fulfilled?
Unless we ask those questions, we won’t have a direction in life to guide us. We get up every day – sleepy. Drink coffee to wake up. Spend most of the waking hours working to get a paycheck sometime in the future. Eat. Watch Netflix. Sleep. Repeat.
If we pause to ask difficult, meaningful questions and start to think about the meaning behind it all, there’s a possibility that we discover that we need to change something. Of course, there’s a chance that you’ll think that everything is perfect and you love the way things are – but why not try it and see what happens?
I believe that the most crucial question is not “What” or “How”, but “Why”. “Why” is very uncomfortable, reaching deep to the pain point.
When you feel a negative emotion towards something, like a particular group of people or a certain idea, it’s good if you’re able to ask yourself:
Why do I feel this way? Why is it making me SO uncomfortable?
Why am I working so hard and trying to impress everybody?
Why is it so difficult to leave or stop chasing a guy who’s not treating me right?
Why do I want to buy this thing?
We often want to do something because it’s a trend, because everyone is doing it ad it seems that it will make you happy. For example: maximizing pleasure and experiences, “having fun”, drinking, shopping. (Now it sounds as if I’m allergic to fun or something. No. I just don’t want to follow the crowd, and I want to decide for myself what I should do and what is fun for me – not in ways that society told me to behave.)
When we try to look at what we want or do and question our reason for those, we may find that we don’t have a good reason after all. Impressing others is not a good reason. Making others feel jealous is not a good reason. Getting a fleeting joy is not a good reason – the moment passes, and we are left with the status quo; and then what? Chase the momentary pleasure again? Once we realize why we’re doing something, we might see that our actions are not going to bring us happiness or get us closer to our goals, they’re an obstacle.
It’s essential to find out the “what” – what is your purpose on Earth, what are your dreams.
“How” seems important, too. “How” to achieve my goals, “How” to lose weight.
Even though “how” seems like a hard one to answer, “why” might be the most inconvenient, unpleasant to answer. What requires discovery and thinking from you, but by asking “why” you can eliminate the “what’s” that you don’t genuinely want. Once you find your “why”, the “how” will follow.
Start asking your actions and thoughts today – by simply adding “why”. Give yourself some time to reflect on what’s happening in the present moment. By paying more attention and being more curious, we can start living more intentionally – moment by moment.