From the monthly archives:

June 2009

Asking the Wrong Question

by Haider on June 2, 2009 · 15 comments

in Personal Growth

There is a question that seems to make a constant appearance in our minds. It accompanies us everywhere we go and joins us in every task we carry out.

But it’s the wrong question to befriend.

Although it seems like a very reasonable question, and one that’s very popular in the field of personal growth, neither asking the question nor finding an answer for it is ever reasonable.

This question distracts us from the question we should be asking and befriending.

As soon as you abandon the wrong question and embrace the right question, you’ll realize that many of the obstacles you’ve been facing in life have nothing to do with the challenges that life throws in your direction, but the way you approach them and the question that you use to face these challenges.

“But there are no wrong questions!”

That’s wrong! Very wrong!

Of course there are wrong questions!

I don’t know who came up with this whole “there’s no right or wrong” nonsense, but you’re undermining your personal growth if you think that all questions will help you grow.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Look at the consequences of the questions you ask yourself and decide which questions you should be asking yourself and which ones you should ignore.

The Wrong Question

You might be shocked to find out what the wrong question is, but give yourself a minute to digest why it’s wrong before you think what I’m saying is wrong ;)

The wrong question to ask yourself is: “Can I do it?”

This question comes up in a variety of ways, but all with the same intention: to question yourself and your abilities.

“Can I do it?”

“Can I handle it?”

“Can I be happy?”

“Can I succeed?”

The list of possible ways to ask yourself this question is endless. For every situation you face or emotion you experience, there is a version of that question especially designed to fit that situation and screw everything up in the process.

Answering the Wrong Question

It’s important to bear in mind that wrong questions shouldn’t be answered. They should be ignored.

Sadly, many personal growth “experts” get you to invest your time, energy and money in answering the wrong question.

Instead of telling you what the right question is, they try to inject you with shots of motivation and try to boost your self-esteem:

“You can do it!”

“Believe in yourself!”

“Everything is possible!”

This usually doesn’t help (and not for long, anyways). By accepting the wrong question as though it was valid (and needs answering!), they are reinforcing the negative effects of the wrong question.

Instead of giving the wrong question the attention it seeks, you should direct your attention to finding answers to the right question.

The Right Question

Although the right question looks very similar to the wrong question, their consequences are worlds apart.

The right question is: HOW can I do it?”

Now THAT’S a question you can proudly befriend!

Right and Wrong

The labels “right” and “wrong” belong to a very sensitive subject: judgment.

Some people shudder at the thought of being judged or even judging others. And while I’ve been juggling these two labels quite liberally in this article, I don’t intend on casting a judgment on my readers. In fact, I aim for the opposite: you shouldn’t be judging yourself.

And this is what’s at the heart of the difference between the two questions.

The wrong question leads you to question yourself and to put labels on your character, while distracting you from the issues you should be dealing with and the challenges you are facing.

It necessitates a judgment.

Can I do it?

No I can’t, because I’m ignorant, I’m incompetent, I’m shy, I’m depressed, I’m angry, I’m lonely, etc.

Even if the answer to the question is a resounding: “Yes I can!”

It’s based on a judgment.

Because I know how to, I’m confident, I’m excited, I’m intelligent, I’m charismatic, etc.

What happens when you face your next hurdle? You ask yourself the same question again. And again. And again.

But with time and a series of challenges, you may begin to doubt yourself, especially when confronted with new challenges you can’t rely on past experience to confirm whether you truly can handle or not.

The right question doesn’t come with this problem. It’s not intended to be a means to judge yourself and what you can do. It forces you to look at the problems you face and seek solutions for them. Without questioning your abilities or doubting yourself.

If your approach doesn’t work the first time, the same question will pop up again (though slightly modified): How [else] can I do it?

By asking the right question you don’t end up worrying so much about your own strengths and weaknesses. Instead, you will put your strengths into use and look for ways to overcome your weaknesses. Without judgment. Without blame. Without doubt.

Facing Life with the Right Question

You can only effectively deal with life’s challenges by focusing on how they should be dealt with and not on whether you can deal with them or not.

Most problems we face in life are a result of asking the wrong question. Don’t amplify its impact by searching for an answer. Instead, ask yourself the right question in order to develop the right focus in life.

Decide today to commit yourself to asking the right question, and you will realize the enormous impact it has on your life!

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