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5 Questions You Should Avoid

5 Questions You Should Avoid

There are certain questions that will never have the answer you want or need. However, those are the questions that are possibly more likely to pop into our minds when we least expect it or when we’re having a difficult time. So, maybe rephrasing them could help? Stephen Guise of Dumb Little Man shares how you can do that:

Life causes us to question ourselves, but not all thoughts that come to mind are beneficial for us. In fact, many can be harmful and misleading.

Here are five of those undesirable questions that if you find yourself asking, you’d be wise to rephrase or reroute them. Subtle differences in phrasing can make a big impact in your mind.

1. Why Am I Here?

Whether you got to this moment by a failed marriage, back surgery, a lottery ticket, or by bus, it doesn’t matter for purposes moving forward. If you don’t like your situation, the only way out is found in solutions for the present moment, and “why am I here?” moves your mindset backwards, away from solutions.

There’s a better question that puts your focus in the present moment.

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Better Question: Where do I go from here?

Quote: “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

2. Why Me?

This question sums up the victim’s mindset. The main reason you don’t want to be a victim is because victims only have things happen TO them. They can’t take charge and control the situation, because their focus is not on what they can do, but on what happens to them. Would the opposite of this question give the opposite mindset of a victim? Yes, ask yourself the opposite…

Better Question: Why not me? (This is the possibility question!)

Quote: “To the dumb question, ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, ‘Why not?’” – Christopher Hitchens

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3. How Do I Lose Weight?

It doesn’t look bad, but it is secretly horrible. Asking this question frames the problem (being overweight) for a temporary solution. Unless you’re trying to make weight for your wrestling match, I doubt you want to lose weight and put it back on a month later. To explain why, here is the better question to tackle weight loss.

Better Question: Who do I need to be to weigh less?

This alternative question has an identity shift built into it as part of the solution, and these are the solutions that stick. Weight, after baseline genetic attributes, is a result of lifestyle, which stems from your identity. If you try to change with forced mechanical actions – like the answers to the question “how do I lose weight?” will lead you to do (exercise, eat vegetables, control portion size, etc) – your willpower will run out eventually.

“Who do I need to be?” changes the goal to an internal shift of values and habits that will automagically take you to a lower weight. It’s sustainable because you’ll have changed at the core level instead of forcing yourself to live against your established nature. To start the process of changing your identity, compare the benefits of a new identity to your current one. How would it be better? How would it be worse? Which do you like better overall?

“How do I lose weight?” makes you want the results, and “who do I need to be…” makes you want the change. When you want the change, you’ll get the results. When you only want the results, you’ll often end up with nothing.

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Quote: “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.” – David Viscott

 4. Why Won’t Anyone Talk To Me?

Why won’t you talk to anyone else? If you want to talk to someone, it isn’t their responsibility to talk to you, but yours to talk to them. Every single conversation you have is either initiated by you or by someone else. If you never initiate conversation, it gives people the impression that you don’t want conversation.

A better, more productive question to ask yourself when you’re lonely is…

Better Question: Why don’t I go introduce myself to that person?

Quote: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats

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Bonus Quote: “Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

5. When Will I Finally Succeed?

To ask this question shows that you’re after the end result without caring about how you arrive at it. The “overnight success stories” you hear about are preceded by years of progress that you don’t hear about. Focus on becoming the type of person who would succeed. Focus on progress and you should find success eventually. But instead of thinking about success, here’s a better question…

Better Question: What small steps could I take today to move forward?

Quote: “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon

Stephen Guise: besides writing for his own blogs Stephen is a featured writer here at Dumb Little Man. Be sure to stop by Stephen’s ‘featured writer page’ right here on Dumb Little Man to find links to more of his articles.

5 Questions To NEVER Ask Yourself | Dumb Little Man

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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