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7 Questions You Should Never Ask Yourself And What You Should Ask Instead To Be Successful In Life

7 Questions You Should Never Ask Yourself And What You Should Ask Instead To Be Successful In Life

In our moments of weakness, we’ve all felt the effects of questioning our capabilities. We’ve questioned whether we have what it takes, questioned whether or not we are fully committed, and questioned whether we were cut out to handle things others seem to do so easily. Worst of all, we’ve even questioned whether we’ll ever be successful in life.

The truth? We do have what it takes. We can be committed, and WE ARE cut out to handle things, just like everybody else. We just need to ask ourselves the right questions–the kind that puts our focus in the right places and reminds us that we are capable.

So let’s stop using the following seven questions, and let’s replace them with good ones, shall we?

1. How can I get others to like me?

Most of us have asked this question since elementary school, so it’s no wonder that some of us still think this way.

Here’s the thing with this question, it’s okay to do things slightly differently if it means smoother interactions with others. But as soon as you start adopting interests, changing the way you dress, or changing your values, it’s a problem.

All of us want success, but it has to be personal, and it has to be our own version of success. So stop pretending and just be yourself when meeting others. Does it really count if you act like different person? You can’t really say it’s you, can you? That’d just be fraudulent.

You need to switch gears. You need to attract others who like you for you are.

Better question–Where and how can I improve my interests?

This question is great on two levels.

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  1. It’s good for self-development purposes
  2. It surrounds you with like-minded people, which is a perfect setting for building friendships

Focusing on getting people to like you is a bad strategy, but attracting others while you do something you love is smart; hobby clubs, mastermind groups, dog parks, and anywhere people meet up are great for this.

It moves you away from the “I need to impress others somehow” mentality to the “I love what I’m doing and if others are interested they can join in” one. That is the mindset of someone who wants to be successful in life.

2. What if I look stupid, what will others think of me then?

As understandable as this question is, it’s only purpose is to hold you back. You will never amount to anything if you ask yourself this kind of question.

Let’s say you’re starting a blog. You say it’s a longterm project and that it has potential to make some money. You tell your friends and they’re like “A blog? Blogs don’t make money! Who told you that silly thing?” A statement like that is pretty discouraging, right? It makes you feel insecure and even a little stupid for considering it.

But think about this: what if they said that your clothes are stupid? Should you buy a new wardrobe? Perhaps they said your family is weird; should you avoid them? No! Of course not. This is how you should treat others when it comes to any goals you want to pursue as well.

Trust me, over time you’ll develop a thick skin and be able to ignore what others think of you, and it all starts with asking the right question.

Better question–Will I regret not doing this in the future?

You want to know what people really regret in life? It’s not getting drunk and vomiting all over the place (embarrassing, yes, but not regretful), and it’s not picking your nose without realizing people are watching.

It’s not telling that girl you like her. It’s not starting up that business idea you had when you were younger. It’s not pursuing your dream job and only focusing on the “safe” career path instead. These are the things you’ll look back on when you’re on your deathbed and cause a deep, intense feeling of regret.

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You’ll regret how stupid it was of you to avoid “looking stupid.” I can actually answer that “Better Question” for you–yes, if you have to ask then you WILL regret not doing it now, so get to it!

3. What if it’s too hard and I fail?

There’s no getting around this possibility. You might fail. You might fall down head first and feel really dumb afterwards.

But does that make you a “failure?” Does messing up on the way to your goal make you a legit failure? What about messing up 10 times? 100 times? That’d definitely make you a failure, right?

If so, then let me introduce you to some “failures.” Thomas Edison, the man who created the light bulb, failed over a thousand times before having any success. Colonel Sander’s also failed over a thousand times before finding a buyer for his fried chicken recipe.

Both failed over a thousand times, yet they aren’t failures, are they? They were actually very successful in life.

Better Question–What does failure mean REALLY? Is it so bad?

Failure isn’t really failure unless you’ve given up. In fact, you should expect to mess up when pursuing goals. If you haven’t messed up then you probably haven’t really done anything yet. Here’s what the path of success looks like:

  • Idea
  • Progress
  • Progress
  • Mistake
  • Reassess
  • Progress
  • Progress
  • Mistake
  • Reassess…

And so on. Mistakes allow refinement, they sharpen your approach and improve you. These kinds of lessons really stick with you since nobody likes to make mistakes, so learn to embrace your failures and let them guide you.

4. When will I succeed? When will I be successful in life?

We all have goals, things we want to accomplish. And naturally, we all want to have those things now. Lose 20 pounds, start a business, learn to play guitar–there’s lots of things we want done.

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But sometimes we focus too much on the end result. This may lead to fantasizing, giving us a false sense of satisfaction. It could also cause us to shrink away from the challenge of it, knowing it could be long and tough to do.

Either way, you get bad outcomes.

Better question–What small thing can I do today to move forward?

This question puts you in the right frame of mind. Focusing on the steps that make your goals reality is the framework for success. Your goals will have their day, but it’s what you do today that determines what day that is.

So, what can you do today? What can you do right now? Are you writing a novel? Write down one sentence. Yup, a single sentence counts if done daily. Want to get in shape? Do a single pushup. It’s all about consistency, and small tasks are the kings of consistency.

5. What if I can’t meet everybody’s expectations?

Here’s the thing, everybody has different expectations about you. No matter what you do, you’ll never satisfy everyone. So what’s the point in even thinking about this? It’s an impossible question to answer.

Better question–What behaviors should I expect from myself?

The only person you should expect anything from is yourself. Your expectations are the only ones that matter. After all, you know better than others what kind of person you want to be. Do you expect patience? Commitment? Friendliness? What? You have to choose what you expect from yourself–that’s the only way it’ll truly matter.

6. Who and what kind of person am I?

This is the kind of question you should avoid. Why? It opens the door for others to tell you what kind of person you are. Eventually you’ll just become a conglomerate of other peoples perceptions.

Better question–Who do I choose to be?

Now this is good question. It puts the power in your hands, reminding you that your actions determine who you are, not what others say. Do you want to be happy? Then do things that make you happy. Do you want to be a person who values fitness? Go exercise.

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It’s really as simple as that. Choose who want to be and perform the actions associated with that identity. Writers write, jogger jog, and you are who you choose to be.

7. Why me? Why am I in this situation?

Why oh why, indeed. Listen, it sucks that you’re in some kind of “situation.” But at some point, we all are. We all experience awful things, but we don’t have to remain a victim to our circumstances.

There is something you can do about it. I don’t know what, but the opportunity is there for you, and you won’t see it if you aren’t asking the right questions.

Better question–What actions will get me out of here?

This question exudes confidence and perseverance. It’s the kind of question that reminds us that we are in control, not circumstance. Maybe you can’t do something big, but you can (and will) do something small, even it’ll take some time.

You’re always in control of something, you just need to grasp at it to be successful in life.

Over to You

What are your personal experiences with these questions? Were you able to overcome them? How so?

Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your real life experiences on the subject.

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Ericson Ay Mires

Ericson is a writer who shares about work and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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