Have you ever had a problem that you can’t move forward on? Sometimes it’s a big problem and sometimes it’s small, but what you may not realise is that it might not be the problem that is the real problem! In this article I want to share some useful questions that can powerfully alter your feelings about a problem you may be experiencing and help you think constructively about how to resolve it.
Our ability to produce intelligent solutions to complex problems is a direct result of our ability to ask useful questions about that problem. So it is not necessarily thinking that we need to be good at - although this helps too - but asking smart questions.
If you have a problem that simply won’t go away, whether it is health, relationship or work related, it may not be the problem that is the real problem, but the type of questions you are asking yourself about it and the people involved. Are you paying attention to the kind of questions you are asking about the problem? It is useful to set aside 10 to 15 minutes for this. You can run any subject through these questions: career, relationship, weight loss or a conflict. The idea is to answer both sets of questions and compare the notes afterwards to see for yourself what an effect it can have . It’s really interesting what comes up!
The first set of questions are the types that we often unconsciously ask ourselves - we do it by habit, and in our everyday moans. These questions are unhelpful because they do not point our focus in the direction of our resources and abilities to solve the problem we are faced with.
The second set of questions direct our focus to our innate resources and ability to solve complex problems. For the purpose of the exercise, and for comparison, it is useful if you run the same problem through both sets of questions. But don’t get stuck!
1. Questions that keep us stuck:
“How does it make you feel?”
"Why do you have this problem?"
"How long have you had it?"
"Whose fault is it?"
The second set constructively direct our focus towards the solutions. The information that these set of questions dig up contain the solution to the actual problem. Try it for yourself and see.
2. Solution Focused Questions:
"What do you want, specifically, (instead of the problem)?"
“What will you see when you have what you want?”
“How will it feel, exactly, to have what you want?”
"How will you know, specifically, that you have it?"
"In what ways will your life improve?"
"What small thing could you do today to bring you closer or to improve the situation?"
Project yourself to the time in the future when you have successfully resolved the issue – knowing what you now know – turn and look back and notice at least five of the steps that you took, or five things you did (or stopped doing) to have this issue resolved.
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