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Do you ever feel like you have more questions than answers?
Do you feel like you have a clear direction in your life? You know where you are going and why you are going there?
The world is always filled with chaos and uncertainty. But the world is always filled with hope and opportunity as well.
What matters is what you focus on and the actions you take.
“...the difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. It’s that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances ... by things that happen to them ... by exterior forces.” – Earl Nightingale
In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale said, “To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
How does this work?
Let’s first ask, how do you evaluate your life, your feelings, things that are happening around you, and the decisions you make? It’s all done through a process of asking yourself and answering questions.
“Things won’t get better unless you think better”
If thinking is the process of asking and answering questions, that means, if you want to make any changes in your life, you should change the habitual questions that you are asking yourself. The questions you ask yourself dictate your focus and therefore how you think and feel.
This is where your Reticular Activating System (RAS) comes into play. The RAS is a network of nerves at the base of your brain that’s about the size of your baby finger. The significance of the RAS is the function it controls. It makes sure that your brain doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle. It’s the filter, or gatekeeper of information that it lets in. It takes all of the information you are receiving and decides for you if it’s something that’s important or not.
Have you bought a new dress and then all of a sudden noticed many other people wearing the same dress? Is it just coincidence that you bought this new dress and so did a bunch of other women in your area? No, those dresses were there before, they’ve just become something that is important to you now. Your RAS now recognizes this as something that’s important to you and brings it to your attention.
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” - Oprah Winfrey
When you change the habitual questions that you are always asking yourself, your RAS recognizes those questions as something important to you and will find your answers. When a study was conducted on successful people and they were compared to people who had less success, it was found that the biggest difference was that successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
This is not just powerful when we are looking at our future or setting goals, this is powerful knowledge that helps us in many areas of our lives. We recognize that questions are the quickest way to change our focus.
Let’s take for example a person who is always asking themselves disempowering questions. “What’s the use?” “Why even try? Nothing ever works for me anyway.”
How different would things be if that person consciously changed the questions they were asking. “How will this benefit me?” “What could be good about this?”
If you can develop the habit of recognizing the questions you are asking yourself, when you ask yourself disempowering questions you will recognize it and can make the change immediately.