So Many Questions!

Some men see things as they are, and say "Why?" I dream of things that never were, and say, "Why not?"

         George Bernard Shaw


Most of us, when we see someone of extraordinary capability or someone who seems to have a superhuman capacity to deal with life's challenges, think things like, "They're so lucky! They're so talented! They must have been born that way." But in reality, the human brain has the capacity to produce answers faster than the "smartest" computer on earth, even considering today's microtechnology with computers that calculate in nanoseconds (billionths of a second). It would take two buildings the size of the (former) World Trade Center to house the storage capacity of your brain! Yet this three-pound lump of gray matter can give you more firepower instantly for coming up with solutions to challenges and creating powerful emotional sensations than anything in man's vast arsenal of technology.

Just like a computer boasting tremendous capacity, without an understanding of how to retrieve and utilize all that's been stored, the brain's capacity means nothing. I'm sure you've known someone (maybe even yourself) who has purchased a new computer system and never used it simply because he or she didn't figure out how. If you want access to the files of valuable information in a computer, you must understand how to retrieve the data by asking for it with the proper commands. Likewise, what enables you to get anything you want from your own personal databanks is commanding the power of asking questions.

I'm here to tell you that the difference between people is the difference in the questions they ask consistently. Some people are depressed on a regular basis. Why? Part of the problem is their limited states. They conduct their lives with limited movements and hamstrung physiology, but more importantly, they focus on things that make them feel overloaded and overwhelmed. Their pattern of focus and evaluation seriously limits their emotional experience of life. Could this person change how they feel in a moment?

You bet! Just by changing their focus.

If there's one thing I've learned in seeking out the core beliefs and strategies for today's leading minds, it's that superior evaluations create a superior life. We all have the capacity to evaluate life at a level that produces outstanding results. What do you think of when you hear the word "genius"? If you are like me, what immediately comes to mind is a picture of Albert Einstein. But how did Einstein move beyond his failed high school education into the realm of truly great thinkers? Undoubtedly, it was because he asked supremely formulated questions.

The powerful distinctions that Einstein made resulted from a series of questions. Were they simple? Yes. Were they powerful? Absolutely. What power could you unleash by asking some equally simple but powerful questions? Questions are undeniably a magic tool that allows the genie in our minds to meet our wishes; they are the wake-up call to our giant capacities. They allow us to achieve our desires if only we present them in the form of a specific and well-thought-out request. A genuine quality of life comes from consistent, quality questions. Remember, your brain, like the genie, will give you whatever you ask of it. So be careful what you ask for - whatever you look for, you'll find.

-Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

Author, speaker and entrepreneur Tony Robbins has had his writings published in eleven languages worldwide. During the past decade, more than a million people have invested in and benefited from his audiotapes, videotapes, and books. He has been a consultant to professional sports teams, businesses and governments in the United States and abroad. If you have a Flash Player, check out his site at for the latest on his speaking engagements, books and tapes.


He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers.

         Cameroon Proverb

I have always told myself and others, "If you are not prepared for the answer, don't ask the question. So the other day, I get the daily horoscope, and this is what it said: "Long ago you had a plan, and you let nothing stand in your way. And while at the time you were patting yourself on the back, you can now look back and consider whether you might have been a little too rigid in your goals, methods and techniques. You could have been a bit more willing to entertain other possibilities. If you haven't learned your lesson about being flexible, you'll soon have another chance to do so." What was I to make of that?

The question I had when I read that ominous message on that day was, "Flexibility? Is that where I need growth in my life?" I got laid off of my job of nearly 5 years that very afternoon. Lack of work. There ya go. I guess I got the answer to that one. I need to go back to one of my previous articles, "To Bend Without Breaking" and re-read what was there. Good thing I keep the old stuff around. Now you know why.

Then the questions really started popping. What's next? Will I find another job right away? How will this turn out? Should I move back to Seattle? Am I financially prepared for this? How come I have to take it in the shorts because of the Enron thing? - and over the last week, questions like that continue to come up, on and on. . . Then, other questions. Like, what if this is a good thing? What if I am avoiding some other hardship that would have resulted from staying with this job? Hey, what if there is a greater job out there, just waiting for me to get it? Haven't I taken this job for granted, gotten a little too comfortable in it?

Anyway, without consciously knowing that Tony Robbins had come to the same conclusion until I read that part of his book (in my "leisure time" this week!), I learned the same lessons in the same way he did: that it is through questioning, evaluating and discerning that we learn and grow; that life is just a series of questions to be answered; that if I am to have a quality of life, there must be a quality to my questions. Perhaps I have been a bit too rigid in my goals, methods and techniques. This ought to loosen me up a bit! No comfort zone, this.

The work force had been cut drastically. Now, it is not that I want to fix the blame for my situation, but I asked several people at work how this could have happened. Apparently, the general consensus was that somebody wasn't paying close enough attention to the business climate (i.e. the fallout from Enron's collapse) and had made some strategically poor marketing descisions. Asleep at the switch? Not exactly, but not asking the right questions. Quality questions. Hey, it's not about me anyway, it's just business, you know? This is not a defeat, it is an opportunity for growth. But it feels like a rejection just the same.

The only way to live life is to lean into the pain and handle it. No easy way out. Just deal with it. It won't be easy to pick myself up after being knocked down. Easy isn't an option. In tough times, I discover a lot about myself, and this is an opportunity for discovery. I'll be fine, and I will recover from this, and I will be better because of it. It will be hard, but not impossible, because that is what life calls for just now. Charles Udall said, "In life you'll always be faced with a series of God-ordained opportunities brilliantly disguised as problems and challenges." But rather than lamenting the fact that this is hard, I would prefer to think of it as character building, and just go through what I must go through. I know it will be worth it.

The right questions can set off a course of actions that can have an impact on my life and the lives of others, far beyond my imagination. Questioning my limitations can tear down the walls in my life - at work, in my relationships, between me an everyone on earth. I am inclined to agree with Tony Robbins, who believes that all human progress is preceeded by asking the right questions. The questions I ask myself can open up possibilites can help to shape my self-perception and my capabilities, and can help me to define what I am willing to do to achieve my dreams.

When faced with a difficulty, Tony Robbins suggests the following quesitons:

Good questions!



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