You have probably heard me – more than once – explain how important quality questions are. They truly have an incredible power to change our perspective, to help us find a way out or through. They help us to learn about ourselves. What is working, what’s not. What would I like to change. etc.
Quality questions are helpful. But there are other questions too that are rattling around in our minds.
Many of us are also asking unhelpful questions.
These types of questions serve no real good purpose. They often keep us in a worry pattern. They can erode our confidence and make us feel stuck.
So how do you recognise an unhelpful question that you’re asking yourself?
Firstly, an unhelpful question might look like any of the following:
Why do I always do that?
Why do I have to do this?
When will this thing be over?
Why can’t I make it work?
As you would have noticed, there are a LOT of WHYs going on there. WHY is not usually helpful unless it is accompanied by genuine curiosity. And even then, it’s not always important to know WHY in order to be able to change something. In the examples above, the WHY is almost a chastisement of self. You can almost hear the complaining tone of each question, right?
And that’s one of the keys to recognising a quality question over an unhelpful one.
An unhelpful question is often emotionally charged with frustration, anger, hopelessness. It’s less of a quality question and more of an emotional outlet or pattern.
Also an unhelpful question does not help us think outside of our current thinking patterns.
Is the question opening up a new perspective? Is it helping you think about things differently?
If not, then it’s not that helpful.
And here’s the kicker: Often an unhelpful question is not designed to be answered at all!
A helpful question on the other hand, is more recognisable by it beginning with a “what”, “when” or “how”.Instead of: Why do I always do that? Ask: What could I do differently next time?
A helpful question also feels different. It is accompanied by genuine curiosity to learn or discover something. It is a feeling of being more open to other ideas, if there are other ideas. It feels less emotionally charged than an unhelpful question.
So, be on the lookout for these unhelpful questions, particularly in current times when we’re spending more time isolated from others. Recognise them when you have them and call them out. Acknowledge that it’s not a helpful question that you’re having. If you need to, try changing the question to a more helpful one.
We all have unhelpful questions from time to time. I hope this has post has been helpful for you today.