Today is day two of my writing challenge. Yesterday’s post was just an introduction to this challenge and hence was not really a post with real writing in it. The real challenge starts today.
The second day of a New Year is always an exciting day. On the New Year day, you may have a lot of resolutions and look forward to executing them. On the second day, as you start the day and try and execute the resolutions, the excitement take a fresh dimension.
I was at the gym today and was not surprised to see it packed with very energetic and serious looking people hell-bent on executing their fitness resolutions. The numbers will gradually dwindle as the initial excitement dies down and people start forgetting this is a New Year and the days are just like any other.
It was arms day today and as I was into my 4th set of bicep curls, a massive and sharp headache hit me like a ton of bricks. I tried to continue but the pain just kept escalating. I had to stop and head over to where my daughter was working out to complain about what appeared to be a migraine.
My daughter suggested that perhaps I was dehydrated – on account of the massive New Year party, consuming too much alcohol, mixing drinks, not enough food the next day and more importantly not drinking enough water since yesterday. I drank some water from the faucets but not much since the water was freezing. A few minutes later the ache was worse. So my workout was cut short and we had to head back home.
I took an ibuprofen tablet, drank some sugar water and then lay down for a few minutes. I was in the shower as soon as the ache seemed to have abated.
So why I am telling you all this?
When I decided to the 30-day writing challenge which would then turn into a year-long challenge, I thought about how I would go about coming up with topics to write about. I knew it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible. So this morning I decided to do some research and finally realized that to be able to write every day, it would be hard to come up with business posts that were good enough to be useful to people. So I had to look at my intention and motivation for this challenge and why I wanted to write every day.
I realized that I wanted to write every day to get my writing mojo back and get better at writing. To do that, if I set myself to write useful articles daily, I would burn out trying to find useful topics, researching them and then writing articles that would ultimately be useful to people. So, I decided to write a journal every day that would share some of the interesting things happening in my life and ask a question and try and answer it.
This would be relatively easy since I am always asking questions and I have a lot of opinions and can rant about those. It was also motivated by the book I am currently reading – A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger – about the power of questioning.
That brings me to today’s question – Why asking questions can improve your life or business?
Asking questions about the status quo and how things are done takes one to a beginners mind. This concept of the beginner’s mind was taught by the famous Zen teacher, Shunryu Suzuki who wrote the book, The Beginners Mind. In fact, Steve Jobs was a big proponent of this theory and used it to question the status quo in a quest to design and create better products and eventually more market share.
In the book is a great quote: “In the beginner’s mind, there are a lot of possibilities. In the expert’s mind, very few.”. This quote says it all. Research has shown that most people think they know more than they actually do. And as we perceive that we know a lot, we stop asking questions and hence make no impact on this world, or improve our lives or our businesses.
Asking “Why”, “What if” and “How” have lead to changes and breakthroughs throughout history. Asking yourself why you are doing something a certain way or questioning the status quo can help you move to the next level in anything. My writing challenge started the same way. I used to be a prolific writer but the last two years I slowed down and by the end of 2018, I completed stopped writing – except for the occasional business post once a month or so.
By asking why I was not writing anymore and then following that trail of questioning, I was able to motivate myself and then decide to take up writing again. If your business has slowed down or you are struggling to find new clients, ask questions – about your product or service, your business model, your marketing methods, your attitude, and so on.
If you have a sore relationship, step back and ask questions. What is the issue? What is happening in your life and your partners? What could be causing the unrest? What could you do to alleviate the situation? And so on.
Children question a lot and their creativity is free flowing. But as they become older they stop questioning – due to the way our society is and our education system (that would be a whole blog post by itself). But you can always start to learn to question. And you will see wonderful changes in your life or business.
To further learn about the power of questioning, I would strongly recommend you read the book A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.