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Ask better questions

I talk a lot about asking better questions.

In fact, it’s one of the cornerstones of the Romero Athletics philosophy. I believe it’s a principle that’s key to accessing the information needed to become the best version of oneself.

Let me explain what I mean when I say ‘ask better questions’.

I refer to two types of questions:

Internal Questions

The way that you pose questions to yourself will determine the direction of your life and the speed at which you travel.

For example, let’s imagine that Jim and John are two young gents who each apply for the same athletic scholarship, only to both be turned down.

Jim thinks:

1. “Why is life so unfair?” 2. “When will it be my turn?” 3. “How could I ever think I’d be good enough?” 4. “Who am I to achieve greatness?”

While John’s thought process is more like this:

1. “What can I learn from this?” 2. “What action can I take today to improve my chances in the future?” 3. “Who can help me with this?” 4. “What’s stopping me?”

Who do you think is more likely to have a positive outcome following this turn of events – Jim, who chooses to see the experience as rejection or failure, or John, who uses the experience as an opportunity to learn and develop?

Purely changing the tone from negative to positive - from defeatist to optimist – from powerless to powerful - changes not only the answers (from stagnant or counter-productive, to progressive or constructive) but also changes your mentality towards roadblocks or difficult situations. They cease to be a monkey wrench in your operation, and start becoming opportunities to learn and optimise.

External Questions

The second part of the statement refers to the development of a better Bullshit Detector™. What this means is to break away from a ‘group-think’ mentality and starting to question the things you have been told but never actually explored yourself.

I believe Mark Twain said it best;

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

It is very easy to hear something and accept it as fact without any further inquiry. This is only natural because, as humans, we are biologically programmed to accept any new information as fact immediately so that we can make an instantaneous decision which could save our lives.

For example, imagine that I come running into the room screaming that there is a tiger chasing me. Everyone’s first instinct would be to instantly scramble out the back door to safety. This way, if I am a liar and there is no tiger, the people have lost very little - aside from feeling a bit more stressed and a few calories lighter.

Conversely, if I am telling the truth and there is a tiger, but the people stay in the room analysing the situation (how likely it is, how many times I have lied in the past, etc.) the consequences could be far more severe.

This trait is the result of our evolution as humans, and by defying it we are essentially working against our nature. The difference is, in our modern lives we make far less split-second, life-changing decisions. Most of our life-shaping decisions are made more deliberately and with much more thought and care (our career path, choice of partner, buying a house, our diet and exercise routines, etc.)

Given that modern society allows us more time to think and analyse, it would stand to reason that we could spend more time asking questions about the things that we spend a large part of our lives doing (eating, drinking, breathing, sleeping, moving) that have a large impact on our health and well-being.

By increasing the quality of our internal and external questions, we’re equipping ourselves with a more productive mindset and higher quality information with which to inform our decisions – the ultimate recipe for success.

Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash

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