Humans have an incredible capacity to reflect on their own self – their thoughts, emotions, habits, and relationships.
It’s exactly this self-awareness that makes us so intelligent and gives us the ability to adapt to our environment so effectively.
One of the most useful tools we have while reflecting is the power to ask ourselves questions.
It may seem that we already know the answers to our own questions – so what is the point in asking them?
However, the truth is that questions can help us begin thinking in new ways, which can then help us find answers that aren’t immediately apparent.
The majority of our thinking happens unconsciously. But by asking questions we bring our internal thought processes into the spotlight.
For example, we can take a belief and then analyze it by asking ourselves questions such as:
- Why do I have this belief?
- What evidence do I have to support this belief?
- How does this belief affect the way I think?
- How does this belief affect the way I feel?
- How does this belief affect the way I act?
- How might this belief be wrong or unhelpful?
- What other possible beliefs may be true?
- What kind of evidence would change this belief?
- How might looking at the situation from a different perspective change my belief?
- What other possible beliefs may be more beneficial?
These are the kinds of questions you can ask yourself to find out more about how your mind works.
You don’t have to have all the answers either, just do as best as possible. Feel free to ask follow-up questions to dig even deeper into your thought processes.
Challenge yourself. Play devil’s advocate. Step outside of yourself and debate yourself as if you were a random stranger.
These are all a part of healthy introspection and how to be completely honest with yourself.
Many of the most important questions in life we have to answer for ourselves. We can’t expect to get the answers from anyone else.
For example, everyone has to answer for themselves questions like:
- Who am I?
- What do I really value in life?
- What does “happiness” and “success” mean to me?
- What can I do to improve myself?
- How can I build stronger relationships with others?
- Where do I picture myself in 5, 10, 20, or 50 years?
- What is right and wrong?
- If I died today, what would I regret?
- What in my life would I not sell for any amount of money in the world?
These are some great questions we can use to begin to learn more about ourselves.
And they’re just a start. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your mind to decide what is really worth questioning and analyzing.
Maybe you have a problem at school, at work, or at home that you need to think about more – asking yourself questions is a great way to get your mind searching for possible solutions.
I believe asking the right questions is often more important than having all the answers.
First, because we never have all the answers. Second, because the right questions can get our minds to think in different and better ways that shed more light on how to live are lives.
Learn more about how to build a happy and successful life in The Science of Self Improvement