When I finally arrived in the U.S. for my Olympic training, I saw a beautiful stadium in front of me. I was ready and excited to start my warmup. Then suddenly I got confused, wondering how many laps I was supposed to run. I froze from the realization that I was one of the top javelin throwers in the world but had no idea how to do a warmup. I was good at taking direction, but now I was half a world away from my coach.
The immersion into a new country, outside of my comfort zone and away from my coach prompted a lifelong interest in how the brain works. It eventually led me to launch an online training course that asks you questions every day for 30 days—each answer representing a certain mindset to help people achieve their goals.
I believe it’s asking people the right questions, instead of telling them what to do, that creates success, that pushes people to be successful. Questions push people to figure out the answers on their own. The question system has been used by coaches of elite athletes and almost all therapists. It’s helpful in discovering a person’s individual way of thinking and their mental blocks, and in applying specific mindsets to help them achieve their goals.
The philosophy is simple: Asking the right questions gives people the answers they need to move forward in life. We need to start looking at our dreams practically. Simply put, our dreams are the problems we have to learn to solve. Dreams are called “dreams” for a reason—it is something better than what we have now. And to achieve what’s better, we have to start finding new solutions; we have to learn new ways to think.
Dan Lange, one of my coaches, trained based on questions. Every day he asked everybody how they felt. Answering “fine” was not going to do it. We had to be precise with this question to understand how we felt physically, mentally and emotionally. Depending on the answers we provided, the training for the day was designed for us to reach our optimal results. With this method, Lange’s athletes learned how much their mental and emotional states affected results and how to improve. We were building ourselves from the core.
Related: The Power of Asking Questions
Here are the benefits of asking questions. You can start asking today.
1. We learn about life through questions.
It is scientifically proven that we learn about life by asking questions. Children naturally start learning about the world by observing, testing and asking “why.” Through questions, children learn the cause-and-effect relationship and, most important, the meaning of words.
2. The more we question, the better answers we get.
Unfortunately, with age and responsibilities, the questioning stops and we settle for the few options that we have learned. The minute those options don’t work, we get stuck. Whenever we experience an obstacle, our brain goes to the fastest pattern it can find from our experiences similar to the current situation. This is why we sometimes have illogical reactions: We do not give time for the brain to find a better solution. The more information and experiences we have, the more options we have to solve our problems.
3. The quality of our lives depends on questions we ask.
The quality of our lives is directly related to the quality of our thinking. “The quality of our thinking, in turn, is determined by the quality of our questions, for questions are the engine, the driving force behind thinking.” —The Miniature Guide to the Art of Asking Essential Questions
4. Questioning makes you open.
Questioning forms new patterns in the brain. The more patterns it forms, the more flexible it becomes. With flexibility, it can access more information already stored in your brain instead of reverting to the old patterns.
5. Questioning makes you wiser.
When you become more open because of a flexible brain, you become perceptive of many different perspectives and less biased in your decisions.
6. Asking the right questions creates happiness.
We all know how peace and harmony feels, but not many of us take a minute to understand what causes these feelings. When we entertain this deep question, we start understanding how to feel at peace more often. We realize we are the creators of our feelings; they don’t just happen to us.
Start by asking yourself simple but deep questions:
What does happiness mean to me?
Is it possible to have a big problem and to feel good at the same time?
Do I do something every day to reach my dream?
Then start asking yourself more difficult questions:
What is the most important thing for me in life?
How can I work toward achieving that?
The more times we ask ourselves important questions, the easier it gets to accept ourselves and to take charge in changing our lives for the better.