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15+ Life-Changing Questions

Sometimes we just have to ask better questions to get better answers.

Allyson Lewis, 04/26/2012

All complex thought and all physical action is interestingly broken down into binary answers. Picture the light switch on your wall. It is a simple piece of machinery with two positions: Up or Down--On or Off. As you reach for any light switch, you have a clearly formulated expectation of exactly what will happen when you flip the switch.

For good or bad, we have created so many of these predetermined binary expectations in our lives. (Scientifically they are called "cognitive brain models.") Experience has taught us that it is simpler to rely on what has worked in the past rather than to reach out and start asking different questions and, even more importantly, be open to new answers.

It is not at all difficult to understand that the global economy has changed dramatically since 2008. In fact, I would say the entire face of client expectations, the understanding of risk, and the stress of uncertainty has impacted each one of our business models. My question is "How much have you changed?"

Over and over, we tell our readers, "Change happens in an instant! It happens the moment you decide to change." This is one of the key themes of our living The 7 Minute Life.

But let this thought sink in for a moment. If you have been working in the same industry, doing the same job, with the same technology and the same people for years and years--doesn't it only make sense that your brain would have created a significant number of familiar cognitive routines and models to help you process so many pieces of information?

Just a few days ago, I reached out to my community of friends and followers on the Internet and posed the following:

I have a deadline on the 15th for my next article for MorningstarAdvisor.com--the tentative title is: 10 questions to ask yourself to make your work better. Sometimes we just have to ask better questions to figure out better answers. I am hoping for 10 to 15 questions each one of us should be asking. For example: Where do I want to be 90 days from today? What are my specific revenue goals? How can I think differently to gain insight that will provide new and better results? How can we serve the clients better? How can we offer total solutions? OK, so get your brains thinking. I need 10 to 15 questions you believe might lead you to better answers. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

What follows are 15+ life-changing questions I received as answers from that post. Let these questions challenge you. Don't simply choose to read this article and mark the activity as "done," like the act of turning off the light switch. Instead, choose to disrupt that regular routine and read one question each day for the next two weeks. Take some time to think about how that question could prompt your business to become better, smarter, more efficient, more fulfilling, and more meaningful.

Allyson Lewis is the author of The Seven Minute Difference. She speaks about improving time-management, increasing productivity, and rediscovering purpose. Find out more about her new online video training program, The 7 Minute Life System, here. She also has a blog and a Twitter account.

The author is not an employee of Morningstar, Inc. The views expressed in this article are the author's. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Morningstar.

The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.
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