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Different Questions lead to Different Choices

Sigh….“Why does he treat me this way? Doesn’t he see that he’s hurting my feelings?”

“How on earth did I get stuck in a job I hate? How many more hours until I get to go home?”

“How come no one ever helps me around here? Do they think I’m the maid?”

Do you notice anything in common with these questions (other than the fact that I, Traci, have said every one of them at one time or another in my life)? The common thread is that these questions aren’t really questions. The person asking these questions does not want the answer. If you go up and say, “The reason no one helps you out around here is because you then criticize the way we do it,” that person is not going to say, “Oh, thank you for telling me the truth. I feel so much better now.”

Not exactly. When you ask questions like those… all you’re doing is complaining with a question mark at the end of the sentence. Those kinds of questions don’t exactly lead to solutions. They lead to more whining.

“How on earth did I get stuck in a job I hate” leads to the person looking backwards to examine how they got stuck in the job. That’s not helping anyone! The past is the past.

Successful people know that to change your outcome, you have to change the types of questions you are asking.  When you ask different questions, you make different choices.

What are some of the disempowering questions you are asking yourself?

How about this one? “Why don’t I ever seem to have enough money?” That one almost sounds good, because you’d think that you’d start coming up with the ways you overspend. But even that’s not an empowering question that leads to a solution. Instead, ask yourself, “What can I do to have more money?” See what happens? Your brain immediately starts solving the problem and coming up with ideas.

Let’s try another one. “How come my kids never listen to me?” Because they’re spawns of Satan? No. Try this. “What can I do to get my kids to listen better?”

This gets to be fun after awhile. “How come I can’t lose weight?”  Because you keep asking yourself that question. How about, “What can I do to lose weight?”

You see, it seems like semantics, but research has shown that your brain doesn’t process the entire question. So when you ask yourself, “How come I can’t lose weight?” your brain only hears “I can’t lose weight.” And then guess what? That’s what becomes your reality. If you ask, “What can I do to lose weight?” your brain hears “I lose weight.”

How about, “Why does my husband act like a jerk?” Because he is a jerk? No. Of course not. Turn it around to “What can I do to help my husband be more compassionate to me?” The brain hears, “My husband is more compassionate to me” not “my husband is a jerk.”

Here’s the bottom line. If you want to be successful, and you want to achieve your goals, you’re going to have to do some things differently than the way you have done them before. It’s very easy, and somewhat fun, to sit around and whine. But, does that give you the results you want? No it does not.

Frankly, everyone does it. Everyone slips into asking disempowering questions. What makes you different, is that YOU stop it when you catch yourself doing it. You make an active commitment to change that question around into something that’s going to lead to a solution. That’s what successful people do that is different.

It’s like what Roger Lewin said, “Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” So, listen to the questions you are asking yourself. See if they are empowering ones. Give your mind a problem to solve rather than a problem to remember…

For more information on how you can use the ACES Decision Making Technique to learn how to ask better questions, e-mail us at or

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