5 Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday
"Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers." - Tony Robbins
A few years ago I was listening to an audiobook talk by Tony Robbins…
It was early in the morning, I just had finished brewing up a fresh cup of coffee, and was looking out the window at the rising sun when I heard it…
Well, to be honest, my conscious brain missed it at first but my subconscious picked up that something important had just been said.
So I quickly paused the audiobook, hit rewind, listened back, and hurried to grab a piece of paper to jot it down.
Here’s what he said - the quality of your questions will dictate the quality of your life.
As I stood in the kitchen my mind began to race.
It was as if I had been jolted awake by a bolt of lightning and had my brain plugged into a Tesla supercharging station.
The reason I got so excited is simple…
You can take that statement and rework it to - if you want to change the quality of your life, simply change the quality of your questions.
That means you are in control of your destiny.
Whatever future you want to create for yourself is 100% possible as long as you find the right questions to ask.
The powerful thing about a question is that it calls into action your most powerful resource - your brain.
That beautiful and amazing piece of tissue has something on the order of 100 billion neurons synced together by 100 trillion connections designed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution to think, connect dots, and find solutions to questions.
Even though you may not know the answer to the question right now, simply asking it puts your brain to work.
It’s like opening a loop…
You asked the question and now your brain goes to work in the background to find solutions and close the loop.
Since that morning, I’ve been obsessed with questions.
I often read books now not looking for information, but looking for better questions to ask.
Over the years, I have continued to compile questions to unlock the power of my brain to geometrically improve the quality of my life, and today, I’d like to share 5 of my favorites with you.
Question 1 - what if I didn’t?
This question has been on my mind A LOT recently and gets into the concept of opportunity cost.
Your time is the most valuable resource you have and how you choose to invest it now will dictate the results you get today, this month, this year, and this next decade.
Currently, I am surrounded by an abundance of opportunities.
Literally, everywhere I look I see opportunities to provide value, help people, build systems, and grow my wealth.
The problem is time.
I simply don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do and learn all the things I want to learn.
Sometimes as I pursue these different opportunities I get so biased towards action that I never stop to ask - what if I didn’t do this thing?
What if I didn’t write this substack and instead set up a funnel and ads?
What if I didn’t read this book and instead found someone who’s already done the thing I’m interested in doing and modeled them?
What if I didn’t invest in single-family homes and instead found a multi-family property?
What if I didn’t sell directly to consumers and instead sold to businesses?
There are 1000 ways this question plays out, but the point is this - don’t get so caught up in action that you get stuck working hard on the wrong things.
Question 2 - am I busy or productive?
People have a tendency to fill their time with work…
It’s this funny thing where people want more free time and vacation, but the second they get it they find a way to fill it with work.
It’s as if they feel bad for not working.
It’s as if they are afraid of having free time just to realize they don’t know what to do with it.
It’s as if they feel obligated to work 40-hour weeks even though they may be able to get the same result only working 20 hours.
It’s as if they enjoy wearing “busy” as a badge of honor because somewhere along the line they convinced themselves that the only way to achieve an outcome is to work long hours.
Let’s be clear - the goal is not to be busy. It’s to be productive. It’s to get as much done in as short a time as possible to free you up to do whatever it is that excites you.
I’ve worked in many different environments (banks, universities, research labs, gyms etc.) and am constantly amazed by how “busy” people are without being productive.
Most of the work being done in these environments could be accomplished with a really concentrated 3 to 4-hour work block, but it drags on because people get stuck majoring in minor things.
Most things don’t matter. Most things don’t need to be worked on. Most things don’t demand your attention because they don’t meaningfully move projects and goals forward.
As I talked about in this post, you want to find the 20% of inputs that create 80% of the desired output and then focus your effort on that.
Most everything else is a distraction.
Once you figure this out, you get to work on the larger question - how do I want to spend my time when I’m not filling it with work for work’s sake?
Question 3 - what’s the BIG domino?
In Russell Brunson’s book Expert Secrets he shares the following story about Tim Ferriss…
Tim was the keynote speaker at a small, intimate gathering of successful entrepreneurs.
After his presentation, a woman stood up and asked “Hey, Tim, you seem to get so much done. What is it that you do all day?”
He paused for a brief moment, gave an awkward half-smile, and said, “If you watched my daily routine, you’d be bored out of your mind. Most people wake up every morning with a task list of a thousand things to do. They go through the day trying to knock down all these things. I do things differently. I wake up every morning and I meditate. I drink tea or coffee. I go for a walk, and maybe I read a book…
“My whole goal is to slow down and look around. Instead of looking for all the tasks that I could do, I try to identify the one BIG DOMINO - the one thing that, if I could knock that down, all the other dominos would either fall down or become irrelevant.”
I personally love this story.
It relates nicely to what I talked about in this post with regard to slowing down to get the same if not better result.
Ultimately, you want to look for the BIG DOMINO to knock down and not the hundreds of small dominos.
Question 4 - how can I give myself a raise today?
This one is really self-explanatory…
Just ask yourself - how can I give myself a raise today?
I think you’ll be amazed at all the opportunities you begin to notice.
Question 5 - what if I multiplied it by 10?
The question you ask will dictate the solution you find.
Let me give you an example.
Compare the following 2 questions:
How do I make $10,000 per month working 20 hours per week?
How do I make $100,000 per month working 20 hours per week?
The answers to these 2 questions are VERY different.
But if you only focus on the first question, then you’ll never open yourself to the possibility of question two.
You’ll never think outside the box and challenge yourself to come up with more nuanced answers and solutions…
That’s why I multiply every question I ask or goal I set by 10.
The nice part about this is that by shooting for the 10x answer, even if you come up short, you will still likely improve upon the original question by a factor of 2 or 3.
What’s your favorite question?
What’s one of your favorite questions that I didn’t hit on in this post??
Do me a favor and drop it in the comments below 👇
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This is a great list, thanks James. I've got to use the "what if I didn't" point more often. Thanks for sharing
I really like what you have written here. Indeed, the questions we ask ourselves can move us forward or keep us stagnant.