Have you ever noticed how many questions a kid asks? The sky is blue. Why? My hair’s blonde. Why? I dress like this. Why? I like chocolate. Why?
When we grow up many of us lose that curiosity that is one of the best skills a child has. Nowadays we’re so focused on living life that asking questions is not a priority anymore. Is “doing” more important than “being”? Asking questions is actually vital not only to know ourselves but to face all the situations that life places in front of us. But most of all, we must learn how to ask the right ones. We all live in the world we create with the questions we ask. When we are moving towards personal growth courses, we usually spend so much time looking for answers. But are we asking ourselves clear questions? When something negative or bad happens to us the first thing that comes to mind is: why me? This type of question triggers a mechanism that starts a series of gears that only make us think “Everything happens to me, whenever I try to do something I immediately fail, everything is going to suck today” and so on. This negative spiral activates the so-called "Auto-fulfilling prophecy". What is that? (Let’s start to ask questions whenever we can!)
The self-fulfilling prophecy is a concept that comes from the theorem by W. I. Thomas: “If men define certain situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” That is a prediction that is realized by the mere fact of having been expressed. The precise moment when an individual tries with its actions to prevent what he/she doesn’t want to come true, triggers a series of unconscious behaviours that in the end will get exactly the opposite of the desired result, causing the events that we wanted to avoid in the first place. This happens much more often than we may think. Why? Because our minds and thoughts determine who we are and how we will act in the future. Have you ever thought “The professor will ask me about this single paragraph that I don’t remember” at college? Or “everything will go all wrong for sure!”. Here, this is a great example of how to start it.
First of all, something that’s good to keep in mind is the fact that the prophecy also works in reverse. I’m not saying that if we think hardly some glass slippers will magically appear in front of us. We need to do the right mental preparation to be able to start the mechanism in the direction that will create positive behaviours. So, how do we understand what are the right questions we should ask? Here are a few tips and tricks to learn how to pilot the positivity in our direction:
We all have something that we’re good at. How many times we said “no I’ll never be able to achieve that” or “I am not capable of/I’m not good enough to do that”? Well, let’s try to make a list of just five situations that we have faced and solved in order to refresh our memory. By doing this we’ll see how we managed to do it, what skills we used and so on.
What it means to change the question? Instead of asking “is this situation ever going to improve?” I try to think “what can I do to improve this situation I am living?” Ask questions that do not have an answer does not help to free our mind, let alone find the solutions we are looking for!
Maybe reading this sentence made you think “but what’s the point, I have to try to avoid mistakes, not to run towards them.” Actually making mistakes makes us learn much more quickly than do the right thing the first time we try to do something. The error causes an emotional reaction that makes us remember the situation and not repeat it a second time (most of the times).
As I write in my books, when we’re not feeling confident, we have the feeling of being constantly under a magnifying glass, constantly judged by the others. It’s impossible to please everyone and, above all, it’s absolutely not necessary. If someone criticizes us, let’s just separate the sincere and constructive part from the destructive one, and consider the good parts as an incentive to improve and grow.
Another way to practice, especially when we begin to understand the mechanism, is to teach others how to do it. Some people say that teaching is the most effective form of learning, so why not give it a try? Not to mention the fact that by helping others we feed that positive domino effect that can only make the world a better place.