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Looking for better answers? Ask better questions.

I am always fascinated by how the questions we ask shape the answers we get. I am also always fascinated by how we often only focus on trying to change the answers, not the questions. However, if we learn to ask better questions, we will get better answers (Eureka!).

The word for this is called reframing - how you turn a question on its head by asking the question from a different (hopefully more positive) perspective, giving you different (more useful) answers. Reframing is an especially useful technique when you are looking to solve a problem.

Let’s give it a try.

Original question: “Why don’t I get chosen to participate in important projects at work?”

Possible answers running through your head: “I am not qualified,” “my boss doesn't like me,” or “my co-worker delivers better results.”

How do these answers affect you and your thinking? For starters, this question will likely send you down a path of negativity and reaffirm any fixed or limiting beliefs you have already placed on yourself.

Let’s try reframing.

Reframed question: “What can I do to put myself in a better position to be chosen for important projects at work?”

Possible answers that start running through your head: “I can ask my boss what she looks for in project members,” “I can take some virtual training classes so I can get better at XYZ,” or “I can tell my boss I am looking to expand my experience and that I would like to become more involved.”

Do you notice the difference? The reframed question will likely ignite a thought process of useful, positive, and action-focused answers. Our brains are like computers in that we are very logical. Our reticular activator (the part of our brain that mediates behavior) gives us direct answers to support the questions we ask. So, if you want better answers, ask yourself better questions.

The process of reframing ensures you remain in a growth mindset, so that you continue to progress toward your goals.

What question will you try reframing first?

Mind your mindset and be well.


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