I recently came across Tina Seelig’s work through Srini Rao’s Unmistakable Creative podcast and played it on repeat at least three times. I may play it again after publishing this because it’s that good.
Her suggestion on writing a failure resume – collecting all your biggest screw-ups, personal, professional and academic – and taking time to understand what went wrong and what could be done differently in the future may be the most important advice I’ve come across this year.
But I wanted to explore another theme in the podcast: that of re-framing questions.
Tina gives the following example. Pretend I come to you and say, ‘Let’s plan a birthday party for our friend Mia’. It immediately suggests something in your mind. But what if I said, ‘Let’s plan a birthday celebration for our friend Mia’? Or ‘Let’s find a way to mark Mia’s birthday’?
How does that change where your mind goes? The set of solutions expands dramatically.
The answers are baked into the questions and we need to reframe the questions to get the best possible answers to what we’re facing. The questions we ask are the frame into which the answers will fall.
All too often the questions I ask myself result in either a yes or a no. But if we were to blow that out, what could that look like? A few thoughts below:
- Who…can I connect with today in a meaningful way? …can I help?
- What…will add value to the moment? …will I learn today? …will I leave behind?
- When..will I take action on the dreams and goals that I have?
- Where…can I explore today?
- Why…is there a status quo? …do I have to respond the same way everyone else does?
- How…else can we do things? …can I leave a positive mark on the day?
Questions like these open you up to possibility instead of limiting the options you have and that’s incredibly powerful.
How do you reframe questions in your own life?
[image credit: Angel Acevedo]