Chapter 8: Asking Means Answering
“Whoever asks, he answers.”- Cameroon Proverbs
They don’t need a reason.
They came to his house only
because he was of Jewish origin.
The Nazis burst into the house,
dragging him and his whole family away.
Soon after, they herded them like cattle
and put them on a train
and drove them straight to the concentration camp in Krakow.
Even his worst nightmares couldn’t get him used
to seeing his whole family shot right
in front of his eyes.
How can he live with the horror
of seeing his child in another child’s clothes
because now his child is dead after a “rain of bullets”?
“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that,
but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”— Jeff Bezos
But he still had to live.
One day he looked at the nightmare around him
and was faced with an obvious fact:
if he stayed here one more day,
he would surely die.
He made a decision to escape immediately!
He didn’t know how,
he just knew he had to hide.
For weeks at a time he asked his fellow inmates,
“How can we get out of this horrible place?”
He almost always got the same answer,
“Don’t be foolish,”
“it can’t be helped!
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see
when you take your eyes off your goals.”— Henry Ford
Asking that only hurts my mind.
Just work hard and pray for it.
But he didn’t accept this,
he definitely wouldn’t accept it.
He was obsessed with escaping and even though his answers made no sense,
he kept asking over and over again,
“How can I escape?
There must be a way.
How can I get away?
Is it possible to get out of this place healthy, alive, today?
There is a saying that if you ask,
you will receive.
“The single greatest thing you can do
to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.
And the more grateful you are, the more you get.”— Oprah Winfrey
And somehow he received an answer that day.
Maybe because he asked so intensely,
maybe he was aware that “now is the time”.
It could also just be because he kept focusing on a focal point that was the answer
to his burning question.
Whatever the reason,
the great power of the human mind and spirit awakened in this man.
The answer had come to him from an unusual source:
the stench of rotting corpses.
There, just a few steps from where he worked,
he found a pile of bodies that had been shoveled
into the back of a truck men, women, children,
Their golden teeth had been removed,
and all the precious jewels they had,
even the clothes they wore, were stripped.
Then instead of asking,
“How could the Nazis be so disgusting, so inhuman?
How could God do such a cruel thing?
Why did God let this happen to him?
Stanislavsky Lech asked a completely different question, he asked,
“How can I use this to escape?
And immediately he had an answer.
Sunset was about to end a working day,
Lech ran to hide behind the truck.
In the blink of an eye,
he had stripped off all his clothes
and crept naked into the pile of corpses
without anyone noticing.
He pretended to be dead,
not moving a bit even though at one point he almost suffocated
because several other corpses continued to be shoveled on top of him.
The stench of rotting flesh,
stiff corpses surrounded him on all sides.
He waited, hoping that no one would notice a person still alive among the corpses
and hoped that sooner
or later the truck would run away.
Finally, he heard the truck engine explode.
He felt the car shake.
And at that moment he felt his hope as he lay still among the corpses.
Finally he saw the car come to a stop
and then it dumped all the zombies into a huge hole outside the camp.
Lech stayed there for hours until nightfall.
“All things are difficult before they are easy.”— Thomas Fuller
Finally, when he felt sure no one was there,
he huddled out of the mountain of corpses
and ran naked for twenty-five miles until he found his freedom.
Between Stanislavsky Lech and so many people who died in concentration camps,
where is the difference?
Of course there were many factors,
but one key difference was that he asked a different question from the others.
He had asked persistently,
asked and expected an answer,
and in his mind a solution had arisen to save his life.
The questions he asked himself that day in Krakow led him
to make snap decisions that directly affected his fate.
But before he got the answer,
before he made the decision,
and before he took that action,
he had to ask himself the right questions.
“Always take a stand for yourself,
You’re defined by what you stand for.” — Oprah Winfrey
Throughout this book you have learned how our beliefs influence the decisions,
actions, and direction of our lives and thus our destiny.
But all of these influences are a product of thinking,
the way our minds evaluate
and create meaning throughout our lives.
So to get to the bottom of how we create reality in our lives every day,
we need to answer the question,
“Simply how do we think?”
Our questions define our way of thinking
One day I was thinking about important events in my life
and the lives of the people I met in my life.
I have met so many people,
lucky and unlucky,
successful and unsuccessful;
I really want to know what has allowed successful people
to achieve great achievements,
while others with similar
or better circumstances have been destroyed.
I asked myself,
“What really makes the biggest difference in my life,
in who I am,
in my personality,
and in my future?”
I have the answer that I once shared with you.
“It is not the events that weave my life that determine how I feel and act,
it is how I interpret and evaluate my life experiences.”
The meaning I assign to an event determines the decisions I make,
the actions I take,
and thus my ultimate destiny.
But how do I do the assessment?
I realize that evaluation is no more than asking questions.
And I also began to realize that thinking by itself
is nothing more than the process of asking
and answering questions.
Questions help direct our attention
and thus determine how we feel.
The power of questions
“Some people look at existing things and ask, Why?
And I dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? “- George Bernard Shaw
Most of us,
when we see someone with amazing abilities
or someone who can cope with life’s challenges in an extraordinary way,
think like this,
“They’re so lucky!
They’re so talented!
They’re so blessed! such!”
But in reality,
the human mind is capable of providing answers faster than today’s “smartest” computers,
even those capable of calculating a billionth of a second.
There must be two buildings the size of a new World Trade Center with the capacity of our brains!
Yet this one-and-a-half pound gray matter can give you instant energy to find solutions to challenges
and create more intense emotions
than anything in modern man’s arsenal of technology. .
The power of the human mind is such a miracle,
but it only works if you know how to use it,
that is, you know how to ask questions.
I want to tell you this,
people differ in the differences in the questions they ask consistently.
There are people who live in a state of constant depression.
Why? Part of the problem is in their negative states.
They live their lives with limited activities and weak bodies,
but most of all they focus their attention on the things
they feel heavy and suffocating.
Can this person change the way he feels at some point?
Sure just they change the focus of their mind.
So what is the way to change the focus?
Simple, just ask a new question.
When people are depressed,
because they keep repeating the same negative questions over and over, like,
“What’s the use?
No matter how hard you try,
it doesn’t change anything.
God, why me? huh?”
Remember the saying,
just ask and you will receive.
If you ask a terrible question,
you will get a terrible answer.
Your brain is always at your service,
so any question you ask,
it will surely have an answer.
So if you ask,
“Why am I never successful?”
it will give you an answer that goes something like,
“Because you’re stupid”,
or “Because you’re not worth anything”.
I give you an example of smart questions.
That is the story of my dear friend W. Mitchell.
How do you think he can live with two thirds of his body burned
and still feel the love of life?
How could he endure a plane crash a few years later,
losing the use of his legs and using a wheelchair,
and yet still finding a way to give back to others?
He learned to control his focus by asking the right questions.
When he was hospitalized,
his body was so badly burned that he could no longer recognize his shape
and surrounded him with other patients,
who always lamented his fate with questions,
“Why me? Why did God make me do this?
Why is life so unfair?
What’s the use of being crippled?”
On the contrary,
Mitchell chose for himself these questions,
“How can I take advantage of this situation?
Given this situation,
will there be any way I can contribute to others?”
The questions above are the difference between human destinies.
“Why me?” rarely produces positive results,
while “How can I take advantage of this situation?”
often lead us in the direction of transforming our problems
into motivations to make us and the world better.
Mitchell understood that being hurt, angry,
and frustrated wouldn’t change his life,
so instead of focusing on what he didn’t have,
he said to himself,
“What else do I have?
I who am i really just
Is it my body, or do I have more?
What can I do now,
even better than before?”
After the plane crash,
while in the hospital and paralyzed from the back down,
he met a very attractive woman,
a nurse named Annie.
His face was completely blackened,
his body paralyzed from the hips down,
“Find a way to get paid for doing what you love.
Then every paycheck will be a bonus.”— Oprah Winfrey
yet he had the courage to ask:
“Is there any way I can get to know her?”
His friends replied,
“You’re crazy, you’re deceiving yourself”.
But a year and a half later,
he and Annie got to know each other and now the two have become husband and wife.
It is the beautiful result of intense questions:
they give us an irreplaceable source of energy:
answers and solutions.
“The important thing is to never stop asking questions.
Curiosity has a reason for being.
It is impossible not to marvel
as we contemplate the mysteries of eternity,
of life, of the strange structure of reality.
It is enough for one to try to grasp a little of the mystery every day.
Never lose sight of holy curiosity.”- Albert Einstein
What is your impression when you hear the word “genius”?
For me, I immediately think of the image of Albert Einstein.
But how did Einstein,
a student who did not finish high school,
become a truly great thinker of the world?
Certainly because he asked wonderfully formulated questions.
When Einstein first exploited the idea of the relativity of time and space,
he asked, “Is it possible that things
that appear to be simultaneous are actually not?”
For example, if you were a few miles away from an explosion,
would you hear the explosion at the exact moment it occurred?
Einstein said no,
what you hear as happening
at that moment is actually not happening at that moment,
but a moment before.
And he reasoned in everyday life,
time is relative according to your way of thinking.
Einstein once said,
“When a young man sits next to a pretty girl for an hour,
it feels like a minute.
But if you let him sit on a hot stove for just one minute,
he will see it for more than an hour.
The intense distinctions that Einstein made were the result
of a series of questions he raised.
Are they simple?
Are they strong?
Can you have questions as simple and powerful as that?
Learning to ask strong questions in critical times was a decisive skill
that pulled me out of the harshest hours of my life.
One of the methods I have discovered to improve the quality of my life is
by simulating familiar questions from people I admire.
If you meet someone extremely happy,
I’m sure there’s a reason for that.
The reason is that this person consistently
focuses on the things that make them happy,
which means they know
how to ask questions about what it means to be happy.
Find out their questions
and you will begin to experience the same experience they did.
There are questions we will not need to consider.
Take the example of Walt Disney.
He never paid attention to the question of whether
his organizations could succeed or fail.
That’s not to say that the Miracle Kingdom creator-man doesn’t have effective questions.
My grandfather Charles Shows was a screenwriter for Walt Disney
before he moved to work for Hanna-Barbera
to make cartoons with characters like Yogi and Huckleberry Hound.
She told me that every time they do a new show or a new script,
Disney has a unique way of asking for productivity.
He paints on a large wall a plan, script, or idea,
and then everyone in the company comes
to see it and write answers to the question:
“How can we improve this? ?”
Each person will write down their solution,
full of their suggestions on the wall.
Disney then went over each answer to his question.
In this way,
Walt Disney used the talent of each person in the company,
to produce results worthy of the quality of his efforts.
Ask yourself effective questions right now.
What are you really happy about in your life right now?
What is really great in your life today?
What are you really grateful for?
Take a moment to think about your answer
and see how pleased you are
to know that you have good reasons to feel great right now.
The Power of Hypothesis
Questions have the power to influence what we believe
and therefore what we think is possible or impossible.
That’s the power of hypothesis,
something you have to pay close attention to.
Hypotheses prepare us to accept facts that may or may not be true
and can be applied to us by others, or to ourselves subconsciously.
An example occurred during the 1988 US Presidential election,
shortly after George Bush announced
on the list to run for Vice President.
A television news program held a national poll
and asked the public to answer the question,
“Do you think Dan Quayle used his family influence to join the National Guard?
Gia and thereby avoid serving in the army in Vietnam?”
Of course the underlying hypothesis in this question
is that Dan Quayle did indeed use his family influence to an unwarranted advantage
but this is an unproven story.
But the people replied as if everything had already been proven.
They don’t question it,
they just automatically accept it.
Worse still, many responded that they were extremely angry about the event.
There was no prior evidence at all!
this process happens all too often;
we apply it to ourselves and to others too easily.
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of accepting the negative assumptions
of others or your own.
Questions change the resources available to us.
In business, questions open up new worlds
and give us access to resources we didn’t know we had.
At Ford Motor Company,
retired President Donald Petersen is known for asking repeatedly:
“What do you think? How could your job improve?”
Once, Petersen asked a question that skyrocketed the company’s profits
and led the company to great success.
He asked international expert Jack Telnack,
“Do you like the cars you’re designing?
” Telnack replied,
“No, I really don’t.”
Then Petersen asked him the decisive question,
“So why don’t you just ignore the management
and design the car you want?”
The designer followed the president’s every word
and designed the 1983 Ford Thunderbird,
the precursor to the later Taurus and Sable models.
In 1987, under the leadership of questioning champion Petersen,
Ford overtook General Motor in terms of profits,
and today the Taurus is one of the greatest cars ever built.
Donald Petersen is a great example of someone,
who has made real use of his incredible ability to ask questions.
With just one simple question,
he completely changed the fate of Ford Motor Company.
You and I both have that same power in us at any time,
the questions we ask ourselves can shape our conceptions of ourselves,
and what we want to do to achieve their dreams.
One thing we need to remember is that our beliefs influence the questions we can ask.
Many people may never ask the question,
“How can I turn the tables?”
Just because everyone around them told them it was impossible.
They will feel that doing this will be a waste of time.
Be careful to avoid negative questions,
because you will get negative answers.
The only thing that limits your questions is your belief in what is possible.
I have a fundamental belief
that has helped shape my personal and professional destiny,
which is that if I keep asking questions,
I will get answers.
What is needed is to create a good question,
we will get a good answer.
Questions to help solve problems
The key is to develop a consistent pattern of questions that work for you.
You and I know all too well that,
no matter how we live our lives,
there are bound to be times
when we face what we call “Problems”:
obstacles on our path to human advancement and our profession.
Everyone, no matter what stage of success in life,
has to deal with these special “gifts”.
The question is not whether you have problems or not,
but how you will deal with them when you encounter them.
We all need a systematic approach
to dealing with life’s challenges.
So, when I realized that the ability
to ask questions changed my state of mind
and gave me strength and solutions,
I reached out to a few people and asked if they had solved their problems with how.
I discovered that there are a number of questions that seem very consistent.
Here is a list of five questions that
I use for all kinds of problems that come up
and I can tell you they have completely changed the quality of my life.
If you decide to choose these questions,
they will work for you as well.
List of questions to help solve the problem
1. Is this issue important?
2. What’s not perfect?
3. What am I trying to do to get the results I want?
4. I’m looking to do nothing to get the results I want?
5. How can I enjoy myself when I do what is necessary to get the results I want?
“He who does not know how to ask does not know how to live” – Proverb
Every morning when we wake up,
we ask ourselves questions.
When you turn off your alarm clock,
you question do you ask yourself?
“Why do I have to get up now?”
“Why aren’t there more hours in a day?”
“Or should I stay just another hour?”
And when you go to brush your teeth and wash your face,
what question do you ask?
“Why do I have to go to work today?”
“Is there a traffic jam today?”
But you will feel more comfortable if you wake up each morning consciously
and begin to ask a consistent pattern of questions
that will help you feel happy, excited,
and grateful for life
Obviously questions like these will get you excited about whatever happens during the day.
I have compiled a list of questions
to ask myself every morning when I wake up.
The magic here is that you can do it while you’re showering,
washing your face, shaving, combing, etc.
I realize we need to cultivate some emotions
to help us live comfortably and happy.
Otherwise, you can succeed and still feel like a failure.
So take the time to review the following questions
and take a few minutes to deeply experience the emotions
each question evokes for you.
Morning motivational questions
1. What am I happy about in my life now?
2. What am I excited about in my life now?
3. What am I proud of in my life now?
4. What am I grateful for in my life now?
5. What am I most excited about in my life right now?
6. What am I enthusiastic about in my life right now?
7. Who do I love? Who loves me?
Nightly motivational questions
1. What have I contributed today?
2. What did I learn today?
3. What does today add to the quality of my life
or how can I use today to invest in my future?
And you can repeat the morning questions.
A question about destiny
One of the people I admire
also the most passionate person I have ever met,
is Leo Buscaglia,
the author of Love and many popular books in the field of human relations.
One great thing about this man was that he kept asking himself
a question that his father had instilled in his mind since he was a boy.
Every day at dinner,
his father would always ask him,
“Leo, what did you learn today?”
Leo must answer
and must have a quality answer if he didn’t learn anything really at school that day,
he had to run to the library to get an encyclopedia
and learn something and then tell it to his father.
He says that to this day,
he never goes to bed before learning something new of real value that day.
As a result, his mind was always on the move and much of his passion
and curiosity for learning stemmed from this question,
Some of the most important questions we will ask ourselves in life are,
“What is my life really for?”
“What am I really committed to?”
“Why am I here?”
and “Who am I?”
These questions are incredibly powerful,
but if you wait for the perfect answer,
you’re in big trouble.
Usually, you should trust and act on the answer given by your first emotion.
This is the last point I want to remind you here.
At some point you have to stop asking questions to move on.
If you keep asking,
you will end up in confusion,
but only certain actions will bring results.
At some point you have to stop evaluating to start taking action.
How? You will decide what is most important to you,
at least for the time being,
and use your own energy to go to the end
and change the quality of your life.
So let me ask you a question.
If there was one action you could take now to change the quality
of your feelings and emotions every day of your life,
would you want to know about it?
Then we’ll talk about it right in the next chapter…