Is The Way You Think, Keeping You Stuck?

A good way of understanding how our mind processes information is to think about how we use the web. In order to access the huge amount of information on the web we first need to know what we’re looking for. When we know what we want we can then decide on the word or words that will search for that information and type them into the browser. So, if we wanted information on being happy, we might search on the word “happier”.

Here’s an example of how this relates to our mind:-

For the question, “Why aren’t I happy?” the mind searches for possible reasons and scenarios for why you aren’t happy. You see it takes for granted that if you’re asking this question then you aren’t happy. It won’t argue with you, it wants to make you right and will search for all the possible reasons for your unhappiness.

Can you see how asking this question is limiting?

For the question, “What am I happy about?” the mind searches for all the reasons you have in your life to be happy. This is an empowering question because it lets the mind know that you want to be reminded of all the things in your life you are happy about.

Can you see how asking this question is empowering?

Questions direct and focus our minds and create a state change in our bodies. In order to understand what I mean by state, ask yourself the above questions again. What feelings do you notice? Our state is the emotion we feel in response to a question or thought, for example, frustrated, angry, fearful, happy, content, and peaceful.

So, if limiting and negative questions can have the effect of holding us back in life and generally making us feel unhappy, why don’t people ask more positive empowering questions?

Here are some of the reasons:-

Most people aren’t aware they’re asking themselves poor questions; most people have always done it this way; in a strange way people think it’s who they are; no one’s taught them how to do it another way – and schools and education providers don’t have a subject or lesson in “how to think” – although that’s something I’m working on.

Do this exercise:-

Sit for five minutes and notice the thoughts going through your mind. Imagine your mind is the blue sky and your thoughts are clouds floating across it. For positive thoughts imagine fluffy white clouds and for negative thoughts black or grey clouds.

After five minutes, write down the main themes. Then, ask yourself, what were the questions you asked to come up with those thoughts. List them under the headings of limiting or empowering questions.

Try this:

Write down five empowering questions you can use on a daily basis over the next week.

Here are a few to start you off:-

What could I be happy about today if I wanted to be?What do I really really want to do?How can I improve my life?Ten years from now, will this really even matter?What else could be affecting this person, and how can I help?If there were no consequences, what would I do?

At the end of the week notice what you’ve learnt! If it works for you, do more of it.

Keep me posted on my blog at

Life’s an adventure, Have fun with it!

Is The Way You Think, Keeping You Stuck?

Fay Hartwell

Joined August 2008

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