Overcoming Mental Barriers Starts With Asking Constructive Questions

Stop asking what's wrong with you and start asking what you can do next to reach your goal.

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By Daniel DiPiazza


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Kids can be really annoying at times. Case in point: The "Why" game.

Aren't familiar? I bet you are. Let me refresh you. It goes something like this:

Kid: Why is it so cold outside today?

You: Because the temperature is below freezing.

Kid: Why?

You: Because there was a cold front that pushed cold air and snow over our area.

Kid: Why?

You: Because of global currents.

Kid: Why?

You: Because meteorology.

Kid: Why?

You: I hate this.

Whether they really are wrapped up in fascination with the world -- or they're just trying to bug you -- kids ask dumb questions sometimes.

And guess what? So do you.

You'll never be able to read minds, so stop trying, but the good news is that as you learn to ask better questions, you'll get better answers a lot more quickly. That avoids much of the heartache and frustration of trying and failing over and over again.

Related: Are You an Entrepreneur? 4 Questions Will Help You Find Out.

I remember the tough middle school and early high school years. (I know this sounds dumb to some of you older folks -- but my 10-year high school reunion is coming up and I'm freaking out about it.)

One of the most difficult things that young people deal with at that age is social interaction -- especially when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. I just didn't know how to get girls to like me.

I read hundreds of articles online and in magazines. I tried ordering info products to teach me. (I had to run to the mailbox before my mom found out I was buying DVDs about "Sexual Communication" -- scary, looking back!)

I saw other middle-school dudes having success -- but nothing really worked for me. So I'd beat myself up, a lot. I'd ask myself questions like:

"Why doesn't she see how awesome/funny/etc I am?"

"Why does she like HIM and not me?"

"How can I get better at sports/stronger/better looking to make her notice me?"

Invariably, as you may have guessed, none of these questions led to any life-changing revelations. They just made me even more depressed. I had to learn how to ask myself better questions before I could start getting the answers (and results) that I wanted.

Related: 6 Questions You Must Answer 'Yes' to Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

How to ask yourself better questions.

Being truly, 100 percent honest with yourself is VERY hard because we have a psychological tendency to deflect blame and project it onto others. This often becomes strikingly clear when we get rejected.

Think about all the times when you haven't gotten the result you were looking for. Now, pay careful attention to the questions you ask yourself -- and the answers you give yourself in return.

You ask yourself:

"Why aren't I progressing faster?"

Your brain answers:

"Because I don't have [insert resource, ability, knowledge, etc]."

You ask yourself:

"Why don't people like me?"

Your brain answers:

"Because I'm not [smart enough/sexy enough/interesting enough]."

Notice how the way you ask yourself questions affects how you answer them?

If you were to change the questions ever so slightly you would reframe the same challenges in a new, more positive light.

For instance, rather than asking why you weren't progressing as fast as you'd like, you simply asked yourself:

"HOW can I make faster progress than I am now?"

Woah. That changes everything. Now, instead of a list of negative responses -- you get positive ones with actionable takeaways.

"Well... I could make some more phone calls."

"I need to spend more time studying."

"I need to wake up an hour earlier."

THESE are the types of answers that actually create positive change, but you have to be asking the right questions first... and that might require overcoming some limiting beliefs.

For instance, if you've always thought to yourself: "I'll never make $100,000/year," you might rephrase that as: "What type of value can I provide for other people that will make me $100,000/year easily?"

Related: The 11 Questions Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Ask Themselves

Daniel DiPiazza

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer


Daniel DiPiazza is the founder of Alpha Mentorship and the director of the Profit Paradigm accelerator for agency owners.

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