“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” ― Leo Babauta
Many of us are very conditioned to complain or vent our days’ events. Many of us are very conditioned to point out the problems, worries, stressors, heartaches and disappointments of our daily lives. How can it be so easy to say what is so wrong in our days instead of what is right?
I was talking with a friend the other day and she was telling me about all of the many ways she had realized how many of God’s blessings have been playing out in her life lately. What she really was struck by was that although she never thought to let God into her life as much as she has been this year she realized that God has been guiding her and blessing her with opportunities to make choices through events that have been designed to help her grow and become the person she is today. What was blaringly obvious to me was that she had made a perception shift in how she views life and the ways in which life plays out. . I don’t think she heard herself, when at the end of her story she said, “Lisa, how does life get better than this?” She asked the most beautiful question.
Boy oh boy did that stick with me. Indeed, how does life get better than this? This is a question with no answer. This is a question that is so subjective the answers either do not exist at all or are so endless as to travel into infinity. This question is so full of gratitude and hope that I started asking it every morning before my day gets started.
By bringing more hopeful questions out in the open, more hopeful events can have room to grow and develop and manifest. It’s a bit mindless to cast our cares into the ring of despair and complaints. Instead, why not give a great question a try?
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” ― Shannon L. Alder
There is a great book by author and scientist Warren Berger called A More Beautiful Question. It is in the asking and daring of questioning that life begins to grow and expand and become fun; dare I say hopeful. Having the courage to ask a question we are afraid to learn the answer to or own the part of the answer that only each of us can contribute to answering is scary but what else is life supposed to be? Scary isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Scary is challenging, scary is thrilling, scary leads to learning how not to be scared.
The yin and yang of a beautiful question can change perception and can change a heart from feeling scared to find the answer into a heart that is challenged and determined to find an answer. For example:
What if I start my day not knowing what to do? What does an open day look like and mean for me?
What if I fail in every way today? What can I learn if I fail today?
Why should I trust you? What can I trust about you?
How can I contribute to the world today? In what small way can my existence make a difference today?
Why do I have to work? Why do I do the work I do? What do I really want to do for work?
What is another way of looking at this? If I turn this over and over what might come of a new perspective?
What if I took my time through this? When I step back and take a better look, what do I see?
Why do I ask why? What can come from not asking why? What am I afraid to learn the answer to?
Why am I not happy? How can I be happy? What does happiness look like in this moment?
It’s in the way a question is asked that prompts answers to arrive. By turning around a day full of complaints and vents we can find the beauty and mystery and lessons that each day in the life of each of us has in its essence.
Many of us spend exhaustive amounts of time trying to find our purpose to our existence. What if our existence has the only purpose of whatever the day asks of us? For Paul Bennett of the company IDEO, Mr. Berger learned what sparks Mr. Bennett most of all, everyday….
“The question I constantly ask myself is ‘”How do I stay inspired?”’ For many of us, the beautiful question that calls to us is some variation of, ‘”How do we continually find inspiration so that we can inspire others?”’ There is no definitive answer to this question. It is constantly evolving and becoming something else.”
Mr. Berger puts it to the reader like this,
“When you find your beautiful question, stay with it. If it is a question worth pursuing, it will likely also be confounding, frustrating, and exhausting. If you find yourself stuck, follow the advice of Acumen’s Novogratz, “’Just try to get to the next question.’” Break your big question into smaller ones and work on those. Keep cycling through the why’s, what if’s, and how’s including your being stuck and get to the next question.”
For me it has become a survival mentality to break free of the atmosphere that surrounds me in negativity. This mindless complaining has challenged me to purposefully find a way to be as opposite as possible in the positive. I have noticed a great deal of physical changes and mental changes that have taken place within my soul due to asking a more beautiful question. Here is what I’ve learned so far:
Life gets better than this if I:
Love more sincerely
Listen with more presence
Express gratitude for my endless blessings
Eat to savor and not devour
Choose my words when I use my words
Admit I don’t know and then ask for help
Ask, “What is my next small step?”
Forgive with my whole heart
“Walk by faith, not by sight”
How can life get better than this?
In the Jewish faith there is a song called Dayanu that is sung during the Passover Seder and it starts off naming how grateful the people are for being delivered from slavery in Egypt. Then the song goes on to list how it would have been enough if the blessings ended there but God went on to provide food and water while thousands traveled for 40 years in the desert. Again, it would have been enough if God had stopped there but then HE provided even more miracles.
Songwriter and artist Kenny Chesney sings a song titled, Never wanted Nothing More in which he sings about how great life became when he got his first truck and how he couldn’t imagine ever wanting anything more than that. Then life took another great turn when he met his girlfriend and he couldn’t imagine wanting anything more and then it became great again when he got to spend time with her, etc.
The point being that in our everyday lives there is always something, one plain or ordinary thing that went right or well or happily that we can be thankful for. By asking the question the way my friend did it opened up space for more things to go right. All you have to do is sincerely ask the question. In the asking you become subconsciously disposed to seeking the answers. Your mind will try to see all the possibilities in finding the answer.
“How would your life be different if…You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read? Let today be the day…You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life. Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.” ― Steve Maraboli, The Power of One
My friend has presented me with a question that will never find an answer yet will allow for answers to be found every day. How, indeed, can life get better than this?
Call to Action
I dare you to NOT find one simple thing that goes right today, tomorrow or the next day.
Be grateful for that one right thing and build on it. How can life get better than that? Dare yourself to find something even better the next day.
What beautiful questions grow from seeing what was once too hard or too scary to see? Do not be afraid to count your blessings. Your happiness and gratitude are infectious and THAT is a great life purpose and makes for life being better than one minute ago.