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Two Breakthrough Questions that Change the Way People Think

We’re like bear cubs clinging to trees when it comes to the way we think. Resistance to change produces stability.

You can’t climb a new tree until you come down from the one you’re on.

Breakthrough questions are invitations to let go of established ways of thinking.

Core breakthrough question:

Reflect on your life by asking, “Who is better off?”

One friend is perfectly healthy and frequently miserable. Another friend struggles with health and enjoys life. Perspectives make the difference.

You choose misery or you choose happiness.

How you look at life is more important than the circumstances of your life.

Two breakthrough questions:

#1. Who is better off? Pessimists or optimists.

Optimists perform better when growth and advancement are in mind.

Pessimists perform better when safety and security are in mind.*

Does pessimism make your life better? The advantage of pessimism is preparation. A pessimist who prepares for the worst is better off than an optimist who is rushing into disaster singing, “Oh Happy Day.”

Grounded optimism works best:

  1. See reality.
  2. Believe you can make a difference.
  3. Work to make things better.

#2. Who is better off? Complainers or solution-seekers.

“In short: Yes, it’s good to complain, yes, it’s bad to complain, and yes, there’s a right way to do it.” Dr. Kowalski

If you’re prone to complain…

  1. Monitor the frequency of your complaints.
  2. Keep a journal of complaints.
  3. Limit the time you spend complaining.
  4. Notice how the people you complain to respond. Do they reinforce complaining?
  5. Analyze complaints to understand root causes.
  6. Clarify what you want. Do you want to vent or are you interested in seeking solutions?
  7. Ask yourself how you might work to improve things.

It’s possible to complain and seek solutions. Don’t use complaints as excuses.

Tip: Take 5-minutes to complain and 15-minutes to seek solutions.

What breakthrough question has helped you?

*Hoping for the Best or Preparing for the Worst? Regulatory Focus and Preferences for Optimism and Pessimism in Predicting Personal Outcomes

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