Entrepreneur Sean Kim on how questions help to cope with problems. The questions we ask ourselves determine the quality of our lives. A few years ago (before the launch of the educational project Rype), my life was dreary, and I didnt know how to get out of this situation.
I didnt like my job, next to me didnt have the right people, and I felt like a squirrel in a wheel. I didnt understand, but this situation largely because I was asking myself the wrong questions. Instead of asking. “How can I improve this situation?”, I asked.
“Why is this happening to me?”. Obviously, this matters only became more, and no solution appeared. In the end I realized that successful people in all walks of life share the ability to ask themselves good questions. Then I tried to collect the best questions that could help to get out of depression, remove internal limitations and to think differently.
These ten questions have radically changed my life and the business of our company. They enjoyed some very successful leaders to manage the challenges that come their way.
This is a question I found Tim ferriss, bestselling author of the four hour work week. We humans tend to overly complicate a situation or problem when its not necessary. “Life is simple, but we insist on complicating it”, said Confucius. We dont notice it, because it is not happening immediately. When we face a problem we find the solution.
Then another. And. In the end, you still have a whole stack of solutions, which in itself becomes a problem. I train myself to always ask the question.
“How can I simplify this?” or “What happens if you simplify this?”. This question has saved us hundreds of hours in the hiring of teachers and allowed us to double our business with half the required personnel. If you think ambitious, perhaps you have not yet set themselves this question. Peter Thiel advises to ask it to remove internal limitations and boundaries.
This does not mean that you can actually achieve your long term goals six months from now, but it will force to go beyond current capabilities and determine the necessary steps to the goal. As difficult as it is to answer this question, it has helped our business to think bigger and bolder. Most of us live as if will live forever.
We all deep down know its wrong, but still continue to live this way. In my life met people with whom I had the pleasure to work one day, and that just did not come back the next day. The purpose of this question is not to upset me, and to remind people of reality.
This question motivates me every day to do the work with full dedication and to treat people with the respect they deserve. This question can be applied in two directions. First, we usually exaggerate their fears, introducing them more than they really are. When we are afraid to go on stage to perform in front of an audience, or to tell someone how we really feel, the probability physically close to zero.
So on the other side of fear. Nothing. I also use this question to remind yourself. Whenever Im worried or afraid to do something, its usually the most important thing I need to do.
Whenever I dont want to take on a task, hold a conversation or make a decision, its a sign that I need to do this immediately. I like the founder of CDBaby Derek Sivers. His unique approach to business and a unique philosophy of life. One of his most popular articles is about what he calls “damn right” or “no”.
The idea is that you feel overloaded and exhausted because saying “Yes” too much. As a result, you are overwhelmed with a huge amount of “good” features, instead of focusing on the best. Ask yourself a question “Is “Yes, God damn it” or “no”?” This will help you to say “no” to almost everything and will open new opportunities that really inspire you.
This is another way Peter Thiels poll question No. 2. He was born from the book “the One thing” that will fundamentally change how I use time. The idea that only one thing determines your trump card, no matter what field youre working. For example, when we developed the exit strategy Rype on the market, we realized that there are hundreds of tactics we could use.
Given the shortage of time and resources within the company, we had to find a trump card. For us, it was content marketing. We knew that if we could double, triple our audience, we will be able to grow faster, reduce the cost of attracting a customer and grow in the long term. As the question Derek (No. 5), is often more important to choose what not to do, to focus on whats really important.
One time I was struggling with procrastination. Every time I didnt want to do something, I put it off indefinitely and hoped that the issue will be resolved somehow by itself. It is a losing strategy.
Tactics “When if not now” was used by many leaders, but it popularized by Eckhart Tolle, author of “the Power of the present”. I ask myself this question every time I catch myself wanting to postpone an important decision or task. The question of “when” suggests that I need to call some time when I finish it, instead of telling yourself “someday” (which may never come). Known in the eyes of the public as an adventurer Richard Branson is also different in that it is always preparing for possible failures.
Before starting Virgin Airways, he agreed with Boeing that will return all the planes, if something does not work. Thus, he was not burdened with heavy fixed expenses, which could paralyze its business, and even in the worst case, left without a loss. Its not just Richard Branson. Many successful entrepreneurs are not big risk-takers.
They, however, seek to avoid the risks and always try to hedge when possible. The best way I found to reduce the risks — both in business and in life, is to prepare for them before they happen. Habit to ask this question helped us to plan for the worst-case scenario, and frankly, it helps our team get better sleep at night. Much of what we consider real events — its just the stories that we drew in our own heads.
Someone did not smile in response to our smile, and were writing a story, though perhaps people just didnt notice us. Its not necessarily our fault, because we all have the experience. I noticed that if I screw myself when things didnt go as we would like, then the worst fears came true. Honestly, Im still learning to separate my own story from what really happened, and Im sure many people do the same.
I often return to one useful quote Tony Robbins. “To be the true leaders, the people must first see things as they are, not worse than they really are”. This also explains why we do everything we can to avoid making emotional decisions, and rely instead on bare facts.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, its time to pause and reflect” — mark TWAIN. This is one of my favorite quotes. Its a constant reminder. To do something truly significant, you must not act the way they do or have done other.
However, swimming against the tide, faced with the many conflicts, people doubters and haters seeking to drown you. Thats why it is so easy to be on the side of the majority, if not try to always challenge the traditional way of doing something. When you speak to ten different people for advice and they all give similar answers, try the opposite approach. We did so, when he opened Rype.
99.9% of companies work in physical offices, and we asked ourselves, is it possible to do the opposite and become 100% distributed company without a physical office. You should always think whether the traditional approach is actually the best way or it seems so because everyone else is doing so. I came to the conclusion that in most cases the truth is the second.