We all have a burning question that we’ve held back from asking. This question has the power to shape our destiny and lead us towards something we’ve always dreamt of. Why is it then that we hold ourselves back from asking it?
What is it about those words coming out of our mouth that we’re so damn afraid of? This is the question that has plagued me for the last few weeks. Like you, I too have a question that I’ve been holding back from asking.
I know deep down that I must ask it yet that doesn’t make it any easier. Taking the plunge into uncertainty takes courage, and as much as we all think we have the strength to do so when it comes to crunch time, we magically get distracted.
Stop delaying. Here are the 7 reasons why you should ask that one question right now:
1. There may be no tomorrow
You have the opportunity to ask that burning question today. You may not have the chance to do so tomorrow. If your question involves another person, then something could happen to them. They may get hit by a car, move country, go missing, find their special partner, etc.
The only chance you have to ask someone that burning question is right now. When you take this perspective, you’ll find that your sense of urgency will increase and you’ll take action more often when it comes to these difficult questions.
None of us are going to be here forever and so we need to get comfortable living in the moment. Even if the answer to your question is not the one you seek, it could change in a week’s time anyway.
2. The fear is not going to go away
There isn’t some magical moment where all of a sudden all of your fear subsides and you have the perfect moment to ask your question. You’re going to be fearful about asking your burning question for as long as you don’t ask it.
I’ve been urging you all for years now to face your fears and enjoy the feeling you get when you do something that seemed scary. Whatever outcome you’re scared will happen from asking your question will probably not happen at the same level you are dreaming about anyway.
So if the fear is not going to go away then why not suffer from it the least amount you can? The way you do this is by getting that burning question out of you. Ask it. Be okay with whatever the answer is. Use the answer to move you forward or even help you move on.
3. You’ll grow if you do
We humans crave growth. We’re part of mother nature’s grand plan, and that plan can only be executed on if we grow like the rest of nature. Asking this one hard question will help you grow even more than you realise. Once you get it out, it will make the next hard question easier to ask.
That’s right; this is only one of many hard questions. When you get this one out of the way, there will be another waiting for you right around the corner. Every time you face these tough questions, you build more mental muscle. This allows you to ask even tougher questions.
When you get to the top of your game, you even get to ask questions for which you’re probably not even entitled to ask yet. Asking tough questions allows you to get things that could seem unreasonable to most.
“If you want things that would seem unreasonable, then you need to play this snakes and ladders game of asking the questions you’re scared to ask”
4. The tough questions will change the path of your life
Looking at the lives of those who inspire us, you’ll notice that the road to their success has many crossroads. At the center of these crossroads is usually a tough question. This tough question typically leads to a difficult decision.
The journey to greatness is full of tough questions and the people who ask them are the ones that change the path of their life for the better. I’ve had many times where I’ve been faced with the same challenge.
When I’ve embraced the difficult task of asking the tough question I’ve always been surprised by the result. I mean I asked for forgiveness, inspiration, a fulfilling career, phenomenal networks of people, and got all of these requests and more. I didn’t always get it the first time I asked, but I got it eventually.
I’ve even asked for certain parts of my life to be destroyed. Why would I do such a thing? Simple, because I want to rebuild Rome in a new way and invite new soldiers to come and fight the enemy lines of negativity with me. At the end of devastation, there can only be hope and prosperity.
I’d never be where I am today if I decided to ignore the tough questions. I have to remind myself of this right now because I’m about to ask a tough question and I can honestly say I have no idea what the outcome will be.
“All I can do is what I always do; have hope and believe that I am enough”
5. You’ve got nothing to lose
Seriously what have you got to lose? If it all blows up in your face and ends in tears, it doesn’t matter. None of us have permanent memories that occupy our thoughts 100% of the time. The answer you may get could be the opposite of what you hope for. If it involves someone else, then they could hate or laugh at you for the rest of your life.
Thankfully there are a few billion more people that you can interact with. Think of it like this: one down and 7.5 billion to go. Fear of loss stops us from asking the question that could help us to unleash our full potential. Don’t be that person.
6. You deserve it
You work hard every day to battle through the struggle that is human existence. I think you deserve to ask your tough question and have the chance to get the response that could unlock your dreams. Don’t feel like this question is out of your reach because it’s not.
You’re spending your days trying to figure out the meaning of life, and this question will help you to progress in this quest. It’s clear that you deserve what you want but what is not clear is whether you are prepared to ask the tough questions and whether or not you will help people at the same time.
By bringing good to the world, you will get your payment in the form of a yes once in a while to one of these tough questions. If you don’t do any good in the world and never ask the tough questions, then you will not be able to reap the benefits.
7. You’re good enough
You may be hesitating to ask this one tough question because you think it’s unreasonable for you to get a yes. I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and you can get the answer you are hoping for. Maybe not the first time, but through persistence you will eventually get what you are searching for.
The world tells you so often that you’re not good enough, sexy enough, smart enough, rich enough but you are. How do I know? Because every one of us is exactly where we should be right now at this point in time. The questions we’ve asked and the decisions we have made have led us to this point.
It’s not a question of whether you are good enough; it’s a question of whether you are courageous enough to ask your question. It’s a question of whether you can face your fear and do what most people are not prepared to do. It’s a question of whether you are happy to settle for second best and put up with mediocrity. Your whole life and your success come down to you.
I don’t just dish out this sometimes-confronting advice I also live it. I asked my tough question two weeks ago and got a yes. I never expected that to happen and was certain the answer would be no. I somehow thought that what I was asking for was unreasonable.
As it turned out, I probably would have got the same answer if I had of asked it years ago. That’s the beauty of life. Who knows what could have happened if you’d asked your burning question sooner. Hopefully, now you realise that you need to go out asap and get this question off your chest.
Stop wondering and start taking action. Only then will you get to experience that wonderful feeling that I am having right now as I type these words. That feeling of being just one step closer to the life you have dreamt of while being grateful for where you are right now.
What’s holding you back from asking your tough question? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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