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The 2 Questions You Must Routinely Ask if You Want to Reach Your Goals Faster

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How many of your decisions can be explained by: “That’s the way things are done”? Clayton Christensen, the world’s leading authority on the topic of disruptive innovation wrote that, “[an] IBM poll of fifteen hundred CEOs identified creativity as the number-one ‘leadership competency’ of the future.”

Do you accept and follow the way things have always been done, or do you have the capacity to creatively think outside the box and find a better way?

What if you’re one of the many unlucky souls that was not blessed with the talent of creativity? As sales expert and author Jeffrey Gitomer puts it, “Creativity is a science that you can learn.”

The 2 Questions That Lead To Endless Innovation

There’s no need to wait for inspiration to strike. There are numerous techniques and exercises that can be proactively employed in order to develop creative ideas, strategies and solutions.

Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko is a treasure trove full of such tactics. If you want to become more creative and innovative in both your personal and professional life, then it’s absolutely worth a read.

One of my favorite creativity exercises involves asking the same two questions over and over again. It’s a simple, but effective way to become a truly innovative thinker.

Question #1: Why?

Asking “Why” is an important first step to finding a better way of doing things. Take for example Sally Sellmorestuff.

Sally is a sales manager who wants to bring in a motivational speaker to speak to her team. She could ask herself, “Why should I invite a motivational speaker?” The answer would probably be that she wants to generate a more optimistic attitude among her team.

But, Sally shouldn’t stop there. Remember, this method involves asking the same two questions over and over again. So, she should ask…

Q: Why do I want to generate a more optimistic attitude among my team?

A: So that they will work harder.

Q: Why do I want them to work harder?

A: So that they will sell more products.

Q: Why do I want them to sell more products?

A: So that the numbers for my department look better.

Q: Why do I want better numbers?

A: So I can get a promotion.

Q: Why do I want a promotion?

A: So I can make more money.

Q: Why do I want more money?

A: So I can buy a nicer house and car.

Q: Why do I want a nicer house and car?

A: So I can enjoy life more.

At this point, Sally has recognized some of the deeper motivations for her actions. This leads us to the next question.

“The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.” – Peter Abelard

Question #2: How?

At each stage of her questioning, Sally can ask herself if she is making the ideal choice. For example, is bringing in a motivational speaker the most efficient and effective way to generate a more optimistic attitude among her team?

She can then ask herself “How” else she could accomplish this goal. Would it be more effective to engage in one-on-one mentoring with the individuals in her team? Could she accomplish her goal more efficiently by purchasing a motivational book for each team member? Would it be enough to simply send a motivational quote to her team via email once a week?

The real beauty of this system is that she can ask “How” at every stage of her original line of questioning. So, for example:

How can I get my team to work harder?

How can we sell more products?

How can I make more money?

How can I enjoy life more?

And so on…

If Sally could come up with just three new how’s for each of her why’s, she would suddenly have over 20 strategies from which she could choose, that might bring her closer to achieving what she wants in life.

With all these choices, she might recognize a much better way to reach her goals. For example, depending on her personal preferences, she might determine that if her real goal is to enjoy life more, then she should quit her job, move to the country and start her own farm. In that case, inviting a motivational speaker is not even close to the ideal way for her to achieve her real goals.

On the other hand, she might determine that bringing in the speaker is indeed most likely the best thing to do. In that case, at least now she has a much clearer picture of what she wants in life. That’s something she can keep in mind and make use of in the future.

“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Conclusion

Why spend time on social media? Why start the morning with a cup of coffee? Why stay in your current job? These are all questions that could get the ball rolling. These are all questions that could help you discover the real reason why you want the things you want.

If you’re willing to ask “Why” and then “How” you may discover that achieving your goals is much simpler than you thought. Chances are, you have many more strategies to choose from than you realized.

I recommend making it a habit to routinely ask “Why”. (And don’t be satisfied with, “That’s the way we do things.”) Then ask “How”. See if you can’t find a better way. Make this a routine and you may soon discover endless possibilities for improvement in your work, your relationships, your finances, your hobbies and your entire life.

How do you bring creativity and innovation into your life? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Seth Coyne is a copywriter and branding consultant. Click here to download his Innovation Cheatsheet with 9 hacks to creating an endless stream of brilliant ideas for entrepreneurship, business growth and career advancement. You can follow him here on Twitter.

Success Advice

5 Smart Goals to Make This Year Your Most Successful Ever

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Setting goals at the start of the year means you will know exactly what you need to do throughout the year to be successful. By setting goals, it forces you to build a plan about how you intend to achieve those goals. By having a plan in place, you will wake up every morning with a clear idea of what it is you need to do each day. Just by writing down your goals, there is a 42% greater chance you will achieve those goals than if they just stayed in your head. It may seem like a small thing but actually creating goals every year and then writing them down significantly improves your chances of success. (more…)

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7 Ways to Face Adversity Using the Power of Extreme Ownership

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Adversity is an inevitable part of our lives, and it is an important and defining factor of our personal story. The stories we build for ourselves in the face of adversity will either empower or discourage us emotionally, help us move forward or remain stuck in the past, allow us to grow or to decline. (more…)

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Why Your Confidence Needs to Match Your Competence

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Even if you produce amazing results at your job or in other areas of your life, others may still not see you as being competent if you lack the confidence to back it up. If you are good at your job, exuding confidence will ensure others also recognize your competence in your area of expertise. And research backs this up. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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