If you’ve ever felt momentarily inspired by anyone on Instagram, I can almost guarantee that you’ve come across the idea of choosing one word and using it to guide you through your year. I’m not a very motivated or easily inspired person and while I’ve admired that other people can be bothered picking one word and then remembering that word throughout the year, using it to improve their lives, I’ve never thought I was really that kind of person.
To be honest, I’m still not. I did find myself wondering what my word would be, though, if I were that kind of person. Strangely, the word came to me pretty quickly, actually, and now I’ve find myself writing it in the front of my diary and thinking of all the ways I could use it in my life.
I straight-up need to ask more questions. I was going to keep it to myself – because I’m not big on shouting about my goals until I’ve achieved them, I’ve got that crippling fear of failure lurking about, ya know – but I think that actually, a lot of us probably need to ask more questions.
Never fear, I’m not suggesting something unachievable here – we all know how annoying little kids can be with their never-ending questionnaires. I do think there’s something to be learnt from kids’ approaches though, after all, asking questions in whatever way we could, about whatever we considered to be important was the way we all learnt about the world. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we needed to stop asking, to stop learning.
I also really hate the phrase “There are no silly questions”. Usually it’s followed by someone asking a silly question and then being laughed at. Of course there are silly questions but someone has to ask them. Have you seen some of the top searches on Google? Of course, the our advantage is that we do have Google, so most of the time we don’t have to embarrass ourselves.
My lack of questioning is frustrating, even to me. I found myself sat opposite a doctor recently and I had at least 10 questions I would have liked to have asked about what would happen next. I didn’t ask a single one of them. I went home, Googled some of them and lost sleep over the others. It all would have been so much easier if I had just asked.
We all ask ourselves questions too. Mine are almost constant and they’re almost always negative. “Am I annoying everyone?” “Does everyone hate me?” “Does anyone even read this blog?” I could continue but I’ll save those gems for when I pay someone to listen to my problems.
My motivation and ambition is low at the best of times but I usually thwart any goals I do make by asking myself “Who do you think you are?” “Do you really think you can do that?” “Why would anyone with any sense back you on a project like that?”
And then I get nothing done.
Choosing the word ‘question’ was partly inspired by Mindy Kaling and both her great book ‘Why Not Me?’ and her commencement speech at Dartmouth, based on the same idea. Not only do I need to start asking more questions so that I know what’s going on and so that I learn, I also need to start asking more positively spun questions of myself.
“Why not?” “Who says I can’t do that?” “What do I really want to be doing?” “How will I achieve that goal?”
If I’m thwarting my plans before I can even pass go, how will I ever stand a chance if I do somehow get any of my ideas or plans hovering slightly above the ground? If I can shatter my plans with a question, then so can all the other big bad forces in the world. Asking the more positive questions creates a stronger foundation so that the other more terrifying questions out there in the world don’t shake us quite so much when they start to bombard us.
To be honest, that’s as motivational as I can get and I might need to lie down for several days after this. Why not, eh? Here’s Mindy’s speech for you to watch and be inspired too, because she’s much funnier and far more eloquent than I could ever be!