Questions

A while ago I had a significant gym habit. It had many positive side-effects. I have just started up again after a lay-off of eighteen months and the method I used to sustain my exercise regime is flooding back to mind.

Back then, I simply made a choice about my question. I stopped asking myself ‘will I go today?’ Instead, I asked ‘what will I do when I get there?’ As this became routine, I had often driven to the gym and begun warming up before I had really noticed.

Seth Godin, whom I mention periodically, recently told us that he had written a blog post every day for eleven years. He talks about the way ‘commitment turns into a practice, and the practice into a habit.’ I felt chuffed to discover that he had a similar type of self talk to me – asking not ‘should I blog tomorrow’, but ‘what will tomorrow’s blog say?’

There are habits I need to get into, particularly with regard to my time in the art studio. Changing my questioning can obviously help. Not that I aspire to paint every day for eleven years, or blog, or exercise, but I can certainly achieve greater consistency than I currently display.

Not ‘will I?’, but ‘what will I?’

Until later,

Kirsten

2 thoughts on “Questions

  1. Oh Kirsten, I am inspired by this post and the profound phrase “change the question” … for a good 30 years I’ve been studying this very thing, the questions we ask ourselves, and thinking about how to bring all those observations and thoughts together in some meaningful ways. So your post is very timely for me, because I have changed my question from how, to when will I, to which ways am I, and on and on. In any event, I’ll attempt to keep you posted, but my basic secret ingredient list of questions ques, with which I play around, goes like this, and these match up with our ten fingers:

    where
    what
    who
    why
    when

    how
    how much
    how many
    if/then
    because

    Then what I do, is if I need something, or to change something that’s not working, I construct a question sentence using ANY combination of the above: this means one, two or more in the same question sentence. If this question yields a productive answer, great! If not, I simply drop that one and create a new combo! Pretty soon the new questions unlock new thoughts and an array of options emerge – a process I very much find uplifting and fun. The point of having ten starters, is that the combinations are pretty endless, and so it’s hard not to keep searching until something clicks, versus being stuck and wondering how to formulate something relevant. The search habit is a little addictive in a sense, in a good way, I think. And because unlike googling things, it’s all self invented, there is some kind of innate energy build up with the process that is very satisfying, soothing and exhilarating at the same time.

    Currently I am considering how to use questions, like these, as part of observational journaling and considering motivation; and I’m looking at that intersection with the intersections of understanding, connection to community and global connectivity and responsibility … which is why your post flipped on such a bright light for me: THANK-YOU!

    PS regards the eleven years every day thingy: cool, but I do think giving oneself permission to switch it up and not have to do everything every day is part of the ticket to renewing creativity too…. I’m with you on that!

    PPS I was considering talking to this outfit across town, about if they might let me run an experiment with my questions ideas and now you’ve got me inspired to start! Will I call tomorrow or Monday, and why not both, to see what it would take?

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    1. Oh, how fantastic! You are so much further along this questioning thinking than I am! Marvellous. Definitely follow it further. Definitely don’t wait until Monday to make the first approach – Monday can be follow up! Haha. Easy for me to say from a world away. Keep me posted! Xxx

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