Change Your Questions, Change Your Life | Marilee G. Adams

Summary of: Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work
By: Marilee G. Adams


In the book ‘Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work’, Marilee G. Adams explains the transformative power of asking thoughtful questions. Through the story of Ben Knight, a struggling executive, we learn how changing our mindset from a judgmental to a learning mode can help us find innovative solutions to problems, connect better with others, and build satisfying relationships. The key themes explored in this book include recognizing the judger and learner mindsets, learning to switch between them by asking constructive questions, and adopting a neutral observer perspective in our lives.

QuestionThinking for Success

Ben Knight, an inexperienced executive in a failing company, is introduced to QuestionThinking by an executive coach named Joseph. This method taught Ben to approach problems by asking questions instead of looking for answers. As a result, Ben was able to identify the unconscious questions and statements affecting his mood and decision-making processes. This realization allowed him to turn the company around and succeed in his role.

The Power of Asking the Right Questions

In his book, Joseph highlights the power of questioning as a means to open our minds and connect with others. He demonstrates how changing the questions we ask ourselves can have a profound impact on our lives. Through an example from history, Joseph highlights the importance of learner questions that put us on the road to positive solutions rather than judger questions that lead to stagnation. Joseph highlights that questions are a powerful way to understand others and encourage them to enter into a dialogue. By being aware of the tone and intent behind our questions, we can lay the foundation for changing our questions. Joseph suggests that effective communication involves more asking and less telling. By recognizing that we always ask ourselves questions, we can choose to ask the right ones and take control of our lives.

The Power of Positive Questions

The choices we make while asking ourselves questions have a significant impact on our personal and professional lives. Negative, judgmental questions lead us down the “judger pit” path, leaving us in a place of stagnation. On the other hand, positive, constructive questions lead us down the “learner road,” a path that helps us find creative solutions to our problems. To make this shift, we need to switch from a judgmental mindset to an open-ended inquiry, by asking ourselves better questions. By doing so, we can separate our reactions from others’ behavior and become more accepting, cooperative, and creative.

Reclaim the Power of Choice

Transforming a judgmental mindset into a learning one can positively impact our relationships and problem-solving abilities. This can be achieved by reframing negative questions into thoughtful inquiries. Identifying the questions that lead us down a judgemental path and switching them can help us overcome conflicts and set us on the path of choosing a better approach. In a conversation with Joseph, Ben learned how to apply this approach to a work conflict and regained the power of choice.

Shifting to a Learner’s Mindset

Discover how assumptions can sabotage your efforts and how the A-B-C-C choice process can help you shift from a judger to a learner mode, and improve your everyday life.

Assumptions can be dangerous when left unchecked, and can negatively impact our ability to achieve our goals and desires. The solution lies in the A-B-C-C choice process, which can help you shift from judging to learning mode. It starts with becoming aware of your behavior and assumptions, followed by taking a self-observant role and questioning the details of your situation. Finally, use curiosity to shift your attitude and consciously choose your actions based on facts.

Although we cannot entirely rid ourselves of the judger mindset, practicing self-observation can help us take measured and deliberate action during stressful moments. Regularly take detached, objective moments to examine your behavior and build it into a habit. Avoid being in a self-judging mode; instead, opt for a neutral point of view that allows you to see yourself in any given situation without emotion.

Assumptions can undermine our communication and make it difficult to establish or maintain satisfying relationships. Thus, it’s crucial to work towards shifting to a learner’s mindset to improve our everyday lives. Take conscious efforts to learn and tolerate the judger attitude and base your decisions on facts to achieve your goals and desires.

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