Crumpled question marks heap

Sometimes we don’t find the answers we are looking for because we don’t ask ourselves the right questions. Maybe you feel stuck, are facing a problem, or need some added motivation. James Allen, in his book As a Man Thinketh, offers 4 great questions to ask yourself.  Ask yourself these 4 questions and see if they trigger something inside you. The poet E.E. Cummings wrote, “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.”


The first beautiful question: Why? Do you know your why? Answering this question is the key to motivation, because motivation requires motive. You’re the only one that can answer your Whys? What is your list of whys? One of the thrusts of success is to come up with a strong enough why. If the why is powerful, the how is easy.

Talk show host Larry King retired in 2010 after 25 years and 6,120 episodes (to put that in perspective, there were only 180 episodes of Seinfeld; and Saturday Night Live, which has run for 40 years, has only racked up around 760). Can you imagine throughout that many shows and all those interviews all the questions he must have asked? On the final show, King offers an insightful answer when asked, “What question have you asked more than any other over the years?” King’s reply was, “Why.” He explains, “Why is the best question of all because it can’t be answered in one word and it forces the person to think.”

Why Not?

The best answer to the question Why? is the second beautiful question: Why not?

I once read about an interview conducted with Elie Wiesel–holocaust survivor, Jewish novelist, and writer on spirituality. The interviewer said “I’ve noticed that you Jews often answer questions by asking another question. Why do you do that?” To which Wiesel replied, “Why not?”

Why not try it? Why not take the risk? Why not reach out? Why not share? Why not go further? Why not push yourself? Why not put yourself out there? Why not take the responsibility? Why not?

Why Not You?

The third beautiful question is Why not you? I want you to take this personally: Why not you? You have the brains. You can make the decision. You can work the plan. Why not you? Why not you change? If one person can do it, why not you? If they can figure it out, why not you? If that person can turn it around, you can turn it around. If they can accomplish it, why not you? If anybody can do it, why not you?

Why Not Now?

The final beautiful question: Why not now? Why not now? Is there a better time than now? There is not a better time than now. What are you waiting for? If you’re going to give it a try, why not now? What could you gain if you started now? What will you lose if you wait? Why not do what you can now?

Why not make the decision now? Why not capture the thought now? Why not make the call now? Why not write the letter now? Why not do it now? Why not now decide to make it right? If you’re ready, then why not now? You may not be able to finish right now, but you can start, so why not now?

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 3.45.14 PM